Only one Muslim sect believes that he is not yet born and that he would be born in the future. It is clear from the books of both the sects that he has already taken birth and after sometime he went into occultation. He would reappear in the last age and lead Prophet Isa (a.s.) in prayers. There is no difference between the sects so far, but from here begins a falsification process by the Hanafite scholars. It is written in Durre Mukhtar that on his return, Isa (a.s.) will emulate (do Taqlid) of Abu Hanifah. It is a strange belief.
Anyway, Maulana Abdul Hai Lakhnavi presents its refutation in the preface of that book itself: “It is a matter unsupported by arguments.” In the same way, Suyuti has said that the prophecy that Isa (a.s.) will follow the four schools of thoughts is baseless. And how can it be possible that a prophet should follow a jurisprudent (Mujtahid)? Rather, he will act on the religion of Muhammad in conformity with the Shariah and Quran.
Mulla Ali Qari has also said that one of the stupid innovation of Hanafite scholars is that Khizr studied under Abu Hanifah for thirty years, first when he was alive and at his grave after he died. Mulla Ali Qari says that Khizr is the person regarding whom the Almighty has said in Surah Kahf that he had Divinely bestowed Knowledge (Ilme Ladunni). He had been a teacher of Moosa (a.s.). How can such a personality be a disciple of Abu Hanifah? And it is also false that Isa (a.s.) will descend and follow Abu Hanifah in religious law. Mulla Ali Qari says that Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is himself a jurisprudent, it is not permitted for him to emulate anyone.
Muhiyuddin Ibn Arabi has said that analogy is prohibited for the Imam of the Age (a.j.). Whatever he would command, would be on the basis of whatever the divinely appointed angels guide him to. In no case can it be allowed for him to emulate Abu Hanifah. Now there remains no need for me to refute such baseless claims of Hanafite scholars. I have been saved the trouble by the writings of Abdul Hai. But the people of justice may note how bigoted the Hanafite scholars are! They say whatever they like in praise of Abu Hanifah. How beautifully they raise the status of their ‘Imam’. O Hanafite brothers! Remember that following the truth is a great thing indeed. No one can remain a Muslim, if he does not follow the path of truth. I request my Hanafite brothers not to become blind to truth in their love for their ‘Imam’.
The following are the beliefs of Ahlul Sunnat with regard to the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.j.), and along with them are presented the objections of Shias against the concocted beliefs:
1. Ahlul Sunnat believe that Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is the divine Caliph appointed by the Almighty.1 The text is as follows: “The Almighty appointed the Qaim, a rightful Caliph.” This tradition is related by Abi Dawood. Then is the report of Ahmad in the same book. He will be the Caliph in the last age. Then Ali (a.s.) is reported to have said as mentioned on page 233 of Sunan Abi Dawood:
The Prophet’s saying is that: “Allah will send a man from my Ahlul Bayt who would fill the earth with justice, just as it is filled with inequity.”
The objection applicable to this belief is that according to Ahlul Sunnat, Caliphate depends on consensus and allegiance but there is no consensus of scholars and leaders for Imam Mahdi (a.j.). Thus, how can his Caliphate be correct from the principles of Ahlul Sunnat? The second objection is that according to Ahlul Sunnat, appointing of the Caliph and the Imam is obligatory on people and not on Allah. But the text of Sunan Abi Dawood says:
“Allah appointed Qaim as the rightful Caliph…”
This shows that Allah has considered the appointment of Caliph and Imam obligatory on Himself and not on the people. Thus, we realize that the appointment of Imam Mahdi (a.j.) was by the will of Allah and not by the selection of people. In such circumstances, the application of consensus and allegiance, for Caliphate is invalid.
2. If, according to Ahlul Sunnat, Caliphate and Imamate of Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is from Allah, why the Imamate of other Imams could not be from Allah? How can the Imamate of the 12th Imam be considered divinely appointed and the Imamate of the other eleven Imams from Ali al-Murtadha’ (a.s.) to Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) be considered the opposite? It is no secret that Shias follow only one principle. That is just as they consider the appointment of eleven Imams to be from Allah, the Imamate of Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is also considered to be from Allah.
Now we realize why Ahlul Sunnat believe in the opposite. It is so because by believing in the divine appointment of the eleven Imams (a.s.), the Caliphate of the three Caliphs would be rendered invalid.
3. According to most Sunni scholars, Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is the twelfth Imam. But the list of the Twelve Imams of Ahlul Sunnat includes the Caliphs of Bani Abbas and Bani Umayyah. Thus, there is no option but to make Imam Mahdi (a.j.) as the thirteenth Imam! Then how can Ahlul Sunnat say that Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is the twelfth Imam?
4. Some Ahlul Sunnat traditionists have believed Mahdi the Abbasid to be the promised Mahdi. But when did Isa (a.s.) pray behind Mahdi, the Abbasid, or followed him in any way?
5. The following tradition of Umar is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim: “The Messenger of Allah (S) did not have a Caliph.” But regarding Imam Mahdi (a.j.), often we see the word of Caliph. How can we relate this to the tradition of Umar?
6. According to Ahlul Sunnat, prophets are superior to the Holy Imams; then the prayer of Isa (a.s.) behind Imam Mahdi (a.j.) would be invalid.
7. If Isa (a.s.) prays behind Imam Mahdi (a.j.), it would imply that Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is superior to Isa (a.s.). But Ahlul Sunnat believe that the three Caliphs are not superior to Isa (a.s.). Then it is necessary that Imam Mahdi (a.j.) is superior or more than superior to the three Caliphs. But Ali al-Murtadha’ (a.s.) is superior to Imam Mahdi (a.j.). Then, it is obvious that Ali (a.s.) should be much more superior to the three Caliphs. But according to the belief of Ahlul Sunnat, Ali (a.s.) is considered inferior to the three Caliphs. What enigma is this? Ahlul Sunnat may themselves sort it out!
The fact is that many things of Ahlul Sunnat defy logic. And the specialty of their belief is that they include the progeny of Abbas in Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet. But from the aspect of the tradition of Two Heavy Things (Thaqalayn), it is necessary to remain attached to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Therefore, all Abbasids have to be obeyed obligatorily in affairs of religion.
In such circumstances, why do Ahlul Sunnat follow the four Imams: Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafei and Hanbal? They should follow the religion of Motasim, Mutawakkil, Haroon and Mamoon, most whom where Motazalite. Why do Ahlul Sunnat not follow the Motazalite school of thought? It is indeed true that once you follow a false principle, you will have to face thousands of invalid and concocted principles.
The writer actually wanted to end the discussion with the controversial points between the two sects, but here it seems necessary to discuss the following additional controversial matters between the two sects. The humble writer pleads the people of justice to read them with utmost attention.
- 1. Ref. Sawaiqul Mohreqa, Pg. 114.