10 Things You Didn't Know About Imam Al-Mahdi (A)
With over 250 Qur'anic verses and approximately 6000 narrations in Islamic teachings, the subject of Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, is crucial in the life of Muslims. The belief in him and his return, brings forth a great sense of hope and anticipation for a better world, filled with justice and righteousness. With the promise of the Almighty, Subhana wa Ta'ala, indeed fulfilled around the world. To hundreds of millions, he is the Imam of the Time, and so people should have cognizance and understanding of him as much as possible.
Here are ten things you may not have known about Imam al-Mahdi. May Allah hasten his reappearance.
Number one: 'Baqiyyatu Allah', a well known scholar by the name of Marhum Sheikh an-Nuri, who died year 1902, lists 182 titles for Imam, alayhi as-salam. Some are more well known than others. For example, people may have heard the titles such as: Sahib uz-Zaman, 'the Owner of the Time'. Al-Muntadhar, 'the Awaited'. Al-Muntaqim, 'the Avenger'. Al-Maw'ud, 'the Promised'. Khatam al-Awsiya', 'The Last Successor', and Al-Gha'ib, 'the Hidden'.
One of his famous titles is 'Baqiyyatu Allah', meaning 'the One who has remained from Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala'. It is he who has remained from all of God's prophets and vicegerents on this earth. This title is also derived from the beautiful narration that states, that upon the reappearance Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, will stand next to the Ka'aba and recite the verse in the Holy Qur'an, chapter 11:86: "Baqiyyatu Allahi khairun lakum, in kuntum mu’mineen". Then he will say: "I am Baqiyyatu Allah and his vicegerent". Thereupon, every Muslim who will greet him will say: "As-salamu alayka ya Baqiyyatu Allah".
Number two: his supplications. This is a book called 'Divine Supplications', 'Safinat ul-Mahdi'. It is published by the Muhammadi Trust and has over 42 Dua's reported from the Awaited Saviour himself. Yes, indeed. You can recite supplications narrated from The Imam of Our Time. This includes supplications when in distress, when ill, and for example, dua's for Qunut in Salah. It's worthwhile getting a copy of this book and enriching our hearts with the beautiful words of a man who mastered the art of speaking to his Creator. The link is found below the video.
Number three: the grandmother. Whilst the beloved mother of Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, Narjis Khatun, is often remembered and known, not many recall his grandmother, Lady Hudayth. She was outstanding like all the mothers of the Imams. Yet, she protected the young Imam al-Mahdi in his first few years. Perhaps taking him from Samarra to Mecca, and was also the person whom Imam al-Askari, alayhi as-salam, entrusted to take care of the affairs of the Shi'a publicly, after the martyrdom of the 11th Imam. She is buried next to her husband and son. The 10th and the 11th Imams: al-Hadi and al-Askari in the shrine of Samarra, salamu Allahi alayha.
Number four: the Peacock of Paradise. One of the beautiful descriptions of Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, from the Holy Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, is: "al-Mahdi tawus Ahl Al-Jannah". Mahdi is the peacock of the people of Paradise. Now this points to the sheer beauty of the Imam in Paradise, and how he will stand out from the others. The narration actually goes on to describe how his face will be illuminating with light, demonstrating his status and position with Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala.
Number five: standing up when the title 'Al-Qa'im' is mentioned. It is common to see the followers of Ahl al-Bayt rising up to their feet when someone mentions the title of Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, and says "Al-Qa'im". Now in Arabic 'Al-Qa'im' means 'the one who rises'. Hence, the title could mean he will be the one who will raise the truth: Al-Haqq. Or will rise by the permission of Allah. Or that he will rise after a long occultation. Narrations from the Ahl Al-Bayt, alayhum as-salam, recommend standing in honour and respect of Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, when this title of his is mentioned. For example, when the famous poet Da'b al-Khiza'i mentioned the Holy 12th Imam, Imam al-Ridha', alayhi as-salam, stood up, placed his hand on his head and prayed for his reappearance. Although it's not obligatory, it is a sign of respect and reference.
Number six: his appearance. There are many narrations that point to how Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, actually looks like. Some indicate that he indeed resembles the Holy Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam. For example, Imam al-Baqir, alayhi as-salam, narrates from his father as saying that Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, once said on the mimbar: "From my progeny at the end of time, a man will appear, whose face is reddish white, whose chest is broad, with strong shoulders and two molds on his back: one with the color of his skin and the other like that of Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam". Now, according to a Hadith from Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Sadiq, alayhum as-salam, Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, will appear at an age of 40. It is likely, though, that the Imam will have a darker skin color as well, due to the fact that many of the previous Imams had mothers from Africa and a possibility that his beloved mother, Narjis, was also from Africa.
Number seven: does he have a wife and children? There are some who have latched on to some weak narrations and hadith to discuss the possible wives and children of Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam. Now these are considered weak and unreliable. The personal life of the Awaited Savior has not been disclosed or revealed to us and therefore anyone claiming to be related to the Imam, through marriage or children, should be rejected.
Number Eight: his residence. Although some narrations have pinpointed the residence of Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, to be places like Vi'tua , which is a place in Mecca, or for example, in some locations in Medina. His place of residence during the occultation is unknown. He is, however, on this earth. Narrations or suggestions linking him staying in a green island known as Al-Jazira al-Khadra' are also by enlarge, rejected by our scholars as weak and unreliable. However, we do know that Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi as-salam, residence after his reappearance will be Masjid Al-Sahlah in Kufa, Iraq. And his place of governance is likely to be Masjid Al-Kufa in the same city.
Number nine: his martyrdom. Since it's commonly accepted through the narrations that the Ahl Al-Bayt, alayhum as-salam, will either be killed or poisoned, we have narrations that Imam al-Mahdi, ajal Allahu Ta'ala farajahu ash-Sharif, will also attain martyrdom, Shahada. It is not established or reliable that the person who will kill him, would be a lady. However, traditions point to Imam al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, praying over his body after the return of Imam al-Husayn, alayhi as-salam, in the process known as Raj'ah, 'the return'.
Finally, number ten: Imam as-Sadiq, alayhi as-salam, wanted to serve him. In the narration, the sixth Holy Imam, alayhi as-salam, was asked "Hal walid al-Qa'im?", is the Awaited born? "Fa qal", he replied, "la, wa law adraqtuhu la khadamtuhu ayyama hayati. - No, but if I was alive during his time, I would have served him during my lifetime". Imagine the value, the tremendous benefit as well as the reward of doing things, good deeds in the name of Imam al-Mahdi, ajal Allahu Ta'ala farajah, and serving him.
This includes good deeds on his behalf, such as gifting Salah, donations, or Ziyara to him. Similarly, what pleases him, undoubtedly, is to reform ourselves for the better. Making sure we do what is obligatory, wajibat, and refrain from haram, prohibited acts. But also seek to serve others and positively await his reappearance.
May Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, hasten the reappearance of the Awaited Saviour and allow us to meet him, and serve him.
Allahumma kun li waliyyika al-Hujjat ibni al-Hasan, salawatuka 'alayhi wa 'ala aba'ih. Fi hadhihi as-sa'ah, wa fi kulli sa’ah. Waliyyan wa hafidhan, wa qa'idan, wa nasiran, wa daleelan, wa 'aynah, hatta tuskinahu ardhaka tau'a, wa tumattiahu fiha, tawilah. Bi Rahmatika ya Arham ar-Rahimeen. [Du'a al-Faraj].