بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
We Shias are caught in the clutches of the hopes of humanity and we are being grinded between the oppressors. Therefore our sights are fully trained on the advent of a great savior so that he comes to establish the divine rule, as no one is needless of it and there is no injustice in it.
We are convinced of the age of justice in which injustice, oppression and slavery would be eradicated and he would spread love, lofty morals, equality and sacrifice among the people, and in the shade of such a government those powers would be destroyed and suppressed who play with human life or those who spread destruction on the earth.
We are present in the age of that divine just one and the Awaited one, who is the Haibatullah (awe of Allah (SwT)), a gift and a great bounty of Allah (SwT) for the humanity. That awaited leader, who is the hope for the deprived ones and the helpless and who would bestow them mercy and distribute goodness and divine bounties among them.
We live during the age of the twelfth Imam from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) who is also known as the Qaim al-Aale Muhammad (a.s.), whom the Almighty Allah (SwT) has prepared for the reformation of the world and changing of the system of the corrupted rulers of the world who have pushed the people into the worst circumstances.
The Almighty Allah (SwT) has created the holy personality of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) for the loftiest aims and the greatest reformation of human society. Thus it is him who would fill the earth with justice and equity after it would have been filled with injustice and oppression.
The Kind Lord has selected him from among the saints for such a lofty purpose, because the heart and the original essence (teenat) of the His Eminence (a.s.) is purer and cleaner than all the people and from the aspect of insight and intelligence is the most dominant one because he is from a family, which the Almighty Allah (SwT) has honored and kept away from all sorts of uncleanness and bestowed it with purity and chastity.
He, the Promised Mahdi (a.s.), is the most important religious fact and the clearest of the Islamic beliefs. Indeed the Holy Prophet of Islam (S) did not say anything of his own and in the same way are the Imams (a.s.) of Muslims and leaders of Muslim Ummah who are the treasures of Prophetic sciences and exponents of Prophetic wisdom. They have all conveyed the good news of the existence and advent of the Mahdi (a.s.).
Reports and traditions of these great personalities in the terminology of the science of narrators (Ilme Rijal) are not ‘solitary narrations’ that could be doubted or refuted and finally discredited. Rather, these reports, in the terminology of the science of narrators are known as ‘Mutawatir’ (widely narrated) and reach to the level of certainty, and scholars and experts of traditions have certified them and guaranteed their veracity.
All of them have included these traditions in their collections, writings and histories. ‘Tawatur’ (widely narrated) and certainty in these reports has reached to the limit that doubt and misgiving about them is like doubting a necessary principle of faith, because it is narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) that he said: “One who disbelieved in the advent of Mahdi (a.s.) is a disbeliever.”
The perfect intellect, absolutely believes in the existence of the Promised Mahdi and the Awaited Imam (a.s.) and that he would surely reappear. Because reason dictates that it has to be thus and it is a confirmed matter and no kind of intellectual proof goes against it, because these traditions are mentioned under such discussions in the history of the Holy Prophet (S), his practice and also that of his honorable successors that they have removed every kind of doubt and uncertainty and very clearly throughout his life he issued sayings regarding the confirmed reappearance for the eradication of injustice and oppression and for infusing fresh life into the religion of Islam and its complete reformation and well-being.
In addition to these reports and narrations, all divine religions and sects are unanimous that a reformer would surely arrive to establish truth and a just rule, and who would destroy all corruptions and evils.
Also the rule and system of this holy personality would be such that nothing as great and as perfect had ever been present on the face of the earth throughout history in the destiny of the humanity. It would be much higher and exalted. In addition to this, his rule and rulership will have such progress as human civilization has never seen anywhere previously.
If we desire to study the life history of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) with all its characteristics and different aspects on the basis of philosophical arguments, it would necessitate that we associate with it and bring faith upon it. Because the Almighty Allah (SwT) has always continued His Grace upon His creatures and this shall never be stopped by Him.
He has bestowed bounty upon His servants that shall never be stopped from them. He brought them from non-existence into existence and created them in the best of the forms and made them superior to most of the creatures and commanded the angels to prostrate before their father, Adam (a.s.), and gave the Sun and the Moon in their control and provided them with everything they are in need of.
The greatest grace and bestowal of Allah (SwT) upon His servants is that He has kept them away from deviation and misguidance. For their guidance, He sent great prophets like Ibrahim (a.s.), Musa (a.s.), Isa (a.s.) and Muhammad (S) at the time when humanity was sunk in ignorance, crimes and evils. The Almighty Allah (SwT) says:
كُنْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا
“And you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it.” (Surah 3, Verse 103)
His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has described the society, which was filled with all evil when the Holy Prophet (S) announced his prophethood in the following words:
“Allah (SwT) sent the Prophet (S) when the mission of other prophets (a.s.) had stopped and the people were in slumber for a long time. Evils were raising heads; all matters were under disruption and in flames of wars, while the world was devoid of brightness, and full of open deceitfulness. Its leaves had turned yellow and there was absence of hope about its fruits.”1
In the same way the reappearance of the Qaim of Aale Muhammad (a.s.) would occur at a time when humanity and human beings would be under the yoke of injustice and oppression, undergoing pains and calamities and tasting the bitterness of oppression and falsehood.
That is the time when the most kind Lord would save humanity through the great reformer, His Eminence, the Mahdi (a.s.). He would establish peace and justice and provide all kinds of comforts and good things to the humanity, which is eagerly waiting for his advent and he would spread all these good things among them.
The birth, occultation and reappearance of His Eminence, Mahdi (a.s.) resembles the various aspects of the great divine Messengers (a.s.) and social reformers of the earth. The concealed birth of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) closely resembles the birth of Prophet Musa (a.s.) because in the case of Musa (a.s.) the Pharaoh had appointed female spies to inform him about the birth of male children to every woman so that they could be murdered.
If the newborn were female it was of no concern. This was so because astrologers had predicted to the Pharaoh that his power and kingdom would be brought to end through a young man who would be born in that same period.
In the same way was the incidence of the conception and birth of His Eminence, Mahdi (a.s.), the awaited one, that the most Wise Lord kept him concealed because the Abbaside tyrants were in search of him so that as soon as he is born he should be murdered. So much so that the house of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) was surrounded by the security forces and filled with male and female informers so that they may identify the newborn child of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), who according to the sayings of the Holy Prophet (S) would be the last Caliph.
Thus the Abbasides may put an end to his life immediately. The Abbaside rulers had become certain that their power and kingdom would be destroyed through such a personality. Thus through any means he should be captured and killed like his forefathers.
In the same way, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) resembles the great Prophet Isa (a.s.), the son of Maryam (a.s.) in the matter that he spoke as soon as he was born. When he was born from the womb of his mother, Maryam (a.s.), a group of people gathered near her and accused her of unchastity. Maryam (a.s.) pointed towards her newborn child. The Almighty Allah (SwT) made the newborn Isa (a.s.) to speak in the cradle and he said:
إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا
وَجَعَلَنِي مُبَارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُ وَأَوْصَانِي بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا
“Surely I am a servant of Allah (SwT); He has given me the Book and made me a prophet; and He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate so long as I live…”(Surah 19, Verse 30-31)
When the Master of the Age, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) was born, he recited the following verse of Quran:
وَنُرِيدُ أَنْ نَمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ
“And We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams and to make them the heirs.”(Surah 28, Verse 5)
His Eminence, the Awaited Imam (a.s.), was not similar to the prophets (a.s.) in only these aspects. He was having similarity in more important aspects like changing the society and taking the ethics of the society to a great height and also to destroy evil; reformation of the society, and crystallization in proper way of the thoughts and views of the people and to suppress and destroy injustice and oppression.
His Eminence, Mahdi (a.s.), the Awaited one fulfills the same function that the great Messengers of the Lord (a.s.) had performed. On the basis of this, he would eradicate inequity and oppression and establish justice, truth and brotherhood among the people.
In my view, no other topic of discussion, except the subject of the Promised Imam (a.s.) is accorded more importance and significance in the writings of scholars and researchers. Scholars, biographers and researchers have discussed all the aspects of the Imam (a.s.) on the basis of Quran and traditions. They have studied and written upon all the aspects connected with the signs and prophecies connected with the reappearance of the Awaited Imam (a.s.).
It is necessary to mention that books of Ahle Sunnat scholars written on Imam Mahdi (a.s.) exceed those written by Shia scholars. We would mention a list of 50 such books in the forthcoming pages. The subject of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) reaches to such a limit of certainty among Muslims that to harbor any doubt about it is like doubting in the established principles of faith. Such that reason and common sense do not support it and logic does not accept it.
In any case, to say anything in denial of the holy existence of His Eminence, Mahdi (a.s.) is a sign of deficient intelligence and superficial thinking. However, the cause and the philosophy of denial of those like Ibn Khaldun, Kasrawi Majoosi and Ahmad Amin Misri is due to the enmity and deep hatred of these people with the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). All these writers have been disrespectful to these honorable personalities and guides of humanity.
However, the readers of books written by these writers do not consider them to be serious and reliable and that whatever they have written about the reformers of the community and Imams of Muslims, has no scholarly value and authenticity because they write thus only due to their malice and bigotry.
Shias and followers of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) have been unjustly made the butts of criticism and allegations throughout the ages due to their belief in the Awaited Imam (a.s.), may the souls of the worlds be sacrificed on him. Allegations of falsehood and lies have been associated with them.
For example, they say: The Shias believe in an Imam who disappeared from the cellar of his house in Samarrah and they await for him to emerge from that same cellar.
And they say: The Shias gather in a particular cellar in Babylon and await the reappearance of that Imam from that same cellar.
These kinds of foolish allegations are made against the Shias.
It is definite that the belief of the Shias and followers of the school of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) in the matter of the Awaited Imam (a.s.) and the universal reformer is like all their principles of belief, clean and pure and as clear and illuminated as the shining sun. It is based on the respected Islamic texts and teachings of the Imams of guidance of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) of the Messenger (S). The Almighty Allah (SwT) has kept them away from every impurity and dirt and bestowed on them purity and sanctity. Thanks be to Allah (SwT), our belief is not taken from the liars, forgers and deviated persons.
There is no kind of deficiency, deviation, falsehood or misguidance in the beliefs of the Shias and it is in no way against the rules of nature and natural aspects. Rather the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), all of them together believe in all that is accepted by logic, argumentative proof, nature and realization and all the human society in all the ages are unanimous upon it.
Shias believe that when the Abbasid tyrants surrounded the Imam (a.s.) and wanted to put an end to his life, he disappeared just like his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S) when he was surrounded by the Quraish in his house. He appointed his successor and the gate of the city of his knowledge, His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in his place and escaped to Yathrib (Medina) from between them. Ali (a.s.) slept on the bed of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the Quraish were not able to perceive it.
Shias have clearly announced their belief and they continue to do so, that the reappearance of the Master of the Age will not be from the cellar of Samarrah. Rather the place of reappearance of His Eminence (a.s.) is the Holy Mecca and the Honorable Kaba and it shall be on a clear day just as his respected grandfather had risen up from this holy land. We shall discuss this aspect in the coming pages.
People ask regarding the wisdom and philosophy of occultation of the Awaited Imam (a.s.) that why does the Imam not meet the Shias and other people during the period of occultation. Why he does not participate in the affairs of the world?
In my view, the Almighty Allah (SwT) on the basis of hidden wisdom has kept concealed the true wisdom and secret of occultation from the people like He has reserved the secret of the Night of Power, the Day of Judgment and the time of Friday when prayers are accepted and the form and appearance of the spirit and place of the birth of the Prophet of Allah, Musa Ibn Imran (a.s.) was kept secret. The occultation and reappearance of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is also in the same way.
It is an accepted fact that limited human understanding is not capable to fully realize the affairs of the great creator of the universe and existence. The Omnipotent Lord has made apparent the existence and the universe and designed a system for controlling and running them. We humans do not have any knowledge about these systems and rules.
However, the Wise Lord possesses perfect knowledge about His creation and has true wisdom about everything while man sometimes understands His wisdom and philosophy but most of the time he is helpless to perceive them.
Search for recognition and knowing the signs of the reappearance has been given utmost importance and arrangements made for the same. In my view, such elaborate arrangement shows that people are fed up with the systems created by human beings. Their cries and protests have risen up greatly, while these systems and kingdoms have considered it permissible to torment and oppress the people. They have put the people and the world in mischief and destruction.
It is here that people of the world are desirous of the command of Allah (SwT) and a divine government so that political and social justice may be accorded to them and that they may be saved from the attack of those who do as they like. Numerous reports and narrations recorded in books of history and traditions from the Messenger of Allah (S) and Imams of guidance (a.s.) mention and explain the signs of reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
In this book, we shall study in brief the special characteristics of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) especially those lofty qualities that are spiritual and moral. Doubtlessly these qualities are permanent and everlasting and were present in his forefathers and ancestors, all of whom were sources of good and beneficial to people of all communities and societies.
The most apparent and obvious quality of the Imams of the Muslims was that they were the destroyers and crushers of oppressions and false deities.
His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.), the chief and the senior member of the purified progeny of the Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “The strong one in my view is weak till I take from him the right and the weak one is strong in my view till I obtain his right for him.”
The same blessed quality and personal characteristic in its best form is present in his (grand) son, the Awaited Imam (a.s.). In the light of the widely related reports, when Imam Mahdi (a.s.) would reappear he would spread justice and destroy injustice and oppression. He would lay the foundation of the centers of justice and equality and shake up the throne of rebellion and oppression.
In this book, a section is devoted to the tortures and pressures witnessed by the Sayyid elders and their followers at the hands of the tyrannical rulers and oppressors of their time. These rulers dealt very harshly with these noble souls and even used to bury them alive and raise walls over them. They used to drown their young children by throwing them into the river.
So much so, ministers on special occasions and for flattery and gaining proximity with the caliphs, used to present the heads of the Sayyids and Shias to the oppressive rulers. In other words the tortures of the oppressors on the Imams of guidance and their Shias were of the worst kind.
The time and place of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is discussed in this book in the light of traditional reports. The place of reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is the Holy Mecca, the Masjidul Haram and at the sanctified Kaba. It is that same House of Allah (SwT), Hajj towards which Allah (SwT) made obligatory on the people. It is that holy place from where would be raised the call of justice and truth by the divine promised one and reach the ears of the people of the world.
In the same way, this book has explained the method and policies of the Imam (a.s.) and activities of the Master of the Age. We shall also explain the system of his government to some extent.
When that divine personality reappears, he would establish peace, comfort and prosperity for the people and establish justice among them. Such a kind of justice as had never been witnessed in the rules (kingdoms) throughout history.
In this book we shall also discuss about the helpers and supporters of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and their lofty qualities and merits as befits the fighters in the way of Allah (SwT). Those great people whose help the Imam (a.s.) takes to spread divine principles and human virtues and to make apparent virtues of humanity and after the proof of humanity is taken from them they would be appointed for this task. These were some topics that are going to be discussed in this book.
It is appropriate that before I conclude this discourse, I should clearly announce that this book is a life sketch of the Imam of the Age (a.s.) whom the Almighty Allah (SwT) has prepared and treasured to reform the world and to keep the religion established and to further spread the religion of Islam. This is neither an underestimation nor extremism. Rather, it is fact that his holy existence is shading all the people and has them in his control and submission.
As the practice and method of this dear Imam (a.s.) and his respected forefathers and the life of these great people in all aspects, resembles their grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S) it has continued in the Imam of the present Age (a.s.), such that he shall fill the earth with his virtues and sciences.
No book can be comprehensive enough to cover all the facts and realities of this matter and it is not possible to expose all the secrets and realities of his existence. Thus are the respected successors and protectors of the knowledge and wisdom of the prophets (a.s.) …
Baqir Sharif Qarashi
- 1. Nahjul Balagha