A group has denied the Holy Existence of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) while some of the Shias and believers have actually met the Holy Imam (a.s.) in person. Here we shall mention about some deniers of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
In a chapter of his Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun has brought the traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) narrated by the narrators and he has endeavored to prove that all these traditions are baseless. The great scholar and teacher, Ahmad Shakir has written a refutation of Ibn Khaldun and said:
“However Ibn Khaldun has taken up a subject about which be has no knowledge and spoke of a matter regarding which he had no proficiency. Ibn Khaldun was involved in political affairs and was busy in the service of the rulers. Therefore he conjectured that the subject of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) was a Shiite belief or he has put himself in doubt regarding this matter. On the basis of this, be has written a long chapter in his well-known Proglamena. (Chapter on Fatimids or that which the people did unto them).”1
The teacher, Ahmad Shakir, in refutation of Ibn Khaldun’s skepticism writes that his denial with regard to the Awaited Imam (a.s.) is denial of a necessary principle of religion, because the traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) about His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) reach to the level of widely-related (Tawatur) and there is no scope of doubt in them.
Muhammad Amin Baghdadi, famous as Suwaidi, has denied the existence of His Eminence, the Awaited Imam (a.s.) but said that he shall be born in the future. He also says, “The Shias think that he disappeared into a basement of Samarrah in 262 A.H. and he is the sword-bearer and one who would arise prior to Qiyamat. Also that before his reappearance he shall have two occultations, one of them being longer than the other.”
I say that there are many facts that invalidate the statement of Muhammad Amin when he says that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will be born in the future before Qiyamat; thus implying that he does not presently exist. This is against the principles of Shia faith available in their books of religion. The important points can be summarized as follows:
1. Appointment of Imam is incumbent on God.
2. It is not permissible for God to keep any period of time devoid of an Imam.
3. Imamate is restricted to twelve personalities.
4. Shias believe that all of the above must be infallible.
On the basis of what this writer says, “Allah (SwT) did not bring about what was incumbent on Him. That is, after the passing away of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) He did not appoint Imam Mahdi (a.s.) immediately. Rather He has postponed the Imamate of Mahdi (a.s.) for the Last Age!!”
If Shias say that this same Mahdi is now the Imam we shall ask what is the use of an Imam in occultation? Since he is incapable of removing oppression. In spite of the fact that the Imams prior to him, even though their tenure was close to the period of the Prophet (S), they were present in public view. Whereas this period, which is furthermost from the period of the Prophet (S) and oppressions have increased, there is greater need of an Imam.
And that upon which the scholars are unanimous is that Mahdi (a.s.) is the Qaim of the Last Age and he would fill the earth with justice.2
The denial of Suwaidi has no basis and the belief of the Shias regarding the Imam of the time (a.s.) has no contradiction with the other principles of faith as Suwaidi has conjectured. Because the appointment of the Imam is logically incumbent on Allah (SwT), in view of His Grace, and Shias are firmly convinced about this.
Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is one of the twelve Imams who are successors of the Prophet of Islam (S). He has gone into occultation away from the view of people due to hidden wisdom as we have already explained in the forgone pages. He would indeed reappear and establish truth, justice, prosperity and peace among the people.
Ahmad Kasravi had been unjust upon the Shia people and attributed falsehood and made allegations about them regarding the Imam of the time (a.s.) saying:
“When Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) passed away in 260 A.H., a great problem arose because he did not leave behind any issue. The Rafidis (Shias) fell into great confusion and many divisions appeared among them. A group claimed that the purpose of Imamate was over hence it had come to an end. A group began to follow Jafar, the brother of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.).
While Uthman bin Saeed a trusted aide of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) made a very surprising claim that Imam Hasan Askari indeed had a five year old son who disappeared into the basement and he shall not appear for anyone and that he is the Imam after his father.”3
Partialities and loyalties of this writer towards the imperialist powers are known to all. He says: “The claim of Uthman bin Saeed a deputy of Imam Hasan (a.s.), that His Eminence had a son who will not appear to anyone and he is the Awaited Imam and the Mahdaviyat is firm with him, and from all aspects all his claims and statements are baseless.”
However, his statement is absolutely invalid because we have already quoted in the forgone discussions, in a clear manner, traditions and reports from the Holy Prophet (S) and Purified Imams (a.s.) and all those narrations and reports have given glad tidings to the world of Islam about the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and that His Eminence will revive the religion and make it strong.
Ahmad Amin, like the Magian Kasravi is also having malice and jealously against Imams of guidance (a.s.), whom the Almighty Allah (SwT) has purified from all filth and impurities. He also issued statements on the basis of his bigotry, instead of referring to authentic Shia sources.
He made baseless claims and false allegations regarding them and he has himself accepted this. Due to his animosity towards the Shias he has heaped every type of falsehood on them. Those Shias who shape a great part of the Islamic community and desire truth and justice and despise dispute, rebellion and oppression are well known.
Dr. Abdur Rahman Badawi says, “Shias posses greater virtue and are pre-eminent among all because they have preserved Islam with its originality and perfection and bestowed the restless and confused consciences with spirituality, steadfastness and aplomb; otherwise petrifaction and a dry and motionless structure would become dominant.”
In any case, Ahmad Amin has written a treatise in which he has denied Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and considered the Shia belief regarding His Eminence (a.s.) a defect. He has not given any importance to the traditions of the six canonical books of Ahle Sunnat on the subject. The compilers of books of Prophetic narrations, the widely related reports and widespread sayings of the Prophet of Islam (S) regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.) are known to all.
The great scholar, Hujjatul Islam wal Muslimeen Ustad Shaykh Muhammad Ali Zahiri have refuted Ahmad Amin with logical arguments and textual proofs. He has replied to the baseless statements of Ahmad Amin. The honorable personality, Imam Shaykh Muhammad Husain Kashiful Ghita in his foreword to the book of Zahiri says:
“The matter of His Eminence, the Awaited Imam (a.s.) in occultation – may our souls be sacrificed on him – is a belief rooted in truth and a social principle and it is based on a firm foundation and it is not possible to deny it. It is included among the significant and most important principles.”4
Shukri Afandi Baghdadi has composed a panegyric in which he has expressed doubts about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and has denied him! He says:
“O the scholars of the time! O those who know everything (deeply). The thought about him is perplexing.”
Scholars and learned men of Najaf Ashraf have taken steps to refute him. Muhaddith Noori – may Allah the Almighty be pleased with him – has compiled a book, Kashful Astar Anil Hujjatul Ghalib Anil Absar to refute him. In this book he has collected statements of forty great Ahle Sunnat scholars – regarding the birth and existence of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.). In the same way, Imam Kashiful Ghita has in response to Afandi composed a beautiful panegyric, which runs as follows:
“My life be sacrificed for one who is far away from home, but whom remembrance brought close.
And the fascination and remembrance of his followers have kept him near.”
This complete panegyric is quoted in the book, Ilzamun Nasib.