That this Divine design in forming a new nation throughout the world should be worldwide and as such, a total justice under the oneness of God should stretch from end to end, was a salient factor in the invitation to Islam. Besides; the Quranic Verses too have given expression to this end in its several chapters. Muslims also have often and always looked forward in anticipating the realization of the goals in line with the promise committed by God and His Prophet.
Furthermore, there are hundreds of predictions foretold by the prophet that Islam will be the absolute and universal religion and that a total justice will rule providing security over the earth; and this will be accomplished by Mahdi (as) whose appearance is awaited as it is promised. He is from the Prophet’s progeny, son of Ali and Fatimah, bearing a patronymic same as that of the Prophet.
One day Mahdi will appear; this belief has been introduced, that is, the specifications too are told. This is a belief that runs in the veins of Islam and is divulged in its preliminary texts. Besides, the traditions that are constant - and in their constancy runs no doubt - support the belief. The Prophet has given the tidings and it is he who has kept his nation in waiting for the day of the appearance of Mahdi. This belief, as other ones, is a principal and cardinal one envigoured by its originality and enlivened by its purity. The belief in the Prophet resigns to the belief in Mahdi.
Extract from the traditions has not constituted this belief. Prognostications that Islam will become worldwide and that the truth will obliterate the wrong, do exist and do provide an umbrella, but this belief stands by its own, supported by the text. Symptoms are foretold and the qualities specified which are to be taken for granted when they occur as the indication of Mahdi’s appearance.
These predictions might have had been efficacious in the growth of this belief but the conditions and circumstances that came into being immediately after the death of the Prophet have not part in this belief, because this belief had already been divulged to the people far in advance. The origin of this belief is the prophet hood and not the time. Likewise, attachment of the faithful ones with the Prophet stands apart from the count to be regarded as one of the causes for Mahdism.
Such a conjecture, if there be or to form one, is doomed to be rejected and refuted because it is bleak and barren; not an evidence nor a proof, nor a document, nor a logic is there to irrigate it so as to keep it alive. Therefore, if this be said, which, indeed, has been, that a group of Muslims were not happy in the rule of the caliphs whom had ruled after the Prophet’s death, some of the people among them were led to a belief which persuaded them to wait, anticipating the rise of one from the Prophet’s progeny, to take up the guidance of the people; is only an absurdity neither coherent nor congruous with reality.
Resurrection of man in Islam according to the Quran does not indicate to the appearance of a redeemer in the person of Mahdi at the end of time. Therefore, those who were ardently faithful to the personality of the prophet, gratified themselves to look forward to what they had hoped to witness in their own lifetime. The dispatch and constancy with which they held the view became a belief with them to anticipate the appearance of a man from the Prophet’s progeny, guided by God for the redemption of the people. Although such is their argument and thus their reasoning but it is not true.
The appearance of Mahdi, the Redeemer, had been prognosticated long ago and the predictions in this regard abound to the extent that no other prediction in Islam, whatever its object, does not equal in number. It is certitude. Here what astonishes is this: The writer appears to have explored the subject thoroughly, and he says that the traditions, which predict the appearance of Mahdi exceed to more than a thousand. Further, the writer has quoted from the books written by others and he has taken sufficient store from the books of “Hadith” and interpretation.
After having had set out on such a journey, long and tedious, endangering himself of every possible hazard, and having had wandered far and wide he comes back only to tell that he has seen nothing. To believe him reasons rejects.
His toil has gone futile and his fatigue without compensation is his misfortune. This is a pity. Great Sunni scholars have written books on this subject. Twelve centuries have since passed and the books written then have withstood the ransacking by the scholars and researchers of Islamic sciences. From them they have narrated its material, and quoted its essence in their own books availing nothing but to tell that the advent of Mahdi was never been foretold. In the glare of light they have failed to see the object.
They attributed the fact to the personal attachment of a few with the Prophet. Even this argument that the advent of Mahdi is not mentioned in the Quran is lame because the Prophet had on many occasions informed the nation that such a day exists in the womb of time and there is not miscarriage of it.
His companions heard him; and form mouth to mouth circulating of the forecast. But, doubt still swells in the cradle of hesitation! Such is the obduracy and so the stubbornness.
This is a mistake, though not deliberate. Likewise, there are several other mistakes in the book, all because the writer has ignored authorities and references which form a foundation of the belief among all Muslims in the advent of the redeemer, Mahdi. His means of reasoning and way of argument has steered him to blunders. The issue of Mahdism has so disturbed him that he has disturbed all by his wrong discussion, in which instead of explaining has confounded the confusion. The religion of Islam and the belief in Shiaism confronts him either to check or challenge him. He has gained nothing in his exploration but has lost the track to return back.
Consequence? Reason alarms us. Such a way of analysis and conclusion in the subject matter of Imamate if to be tolerated, will lead us to doubt other matters, such as the prophet hood of the prophets. And a step further, the issue of belief in God itself will be put to question. From the start it is a slaught on belief because of its wrong approach.
For instance, the prophet hood of Moses could be put to question. It could be argued that the Israelis were oppressed by the pharaoh, Moses thought to rescue them. In fact, it was the atrocities of the pharaoh who incited Moses to campaign under the title of prophet hood. In other words, it was nationalism that caused Israelis to accept Moses’ invitation. Or, it could be said that, the Prophet too campaigned under the title of prophet hood because of the heartening condition of the poor people of Mecca and the atrocities of moneylenders and the wicked deeds of the populace.
These and such analysis and justifications are close to fiction rather than to reality, as they do not have the remotest bearing on the actuality of causes and effects of things.
In spite of all this it should not be forgotten, as the writer has pointed out, that the atrocities of the people who held the affairs in their hands did not go without influence on the hearts. It made the public more staunch in their belief in Mahdi and his Imamate and more enthusiastic in anticipation of a redeemer because of the need for relief that they deserved. The grounds, historical and social, have always aided in advancing the call of the prophets, as was the case with our Prophet. This conclusion is in agreement with the divine universal view. To link the prophet hood, and Imamate to circumstances and the divine outlook of the universe is not reasonable. The outlook of one who believes in God shall refute it. It is feeble, flaccid, and fake.