Those informed about Islamic history, traditions, and narrations are certainly aware of the abundance of glad tidings narrated from the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, his holy progeny, peace be on them, and his companions regarding the reappearance of Imam Mahdī1, peace be on him, in the end of times (ākhir al-zamān) and the rise of the sun of his existence to dispel the darkness of ignorance, remove oppression and tyranny, spread the flags of justice, elevate the word of truth, and prevail over all religions even if the polytheists (mushrikīn) dislike it.
With the permission of Allah, he will free the world from the disgrace of worshipping anyone other than Allah. (He will) set aside shameful habits and morals, put an end to defective laws formulated by humans in accordance with their desires, destroy all things that create enmity and hatred, break the bonds of all forms of prejudice—whether they be tribal, familial, national, or otherwise—which lead to differences in the nation, create separations, and inflame the fires of civil unrest and disputes.
Through his reappearance, Allah will fulfill His Promise which He has pledged in His sayings:
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them successors on earth just as He made successors those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has approved for them, and He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange.2
And We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak on earth, and to make them the leaders, and to make them the heirs.3
Soon, the golden era will arrive during which no house will remain on the face of earth, but that in which Allah will enter the word of Islam and no village will exist, but that in which the testimony of there is no god except Allah will be called out every morning and evening.
Perhaps, some may claim that there exists no consensus amongst the Muslims on the issue (of the Mahdī) and their agreement on it is mere speculation. Obviously, such a claim is baseless, because many claimed to be the Mahdī in the first era of Islam and in the following ages in which people were still close to the time of the Holy Prophet Allah's blessings be on him and his family, his companions (ṣaḥāba) and the followers (tābi`īn), but we do not see any of the companions or the followers refuting the original concept of Mahdawiyya, but rather, they disputed the claims of the imposters on the basis of their characteristics and features.
Among those subjects that have been narrated to us and we don’t have any method of proving except by hearing them, there is no subject that we must have faith in which is more important than believing in the appearance of the Mahdī, may peace be on him.
This is because the glad-tidings that have been narrated concerning him are many and beyond the limit of tawātur. This is while the traditions about most of the beliefs of the Muslims have not reached such a state of tawātur. In fact, for some of these beliefs, one can only find a single tradition as support and yet, it is regarded as a definite fact.
Thus, how can a Muslim—who believes in what the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, has brought and conveyed—have doubts about the reappearance of Mahdī, peace be on him, despite the existence of such abundant traditions?
These traditions cannot be disputed because of the weakness of the chain of narrators in some of them or because of the odd concepts and improbability of the occurrence (of the events mentioned) in others. Surely, the weakness of the chain of narrators does not harm the other traditions which have highly authentic and reliable narrators and contents.
Otherwise, we will be forced to put aside all the correct traditions due to the presence of a few weak ones on the subject. Furthermore, their definitions are well known amongst the faithful and the (religious) leaders of the Muslims, great scholars, and the specialists in the science of traditions have narrated them. Besides, the weakness of the chain of narrators can cast doubt on the narration if the narration is not mutawātir. But, when a narration is mutawātir, the weakness of the chain is no longer a criterion for its reliability.
As for the improbability of the occurrence of some of the events mentioned in the narrations, we can answer: Improbability and oddness have no value in scientific matters—especially those related to the transmission of hadith. For, if this door is opened (i.e., if it is allowed to reject matters on grounds of improbability or oddness), it will become necessary to reject most of the true beliefs that have been established through the traditions of the Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, about which and about whose characteristics we have no means of gaining knowledge, except through divine texts.
For example, some of the features of the hereafter like the Bridge (Ṣirāṭ), the Weighing Scale (Mīzān), Heaven, Hell, etc. Indeed, even the polytheists (mushrikīn) of Mecca regarded the glad tidings of the Holy Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, about the domination of his religion and victory of his words, during the early period of proclamation (bi`tha) as improbable, (because) in those days Islam was confined only to the Messenger of Allah, Amīr al-Mu’minīn, and Khadija, peace be on them. They considered this news as ordinarily impossible. Hence, whenever he informed the (polytheists) about matters considered impossible under normal circumstances and apparent causes, they declared:
O you to whom the remembrance (dhikr) has been sent own! Verily, you are a mad man!4
But hardly a few days had passed, when Allah made His affairs (kalima) the highest while he degraded the affairs of the disbelievers. As a result, the Arabs submitted to him and Arab and non-Arab tyrants surrendered before Islam and the Muslims.
Furthermore, there is nothing about the Mahdī which is strange or amazing in comparison with the miracles narrated from the Prophets, peace be on them, and the Divine customs in the past nations. Things like giving life to the dead, curing the blind and the lepers, the miracles of the Prophets Abraham, Moses, etc., and their occultation’s (ghayba) from their people.
Thus, there is no reason to regard these mutawātir narrations as strange or improbable. Narrations which were narrated by people who were from different regions: Mecca, Medina, Kūfa, Baṣra, Baghdad, Riyy5, and Qum. Some were Shia, others Sunni, Ash’arī, and Mu`tazilī. Some belonged to the first era (of Islam), while others were from later times.
Furthermore, it was not possible for their narrators to come together in one congregation to fabricate them—because they lived in separate lands and times and had different religions and opinions. Moreover, the suggestion of fabrication regarding the majority of these traditions is extremely weak and unacceptable, as the narrators were famous for their reliability, were great scholars, and were the men of religion, piety and worship.
If we abandon these traditions (because of these inconvincible reasons), then, there will remain no reliable traditions from the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, and his Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, in all subjects of jurisprudence, beliefs, ethics, etc. Also, it will be necessary to discard the authentic traditions regarding this world as well as the hereafter, even though the rational Muslims and non-Muslims view these as the foundations of their beliefs.
The existence of improbable matters (which our opponents use against us) is what they themselves have no problems with and rely on in most of their traditions. They object to the Shias, without realizing the results of their stance, which in reality, cannot be accepted by any Muslim. God willing, we will explain this in more detail in the future.
The tawātur of these traditions has been clearly declared and the reappearance of Imam Mahdī, peace be on him, is famous amongst the Muslims and there is consensus among scholars regarding this matter. Highly esteemed Sunni scholars6 agree on this issue and their greatest narrators of hadith have narrated such traditions. Some of them are as follows: Aḥmad (b. Ḥanbal), Abī Dāwūd, ibn Māja,
al-Tirmidhī, al-Bukhārī, Muslim, al-Nisā’ī, al-Bayhaqī, al-Māwardī, al-Ṭabarānī, al-Sam`ānī, al-Rūyānī, al-`Abdarī, Ḥāfiẓ `Abd al-`Azīz al-`Ukbarī in his Tafsīr, ibn Qutayba in Gharīb al-ḥadīth, ibn al-Sarrī, ibn `Asākir, al-Dāraqutnī in Musnad Sayyidat al-Nisā’ al-`Ālamīn Fāṭimat al-Zahrā’, al-Kisā’ī in al-Mubtada’, al-Baghawī, ibn al-Athīr, ibn al-Daiba` al-Shaibānī, al-Ḥākim in al-Mustadrak, ibn `Abd al-Bir in al-Istī`āb, Ḥāfiẓ ibn Muṭīq, al-Far`ānī, al-Numayrī, al-Munāwī, ibn Shīrawayh al-Daylamī, Sibṭ b. al-Jauzī, al-Shāriḥ al-Mu`tazilī, ibn Ṣabbāgh al-Mālikī, al-Ḥimawī, ibn al-Maghāzilī al-Shāfi`ī, Muwaffaq b. Aḥmad al-Khāwrazmī, Muḥib al-Dīn al-Ṭabarī, al-Shablanjī, al-Ṣubbān, Shaykh Manṣūr `Ali Nāṣif, and others.
You should bear in mind that the appearance of the Mahdī, peace be on him, in the end of times is a subject about which many books, articles, and treatises have been written about; from the time of the eleventh Imam, al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him, until now. Rarely, can one locate a Shia scholar who has not written an exclusive book or an article or some special words on this subject. For the seekers of truth, reference to even a few of these would suffice.
This is in addition to the works of Sunni scholars on the issue like: Ḥāfiẓ Abu Nu`aim al-Aṣbahānī’s Ṣifat al-Mahdī and Manāqib al-Mahdī, Ḥāfiẓ al-Kanjī al-Shāfi`ī’s al-Bayān fi akhbār Ṣāḥib al-Zamān, Mullā `Ali al-Muttaqī’s al-Burhān fī `alāmāt Mahdī ākhir al-zamān, `Abbād b. Ya`qūb al-Rawājinī’s Akhbār al-Mahdī, Ḥāfiẓ Jalal al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī’s al-`Arf al-wardī fī akhbār al-Mahdī, ibn Ḥajar’s al-Qaul al-mukhtaṣar fī `alāmāt al-Mahdī al-Muntaẓar, Shaykh Jamāl al-Dīn Yūsuf b. Yaḥyā al-Dimashqī’s `Iqd al-durar fī akhbār al-Imām al-Muntaẓar, etc. Moreover, an independent book called al-Fawāṣim `an l-fitan al-qawāṣim has been mentioned in one of the biographies available in al-Sīrat al-ḥalabiyya.
The purpose of this book’s preface is to clarify for the readers the falsity of those who claim to be the Mahdī or another Imam, during the period of occultation, particularly in recent times. This is a great need of the Muslims today because the enemies of Islam are constantly on the lookout to grasp at any available opportunity to break up the Muslims and ignite the fire of differences and disputes among them in order to facilitate their imperialistic and colonialist desires and gain control over their countries and peoples.
By Allah, nothing disgraces the Muslims but their differences and disputes. The followers of falsehood and disbelief can never overpower the helpers of the truth and Islam, unless disagreements and internal feuds are incited amongst them.
One of the issues used by these wicked and corrupt powers to split the Muslims and engage them in internal disputes—instead of external defense—is that of the Mahdī, may our souls be sacrificed for him7. To achieve these goals in areas like Iran, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa, they dispatched foolish and power-hungry stooges, well known for their immorality, lack of sensibility and understanding, and vileness.
They were ignorant, or at least pretended to be so, regarding the contents of the traditions concerning his names, attributes, signs, symbols, effects, pure lineage, and noble ancestry which cannot be collectively found in any single individual, except the holy character of the twelfth Imam, Abū l-Qāsim al-Ḥujjat b. al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī b. Abū l-Ḥasan `Alī al-Hādī b. Abū Ja`far Muḥammad al-Jawād b. Abū l-Ḥasan `Alī al-Riḍā b. Abū l-Ḥasan Mūsā al-Kāẓim b. Abū `Abd-Allah Ja`far al-Ṣādiq b. Abū Ja`far Muḥammad al-Bāqir b. Abū l-Ḥasan `Alī Zain al-`Ābidīn b. Abū `Abd-Allah al-Ḥusayn, Sayyid al-Shuhadā, ibn Amīr al-Mu`minīn `Ali b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on them all.
He will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as it will be filled with unfairness and injustice. He will conquer the whole world and will turn Islam into a global religion—to such an extent that there will remain no one on the face of earth who will worship other than Allah. There will not remain a village, but that in which the testimony of ‘there is no god but Allah and Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah’ will echo in it. When he reappears, Gabriel (Jibra’īl) will call out his and his father’s name from the heavens. This call will be heard by the inhabitants of the East and the West.
He has attributes and signs—which God willing, we shall soon mention. These signs do not fit anybody but him, whosoever he may be, let alone the poor creatures who were arrested, jailed and lived in imprisonment until they were crucified. Their plans remained incomplete, whilst they couldn’t manage their own affairs—let alone others’.
Despite such clear explanations, some negligent people thought up fancy basis’ for their false claims. Perhaps, they have not seen what has been mentioned in the Holy Quran and the traditions about the Mahdī, may peace be on him, regarding the fact that he is a special person, whose lineage, ancestry, and attributes have no equivalent. Here, we have collected and reproduced traditions from reliable and authentic Shia and Sunni sources, so that no room remains for any doubts or questions whatsoever. Indeed, this will lead to great benefits and advantages.
Mentioning these traditions in this order and detail has other purposes and benefits. There is no harm in mentioning a few of them here:
The Shia belief regarding the existence of the Mahdī, peace be on him, during the occultation and after his emergence in the end of times, is neither an obstacle to the unity of the Muslims, nor a barrier to setting aside the differences which are damaging their majesty and might. This pure belief originates from the glad tidings (in these narrations) and is not contradictory to the principles of Islam or the explicit and clear guidelines of the Holy Quran and correct Sunna.
Rather, it is a belief that stems from faith in the Holy Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, who is the source of these prophecies. Therefore, it is necessary that the Sunnis deal with this subject as they do with any other issue in which their scholars have differences amongst themselves and investigate the truth like they do for other problems.
Eliminating Repetition: After browsing through early and also recent books on this subject which were available to me, I found many duplicate narrations. Most of the traditions are not related to a particular concept and cannot be included in a specific chapter. Since there are a number of concepts and meanings found in one tradition, the same tradition has been mentioned under different titles.
This is why duplicate narrations can be found in the books of both sects on the one hand and the truncation of traditions on the other. I have refrained from doing this by simply pointing to the traditions in the other chapters and also by mentioning their locations and numbers at the end of every chapter.
Knowing that most topics are mutawātir: We have already mentioned in the first volume, some of the traditions concerning the twelve Imams, may peace be on them, because of their significance regarding our discussion. God willing, we will now proceed to narrate the traditions concerning the Mahdī, peace be on him, his attributes, and his conditions from both sects. Investigating the traditions on this subject is beyond the aim and scope (of this book) and is not possible except for those who are experts in the sciences of tradition and the great scholars.
We have restricted ourselves to mentioning only the narrations which are relevant to the facts regarding that particular topic. By doing this, we will have fulfilled the purpose for which this book has been compiled for. Whoever desires more details should refer to the writings of other scholars.
This was the preface of this book in the first edition (which was published) more than forty years ago. Thank God, in this new edition, we have succeeded in compiling a complete volume about the traditions of the twelve Imams, peace be on them, and made it the first volume. We then revised the old edition until it turned into an almost new book and we included it in the current edition as the second and the third volumes.
The three volumes have been separated into eleven main chapters and ninety-four sections. We also succeeded in adding discussions based on narrations which are related to the subject of Imam Mahdī, peace be on him, and placed them at the end of the third volume.
We ask Allah, the Exalted, to make us successful in accomplishing the tasks that are the cause of His satisfaction, and to protect us from prejudice and recklessness, and to guide us to the path of truth and justice, and to make our actions purely for Him, and to reserve them for “the Day when neither wealth nor children will benefit anybody except the one who comes to Allah with a purified heart.”8
- 1. The author of al-Nihāya says: “Mahdī means the one whom Allah has guided towards the truth. (This name) has been used so much that it has become a common name. The Mahdī about whose appearance in the end of times (ākhir al-zamān), the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, has given glad tidings about, has also been given this name.” The author of Lisān al-`Arab writes: “Mahdī means the one whom Allah has guided towards the truth and it has been used for naming to the extent that it has become a popular name. The Mahdī about whose appearance in the end of times the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, has given glad tidings, has also been given this name.” The author of Tāj al-`arūs says: “Mahdī means the one whom Allah has guided towards the truth and it has been used for naming to the extent that it has become a popular name. The Mahdī— about whose appearance in the end of times glad tidings have been given—has also been given this name.” May Allah include us amongst his helpers.
- 2. Quran 24:55.
- 3. Quran 28:5.
- 4. Quran 15:6.
- 5. A region located south of present-day Tehran—Ed.
- 6. Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd remarks in Sharḥ nahj al-balāgha: “All Muslim sects agree that the world and human responsibility will not come to an end but after him” ([Egypt], vol. 2, p. 535). One of them has written in his marginal explanations on Ṣaḥiḥ Tirmidhī that Shaykh Abd al-Ḥaq has written in al-Luma`āt, “Traditions proclaiming that the Mahdī is from the Ahl al-Bait, from the children of Fāṭima, have passed the limits of tawātur” ([Delhi: 1342 AH] vol. 2, p. 46). Al-Ṣubbān writes in Is`āf al-rāghibīn, “Traditions from the Messenger of Allah concerning his reappearance, him being from his Ahl al-Bait, and that he will fill the earth with justice are mutawātir” ([Egypt: 1312], vol. 2, p. 140). Al-Shablanjī in Nūr al-abṣār notes: “Traditions from the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, concerning him being from his Ahl al-Bait and that he will fill the earth with justice, are mutawātir” ([Egypt: 1312 AH], p. 155). ibn Ḥajar writes in al-Ṣawā`iq: “Abu l-Ḥusayn al-Abrī says, ‘The traditions concerning his reappearance, him being from his Ahl al-Bait, his rule for seven years, him emerging along with Jesus—and the latter helping him in killing the Antichrist (al-Dajjāl) at the Door of Ludd in Palestine—that he will lead this nation, and Jesus will pray behind him, are mutawātir. A large number of their narrators have directly reported from Muṣṭafā, Allah's blessings be on him and his family’” ([Egypt: al-Maymaniyya], p. 99). Sayyid Aḥmad b. Sayyid Zainī Daḥlān, the Shāfi`ī jurist, notes in al-Futūḥāt al-Islāmiyya: “Traditions concerning the reappearance of the Mahdī are numerous and mutawātir. Some of them are correct (ṣaḥīḥ), others are acceptable (ḥasan), yet some others are weak (ḍa`īf), and these are the majority. But, the abundance of these traditions and abundance of their narrators strengthens the traditions to the extent that they reach the limit of certainty. What is certain is that his reappearance is inevitable, he is from the progeny of Fāṭima, and he will fill the earth with justice. Allāma Sayyid Muḥammad b. Rasūl al-Barzanjī also points this out at the end of al-Ishā`a. Determining a specific year for his reappearance is impossible because (that time) is a hidden (ghayb) knowledge which is not known to anyone except Allah and no clear evidence regarding the time of his reappearance has been mentioned in the texts” ([Egypt: 1323 AH], vol. 2, p. 211). Al-Suwaydī writes in Sabā’ik al-dhahab: “There is consensus among the scholars that the Mahdī is the one who will rise in the end of times and will fill the earth with justice. Traditions about him and his reappearance are numerous, but they will not be mentioned here because this book cannot accommodate them” (p. 78). ibn Khaldūn remarks in al-Muqaddama: “Know that it is well known amongst all Muslims that with the passing of time, inevitably in the end of times (ākhir al-zamān), a person from the Ahl al-Bait will appear who will make religion strong and will manifest justice. The Muslims will follow him and he will conquer the Islamic nations; he will be called the Mahdī” (p. 367). Shaykh Manṣūr `Alī Nāṣif records in Ghāyat al-ma’mūl: “It is famous amongst past and present scholars, that in the end of times a person from the Ahl al-Bait called the Mahdī will definitely appear. He will conquer the Islamic lands and the Muslims will follow him and he will act between them with justice and he will strengthen the religion. After him, the Dajjāl (Antichrist) will appear and Jesus, peace be on him, will descend. Then, Jesus will kill the Dajjāl or will assist the Mahdī in killing him. A group of the best companions (of the Messenger of Allah) have narrated the traditions concerning the Mahdī and the greatest of scholars like Abū-Dāwūd, al-Tirmidhī, ibn Māja, al-Ṭabarānī, Abu-Ya’lā al-Bazzār, Imam Aḥmad and Ḥākim, may Allah be satisfied with all of them, have recorded them. Indeed, whoever considers all the traditions about the Mahdī as weak, like ibn Khaldūn, has made a mistake” (vol. 5, Chap. 7: “Concerning the Caliph Mahdī, may Allah be pleased with him,” p. 362). He also says in vol. 5, p. 381: “From what has been mentioned above, it is clear that the Mahdī, the Awaited one (Muntaẓar) is from this nation and the Dajjāl will appear in the end of times and Jesus, peace be on him, will descend and kill him. All Sunnis—in the past and present—hold this belief.” He says in vol. 5, p. 382: “Al-Ḥāfiẓ writes in Fatḥ al-bārī, ‘Traditions stating that the Mahdī is from this nation, and that Jesus, peace be on him, will descend and pray behind him, are mutawātir.’ Al-Ḥāfiẓ mentions again, ‘It is true that Jesus, peace be on him, was taken up to the skies and is alive.’ Al-Shaukānī—in his article titled al-Tauḍīḥ fi tawātur mā jā’a fi l-Muntaẓar wa l-Dajjāl wa l-Masīḥ—states, ‘Twenty-nine traditions have been recorded concerning the descent of Jesus, peace be on him.’ Thereafter, he mentions them and writes, ‘All that we mentioned have reached the limit of tawātur and this is obvious for anyone who is well informed and he will acknowledge that the traditions concerning the awaited Mahdī are mutawātir, the traditions concerning the Antichrist (al-Dajjāl) are mutawātir, the traditions concerning the descent of Jesus, peace be on him, are mutawātir. These are enough for anyone who has a grain of faith and a speck of fairness; and Allah is the Highest and He knows the best.”
Al-Kanjī al-Shāfi`ī writes in al-Bayān (chap. 11): “Traditions concerning Mahdī are mutawātir and are spread far and wide because a large number of narrators have reported them from Muṣṭafā, may Allah’s blessings be on him and his family.” Aḥmad Amīn notes in al-Mahdī wa l-Mahdawiyya (p. 106): “I read an article called Ibrāz al-wahm al-maknūn min kalām ibn Khaldūn by Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣiddīq in refutation of ibn Khaldūn, in which he has weakened the sayings of the latter due to his rejection of the traditions concerning the Mahdī. He proceeds to prove their authenticity then remarks: “These have reached the limit of tawātur.’ He also mentions other narrations that have not been mentioned by ibn Khaldūn. In his rebuttal of ibn Khaldūn he writes: “Ibn Khaldūn says, ‘Only a small number of the traditions concerning the Mahdī can be deemed pure (correct).’ We openly ask him, ‘What will you do with these few traditions? Will not one believe in the few traditions except when they become popular or reach the level of tawātur? Never! This is not possible because no one holds such an opinion and none before or after him have held such a view.’ He also criticizes ibn Khaldūn for using singular traditions (ḥadīth āḥād) as supportive arguments in his history book—which themselves have only been mentioned from a single source, a source which itself has some issues. Concerning this approach, he contends, ‘Don’t you see that when the tradition is not in harmony with his desires he doesn’t accept it even if it is authentic?’ He then continues: ‘The traditions concerning the Mahdī are believed because they are correct (ṣaḥīḥ) and acceptable (ḥasan) traditions amongst them. Ibn Khaldūn is truly an innovator (mubtadi`) and innovators are of different kinds: Among them is the one who is regarded a disbeliever (kāfir) due to his innovation, like he who deems Allah to have a body/shape or denies Allah has knowledge about the details of things. Another, is the one who is not regarded a disbeliever (kāfir) due to his innovation; he is the one who fabricates inferior things. Ibn Khaldūn may be one of the latter. Regarding this, he has elaborated considerably. In his claim of falsity or weakness, Ibn Khaldūn has contradicted all those whom he has narrated from. For, he has narrated from a group of scholars who have recited poems proving the existence of the Mahdī. For instance:
Traditions about the Mahdī are abundant in report
So give a hand and come forward to support
Or, like the saying of al-Suyūṭī:
And what has been reported in numbers so high
Proves that they haven’t fabricated a lie
He has also mentioned in al-Mahdī wa l-Mahdawiyya (p. 110) that Abu-Ṭayyib b. Aḥmad b. Abī l-Ḥasan al-Ḥusaynī has refuted ibn Khaldūn in his article titled al-Idhā`a limā kāna wa mā yakūn bayna yaday al-sā`a and has regarded his opinions as mistakes. Ultimately, he deduces that the Mahdī will appear in the end of times and denying him is a great defiance and a grave mistake.
Al-Shāfi`ī’s view concerning the tawātur of these traditions has been mentioned in Kifāyat al-muwaḥḥidīn. In al-Burhān fi `alāmāt Mahdī ākhir al-zamān (chap. 13), the verdicts of four scholars from the four schools of thought (al-madhāhib al-arba`a) regarding the Mahdī have been mentioned; namely, Shaykh ibn Ḥajar al-Shāfi`ī—the author of al-Qaul al-mukhtaṣar—Abu l-Surūr Aḥmad b. Ḍiyā’ al-Ḥanafī, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Mālikī and Yaḥyā b. Muḥammad al-Ḥanbalī. Their verdicts speak about the validity and authenticity of the belief about the appearance of the Mahdī. They also mention that correct traditions have been narrated about him, his attributes, his appearance, and the unrests (fitnas) before his reappearance; like the emergence of al-Sufyānī, the khasaf (sinking in the ground), etc. Ibn Ḥajar has explicitly acknowledged that they are mutawātir and that he is from the Ahl al-Bait, he will conquer the east and the west (of the earth) and he will fill it with justice, and Jesus will pray behind him. He will kill al-Sufyānī, and the army which al-Sufyānī will dispatch to kill the Mahdī, will sink in the ground in al-Baydā’ (which is a place) between Mecca and Medina.
- 7. Dr. Aḥmad Amīn al-Miṣrī has published an article titled al-Mahdī wa l-mahdawiyya and refuted the traditions concerning the Mahdī by relying on poor reasons which are as follows: (1) Weakness of the traditions narrated about him, the answer of which you have already read, (2) Their contents run contrary to common sense. The reply to this objection is as follows: We do not see anything contrary to common sense in believing that a reformer will appear in the end of times who is from the Ahl al-Bait and a descendant of Fāṭimat al-Zahrā, who appears with the aforementioned attributes and signs to support the religion, make the souls perfect, purify the earth from polytheism and oppression, and free it from the hands of the oppressors and tyrants—even if there are some prophecies whose occurrences seem to be normally improbable and unusual. They do not harm in any way the other abundant traditions. Moreover, improbability and unlikeliness is not, and should not be a cause for refuting the narrations as we already elaborated, (3) The third argument which he relies on in most of his article, is the suggestion that the idea of Mahdī and Mahdawiyya in Islam has a long and saddening history due to the various revolutions and movements in the name of Mahdī which resulted in the weakening of many Islamic states. In order to support his view, he cites a few instances which he thinks are related to the concept of Mahdawiyya. These clearly expose his lack of information about the concept of Mahdī, his poor insight about the different sects, their origins, and doctrines.
It seems that he has not written this article to reach a historical conclusion; rather, he has written it either to split the Muslims and prevent them from fastening unto Islamic unity and the strong rope of Allah, or to support a few astray sects and corrupt views fabricated by the criminal hands of imperialism in the Islamic countries; because he has mentioned in it issues whose falsity is absolutely clear for those who have read the books, magazines, and histories of political sects. For his defense, he cannot bring the excuse of a lack of sources, because he was not responsible for writing this article in the first place, so that he may apologize for the confusion and blunders caused by him because of his desires. It was compulsory for him to stop and leave its writing to those who were worthy of it, (when you are incapable of a thing, leave it). Unfortunately, Aḥmad Amīn has paid no attention to this fact—just as he didn’t care if he deformed the face of religion and plunged the Islamic nation in doubt and skepticism. Perhaps, he and all those who follow in his footsteps and teachings, regard refuting realities, rejecting narrations, or twisting them to match their desires as an intelligent act.
Whatever the reason, the answer to his views is as follows: If what he suggests is the standard for distinguishing between truth and falsehood, then he should also refute all the accepted truths which are undeniable facts that he has no way of rejecting. Why doesn’t Aḥmad Amīn deny the Prophets because of the many revolutions started in their names, which were many more than those who were started in the name of the Mahdī? Or, can he deny the existence of Allah (God forbid), Mighty and Glorified be He, because most people worship other than Allah and enslave his servants? Or, can he refute the truth of justice and reformation, because most revolutionaries and reformists began their movements in the name of justice and reforms, even though they did not establish anything but evil and mischief, and did not pursue their goals except for greed and their worldly desires?
The truth is, in general, the cause of the success of these revolutionaries was the existence of people like Aḥmad Amīn who lacked sufficient knowledge about the concept of the Mahdī. They were ignorant about his signs and symbols which have been mentioned in the traditions. Worse, some of them have even put forward arguments frailer than a spider’s web to reject these traditions. They argue that the concept of Mahdawiyya leads to hopelessness and laziness, and prevents development and progress! I wish I knew the reason for this prejudice and turning away from reality, because they even went to the extent of denying the sayings of their Prophet, contradicting their leaders in traditions, history, and all other Islamic sciences, simply on the basis of these absurd arguments. Rather, the belief in the appearance of the Mahdī—as we will God willing show—gives energy, purifies the hearts, helps the followers’ to move towards developing ethics and morality, leads to the acquisition of virtues, merits, sciences and perfections, cleanses the souls from all filth and immoral qualities, and finally, arouses the understanding of the nation towards true responsibility.
- 8. Quran 26:89.