The Imam’s (a.s.) Companions
Companions and helpers of His Eminence (a.s.) shall be persons of piety, caution, merits and purity. They shall be the best kind of people.
1. Muhammad bin Hanafiyyah has narrated that a person inquired from Imam Ali (a.s.) about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and Ali (a.s.) replied, “He shall reappear in the Last Age.” Then he mentioned the characteristics of his companions and said, “Then the Almighty Allah (SwT) shall collect a group of people near him like pieces of scattered clouds and he shall create love among themselves and none of them shall be fearful…”1
This tradition means that companions of His Eminence (a.s.) shall be having religious insight and the proofs of Allah (SwT) are complete on them. They shall not be pleased or sad to see anyone joining or leaving them. Their hearts are filled with the blessings of Allah (SwT) and with faith, and they are appointed for the service of Islam, its significance and the aims of His Eminence (a.s.).
2. His Eminence Ali (a.s.) has said about their characteristics, “They shall be a group that does not oblige Allah (SwT) by its patience. And they do not consider themselves great while sacrificing their lives on the path of truth…”2
3. His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has said regarding their characteristics, “They are warriors on the path of God and the arrogant and transgressors consider them lowly. Their worth is not known on the earth but they are well known in the heavens.”3
4. Muhiyuddin Arabi said, “The people having divine recognition shall pay the oath of allegiance to His Eminence (a.s.) and they are the servants of God who shall harken to the call of His Eminence (a.s.) and become his supporters. They are those deputies of his who shall take up the responsibility of the important functions of his government…the Almighty Allah (SwT) would select those persons as his deputies whom He has made cognizant of divine realities.”
As for the number of the companions of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) who shall pay allegiance to him are same as the number of the warriors of Badr, that is 313. Sulaiman bin Haroon Ajali narrated that he heard His Eminence, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) saying, “Indeed the master of this affair, that is the Qaim of the Progeny of Muhammad (S) is safe, such that if all the people go away, the Almighty Allah (SwT) shall bring his companions and they are the same that are implied in the words of Allah:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ
“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers…” (Surah 5, Verse 54)
أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا
“…wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together…” (Surah 2, Verse 148)
They shall be the companions of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.). His Eminence, Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “By Allah (SwT)! I am aware of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.s.); I know their names, tribes and the names of their chiefs. These are the people whom Almighty Allah (SwT) shall gather in ones and twos from different tribes and communities till they are nine. Then their number shall reach the warriors of Badr, that is 313 persons. And that is the saying of Almighty Allah (SwT):
أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“…wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together; surely Allah has power over all things.”(Surah 2, Verse 148)
So much so, that people would not have time to change and Allah (SwT) would make them reach the Imam.4
Abu Khalid Kabuli narrated from His Eminence, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) that he said, “They are such that they sleep on their beds (It means that they were asleep and Allah took them out and gathered them in Mecca). They are 313 persons, same as the number of Badr warriors and they shall be in Mecca overnight and that is the saying of Allah:
أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا
“…wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together…”(Surah 2, Verse 148)
And these are the companions of the Qaim of the Progeny of Muhammad (S).”5
The venue where companions of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) pay the oath of fealty at his hands is between the Rukn and Maqam, which is the most sanctified and exalted spots. And a many traditions have been recorded on this subject.6
Narrators of traditions and historians have mentioned that His Eminence, the Master of the Age (a.s.) would put some conditions for accepting allegiance. They are as follows.
His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) after describing the characteristics of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) mentions the conditions that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) shall impose for those who wish to pay allegiance to him: They should promise that they shall not steal and commit fornication. Should not commit murder or defile honor. They must not speak ill to the Muslims. They must not attack any house and must not kill anyone except for justification.
(He would mean to say:) You shall not tie bands of gold or wear silk. You shall not desecrate the mosque and you shall not block the paths. You shall not oppress the orphans and make the paths insecure. You shall not resort to intrigue and deceit. You shall not usurp the property of the orphans. You shall not commit sodomy, drink wine and do misappropriation with Imamate and guidance.
You shall not break oaths and promises. You shall not hoard wheat and barely. You shall not kill the one who has taken asylum with you. Do not pursue those who flee. Do not shed blood and do not attack an injured person. Wear coarse garments and prostrate on the bare earth. Eat barely bread and fight on the way of Allah (SwT). Wear perfumes and despise the impure things.
Meanwhile, His Eminence (a.s.) will impose upon himself the condition that there shall be no obstacle between him and his followers. All his activities shall be before them. He shall be satisfied with less and by the help of Allah (SwT) he shall fill the earth with justice just as it would be fraught with oppression. And he shall serve Allah (SwT) as He ought to be served…7
These conditions and characteristics show that the aim of His Eminence (a.s.) is spreading justice and equality and the establishment of the rule of Allah (SwT) on the earth in such a way that no power and value remains for the tyrants. Also it shows that the ruler and the subjects are eligible for equity and there shall be no kind of discrimination between different classes of people except that it be having a firm base. His humility and his being with the common people shall be among the characteristics of His Eminence, the Master of the Age, the Remnant of Allah the Great (a.s.).
According to traditions, the standard bearer of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) shall be Shuaib, the son of Salih, who shall be the commander of a huge army. He shall arrive from Khorasan to help and pay oath of allegiance to Imam Mahdi (a.s.).8 And it is said that he is from the Tamim and he is the one who shall defeat the Sufyani so that they come to Baitul Maqdas and prepare the ground for the government of His Eminence, the remnant of Allah. And from the time of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) till the time his command gains absolute authority, there is a period of 72 months.9
It is narrated that on the flag of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) shall be written: The allegiance is only for Allah.10 The philosophy behind it is that the allegiance to His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is allegiance to Allah (SwT), and his command is the Command of Allah (SwT).
There is difference of opinion among narrators of traditions as regards the period of the Imam’s (a.s.) government since there are various narrations on this subject.
1. The period of his government shall be 40 years and this is narrated from Imam Ali (a.s.).11
2. It is 30 years12
3. It is 21 years13
Numerous traditions are recorded that convey that during the period of the Imam’s (a.s.) government there shall be widespread blessings.
1. Abu Saeed Khudri narrated from the Prophet of Islam (S) that he said, “Mahdi will be from my progeny. In his regime, my nation shall be bestowed with bounties, without parallel in the history of mankind. Everything will be available and distributed freely. Wealth and riches will be in excess. A person shall implore, ‘O Mahdi, give me,’ Imam (a.s.) will reply, ‘Take whatever you please.’”14
2. Abu Saeed Khudri narrated from the Prophet of Islam (S) that he said, “In the last age of my nation, the Mahdi shall reappear. And the Almighty Allah (SwT) would shower His blessings upon him and the earth shall put forth its wealth. And the earth shall produce more and perfect economic possibilities. (Good Vegetation).”15
3. His Eminence, Imam Ali (a.s.) says regarding His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) that, “Imam Mahdi (a.s.) shall instruct his representatives in all cities that they should deal justly with people in such a way that the jackal and the ewe may graze at the same place. And evil may disappear and only goodness remains. Those who sow one mudd (unit) shall reap seven mudds as the Almighty Allah (SwT) has said. Fornication, wine drinking and usury shall be finished and people shall be inclined towards worship, Islamic Law, charitable deeds, prayers and religious programs. And the trusts shall be restored to their owners; there shall be increase in vegetation and blessings shall increase. Evils shall be destroyed and goodness shall remain and none who harbors animosity towards Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) shall survive.”16
- 1. Mustadrak Hakim, 4/554
- 2. Yanabiul Mawaddah, Pg. 437
- 3. Yanabiul Mawaddah, Pg. 437
- 4. Ghaybah, Shaykh Tusi
- 5. Kamaluddin
- 6. Iqdud Durar, Musnad Ahmad
- 7. Al-Mahdi Maood, 3/11, quoted from Al-Malahim wal Fitan, Ibn Tawus, 2/104
- 8. Kanzul Ummal, 7/260
- 9. Al-Malahim wal-Fitan, 1/3
- 10. Al-Mahdi Maood
- 11. Al-Bayan Fi-Akhbaar al-Sahebuzzman, Minanur Rahman, 2/42
- 12. Muntakhab Kanzul Ummal, 6/34
- 13. Isafur Raghibeen, Pg. 140
- 14. Mustadrak Hakim, 4/558
- 15. Mustadrak Hakim, 4/558
- 16. Muntakhabul Athar, Pg. 474 quoted from Kashful Astar