The number and Place of Mahdi’s Helpers

Asbagh ibn Nubatah says: Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali (a.s.) recited a sermon and mentioned therein something about the emergence of the Mahdi and his helpers. Abu Khalid Halabi or Kabuli said: “O ‘Ali, inform us something about his qualities.”

He replied: “From the viewpoint of character and creation, he resembles the Holy Prophet (S) the most. Should I inform you about his helpers”? They said: “Yes, O Amir al-Mu’minin.”

He replied: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) saying: ‘The first of them would be from Basra and the last of them from Yamamah’. Thereafter he began to count the Mahdi’s companions. People were crying and ‘Ali (a.s.) was saying:

Two persons from Basra, one person from Ahwaz, one person from Mina, one person from Shushtar, one person from Duraq, four persons namely ‘Ali, Ahmad, ‘Abd Allah and Ja’far from Baastan, two persons by the names of Muhammad and al-Hasan from Amman, two persons - Shaddad and Shadid from Siraf, three persons - Hafas, Yaqub and ‘Ah from Shiraz, four persons Musa, ‘Ali, ‘Abd Allah and Ghalafan from Isfahan, one person by the name of Yahya from Abdah, one person by the name of Dawud from Maraj or A’raj, one person by the name of ‘Abd Allah from Karaj.

One person by the name of Qadim from Burujerd, one person by the name of Abd al-Razzak from Nahawand, two persons - ‘Abd Allah and Abd al-Samad from Dainul, three persons - Ja’far, Ishaq and Musa from Hamadan, two persons - whose names are similar to the names of Holy Prophet's Ahl al-bayt from Qum, one person by the name of Darid and five others whose names are similar to the names of Aṣhāb al-Kahf from Khurasan.

One person from Āmul, one person from Joijan, one person from Herat, one person from Balkh, one person from Qarah, one person from A’ane, one person from Damaghan, one person from Sarkhas, three persons from Saiyar, one person from Sayah, one person from Samarkand, twenty-four persons from Ṭaliqan - They are the same ones about whom the Holy Prophet (S) said: In Khurasan, treasures can be found which are not gold or silver; but they are men whom Allah and His Prophet will gather together.

There will be two persons from Qazvin, one person from Fars, one person from Abhar, one person from Birjan, one person from Shakh, one person from Sareeh, one person from Ardabil, one person from Murad, one person from Tadammor, one person from Armani, three persons from Maragha, one person from Khu’i, one person from Salmas, one person from Badices, one person from Nasur, one person from Barkari, one person from Sarkhis, one person from Munaijerd, one person from Qaliqala.

Three persons from Wasit, ten persons from Baghdad, four persons from Kufa, one person from Qadisiya, one person from Surah, one person from Serat, one person from Nael, one person from Saidah, one person from Juijan, one person from Qusur, one person from Anbaar, one person from Akbarah, one person from Hananeh, one person from Tabuk, one person from Jaamedah, three persons from Abadan, six persons from Hadisah Musel, one person from Mosul, one person from Maqlasaya, one person from Naseebeen, one person from Arwan, one person from Faraqeen, one person from Aamed, one person from Ra’s al-‘Ayn.

One person from Raqqah, one person from Haran, one person from Bales, one person from Qabeeh, one person from Tartus, one person from Qasr, one person from Adneh, one person from Hamari, one person from Arar, one person from Qures, one person from Antioch, three persons from Halab, two persons from Hamas, four persons from Damascus, one person from Syria, one person from Qaswan, one person from Qaimut, one person from Sur, one person from Karaj, one person from Azrah.

One person from Aamer, one person from Dakar, two persons from Bait al-Maqdis, one person from Ramalich, one person from Bales, two persons from Acca, one person from Arafat, one person from Asqalan, one person from Gazah, four persons from Fasath, one person from Qaramis, one person from Damyath, one person from Mahaleh, one person from al-Iskandariya, one person from Barqah, one person from Tanjah, one person from Mranjah.

One person from Qirwan, five persons from Sus Aqsa, two persons from Qirus, three persons from Jamim, one person from Qus, one person from Aden, one person from Alali, ten persons from Medina, four persons from Mecca, one person from Ta’if, one person from Dair, one person from Shirwan, one person from Zubaid, ten persons from Saru, one person from Ahsah, one person from Qatif, one person from Hajar and one person from Yamamah.

‘Ali (a.s.) said: The Holy Prophet (S) counted them to me until they became 313 in number, the same as the companions of Badr. Allah will gather them from the East and West and place them near the Holy Ka’aba by the wink of an eye. When the people of Mecca will witness this, they will say:

“Sufyani has gathered us around himself”. After coming in contact with the people of Mecca they will see a group gathered around the Ka’ba and the darkness and gloom will have departed from them and the dawn of hope ascended and they will tell each other:
“Salvation” (perhaps meaning to say that we have found salvation). The noble people will watch and their rulers go in deep thought.

Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) said: “As if I am seeing them - their appearance, height, physique, face, beauty and clothes are all one and the same. As though they are in search of something which they have lost and are now thoughtful and perplexed over this matter until a person who resembles the Prophet the most in creation and appears before them from behind the curtain of the Ka’ba. They will ask him: “Are you the Mahdi?” He will reply: “Yes, I am the Promised Mahdi”.

Thereafter the Mahdi will address them as such: Swear allegiance to me with regards to forty qualities and enter into a covenant with me with regards to ten qualities.

Annaf said: “O Ali what are those qualities?
He replied: They will swear allegiance that they will not steal, commit adultery, kill someone unjustly, defame the honor of a respectable person, abuse a Muslim, swarm a house, mount on a thin and weak animal, decorate themselves falsely (wear gold), wear fur, wear silk, wear clogs, obstruct the path for anyone, commit injustice to the orphans, play trick and deceit anyone, eat the wealth of the orphans, indulge in homosexuality, drink wine, commit treason in trust, breach the promises, hoard wheat and barley, kill someone who seeks refuge in him, pursue the defeated one, shed blood unjustly and embark on killing the injured one. Moreover one should wear coarse garments, consider the ground as ones pillow, eat bread made out of barley, be satisfied with whatever meagre he receives, participate in ‘Jihad’ (holy war) the way it should be done, smell musk and other good fragrances, avoid impurity…”

Second Conclusion: References

Amongst the matters which are good and rather necessary to mention is the names of books and authors - the sources from which we have narrated the traditions in the book of Al-Mahdi. This is so that the rights of those authors are duly paid and rather, the respected readers gain self-satisfaction.

The following are the references of the book Al-Mahdi.

1. The book Is’af al-Raghibin is about the virtues of the Holy Prophet (S) and his Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.). It is written by Shaykh Muhammad Saban who died in the year 1206.

2. The book al-Jāmi’ al-Latif is about the excellence of Mecca and the construction of the Holy Mosque. Its author is Allama Shaykh Jamal al-Din Muhammad Jar Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Nur al-din ibn Abu Bakr ibn ‘Ali Zahira al-Qurashi al-Makhzumi. This book was written in the year 950 A.H. and was printed in the year 1276 A.H. in the printing-house of Dar Ihya al-Kutub al-‘Arabiya.

3. Commentary on the Nahj al-Balagha - written by a leading personality in literature, language and history by the name of Shaykh ‘Izz al-din Abi Hāmid ‘Abd al-Hamīd ibn Hibat Allah al-Mada’ini, well-known as Ibn Abi al-Hadid who died in the year 655 Hijri. This book has been printed in four volumes in Dar al-Kutub al-‘Arabiya in Egypt.

4. Sahih al-Bukhari - compiled by a leading traditionist Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhamamd ibn Isma’il ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Mughira who died in the year 256 A.H. This book has been printed in the year 1312 A.H. in the publishing-house of Maymaniya in Egypt.

5. Sahih Sunan al-Mustafa - compiled by a leading traditionist Abu Dawud Sulayman ibn Asha’th al-Sijistani who died in the year 357 A.H.

6. Sahih al-Tirmidhi - complied by Abu ‘Isa Muhammad ibn Surah who died in the year 278 A.H.. This book was printed in the year 1310 A.H. at Lucknow in India.

7. Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa fi al-radd ‘ala ahl al-bid’ wa al-zandaqa - compiled by Shaykh Shahab al-din Ahmad Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, a resident of Mecca, against the people of innovation and heresy. He died in the year 974 A.H. This book was printed in Egypt in the year 1312 A.H.

8. ‘Iqd al-Durar fi Akhbar al-Imam al-Muntadhar - written about the Awaited Imam by the great scholar Abu Badr Shaykh Jamal al-din Yusuf ibn Yahya ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Ali al-Maqdisi, al-Shafi’i, al-Salmi, al-Dimishqi, who finished writing this book in the year 658 A.H. This is the best and the most comprehensive book I have seen of our Sunni brothers in this regard. I have not come across the printed script of this book and perhaps it has not yet been printed.

Yes, two copies of the said book are present in the library of our master Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (a.s.). One of them had been written in the year 953 A.H.

Another copy of this book is present in the library of the leader of all leaders in traditions i.e. al-Mirza Muhammad Husayn al-Nuri al-Tabarsi (died in 1320), as is apparent from his book Kashf al-Astar.

Another copy too can be found in the library of our leader Sayyid Shahab al-Din al-Mar’ashi al-Husayni al-Najafi, as he himself has told me.

Yet another copy is present in the library of our master Abu al-Majd Muhammad al-Ridha al-Isfahani. This is the same copy on which we have relied and narrated from although it is not free of errors. In the book Durar al-Musawiyah, as we mentioned in the preface of this book, he ascribes the book ‘Iqd al-Durar to Ali ibn Shahab Hamadani. However this is apparently a mistake because I have never come across anyone ascribing this book to the afore-said Sayyid. Yes, the book Mawwadah al-Qurba belongs to the afore-mentioned Sayyid.

From the last portion of the book Yanabi’ al-Mawadda and the book Ghayah al-Maram it appears that Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Kanji in his book Al-Bayan fi Akhbar Sahib al-Zaman and the book Kifayat al-Talib fi Fadhā’il ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib narrates some of his collections from the book ‘Iqd al-Durar.

9. The book al-Futuhat al-Islamiyah after al-Futuhat al-Nabawiyah - written by the scholar Sayyid Ahmad ibn Zayni Dahlan a Mufti (expert in Islamic jurisprudence) of Mecca who died in the year 1304. This book has been published in two parts in the publishing house of Mustapha Muhammad in Egypt.

10. The book al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah written by the mystic scholar and researcher Shaykh Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhyi al-din Muhammad ibn ‘Ali famous as Ibn ‘Arabi al-Hātimi al-Ṭā’i. Truly, this book is a useful book in its own field and I don’t think there exists another of its kind. This book has been printed in Egypt in Dar al-Kutub al-‘Arabiya al-Kubra publishing house.

11. The book Kashf al-Dhunun ‘an Āsāmi al-Kutub wa al-Funun. As it can be judged from its name, this book is majestic in its own field. It has been written by the scholar Mulla Katib Chalabi who died in the year 1067 A.H. This book was printed in Dar al-Sa’ādah in two volumes.

12. The book Mafatih al-Ghayb which is a famous exegesis written by the research scholar Muhammad Fakhr al-Din al-Rāzi who died in the year 606 A.H. This book was printed in eight volumes in the publishing-house of al-Āmira in the year 1308 A.H. The exegesis of Abu al-Sa’ud too has been printed in the margin of this exegesis.

13. Mufradat al-Quran - written by the research scholar Abu al-Qasim Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Mufadhdhal famous as Raghib al-Isfahani who died in the year 502 A.H. This book has been printed in the margins of al-Nihaya of Ibn Athir in Egypt.

14. The book Nur al-Absar fi Manaqib Ahl Bayt al-Nabi al-Mukhtar compiled by the scholar Sayyid Mu’min ibn al-Hasan al-Shablanji who died in the year 1208 A.H. This book was printed in the year 1304 A.H. in Egypt in the ‘Uthmani printing house.

15. The book al-Nihaya fi Gharib al-Hadith wa al-Qur’an which is on the subject of explanation of words used in the traditions and the Qur’an and is written by the research scholar and lexicographer Abu al-Sa’ādāt Mubarak ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Jazari, well-known as Ibn Athir who died in the year 606 AH. This book has been printed in four volumes in the publishing-house of al-Khayriyah in Egypt.

16. Nahj al-Balagha - compiled by Allama al-Sharif al-Radhi Muhammad ibn Abi Ahmad al-Musawi who was the chief of seekers of knowledge in Baghdad. In this book, he has collected the sermons, letters and aphorisms of Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). This book has been printed in three parts in one volume in the printing-house of al-Istiqamah in Egypt. Shaykh Muhammad Abduh who was the Mufti (passing judicial decrees) of Egypt, Shaykh Muhyi al-din Muhammad ‘Abd al Hamid al-Mudarris who was the professor of Al-Azhar have written a commentary on this book.

17. The magazine “Huda al-Islam” which is printed weekly in Egypt under the guidance of Muhammad Ahmad al-Sayrafi and a number of scholars of Egypt have given their share of contribution to this magazine. Undoubtedly this magazine is a religious magazine and is rare in its own field. It was started from 1354 A.H and is still being published.

18. The book Yanabi’ al-Mawadda fi Mawadda Dhuway al-Qurba - written by the mystic scholar Shaykh Sulayman ibn Khawaja Kalan al-Husayni al-Balkhi al-Qunduzi who died in the year 1294 A.H. This book was printed in the publishing-house of ‘Akhtar’.