The traditions that describe his standard/flag, its bearer, and what is written on it
Comprised of nine traditions
772. Al-Fitan1: Rushdain narrated to us, from ibn Lahī`a, from Abū Zur`a, from ibn Zarīr, from `Ammār b. Yāsir who said: “The standard-bearer of the Mahdī will be Shu`ayb b. Ṣāliḥ.”
It also mentions: Al-Walīd and Rushdain narrated to us, from ibn Lahī`a al-Kūfī, from Abū Zur`a, from ibn Zarīr, from `Ammār b. Yāsir who said: “When al-Sufyānī reaches Kūfa and kills the helpers of the family Muḥammad, the Mahdī will emerge and his flag-bearer will be Shu`ayb b. Ṣāliḥ.”
773. Al-Fitan2: Narrated to us al-Walīd and Rushdain, from ibn Lahī`a, from Ka`b b. `Alqama, from Sufyān al-Kalbī who said: “The standard-bearer of Mahdī will be a male—very young in age—with a scarcely grown yellow beard (al-Walīd did not mention yellow). If he fights against the mountains, he will shake them (al-Walīd said ‘he will break them down’) until ‘Īliyā descends.”
774. Al-Fitan3: Narrated to us Yaḥyā b. al-Yamān, from Sufyān al-Thaurī, from Abī Isḥāq, from Nauf al-Bikālī who said: “It is written on Mahdī’s flag: Allegiance is only for Allah (al-bay`atu li-llāh).”
775. Al-Bayān fī akhbāri Ṣāḥib al-Zamān4: Al-Ṭabarānī has recorded in al-Ausaṭ from ibn `Umar who said:
The Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him [and his family], held `Alī’s hand, [peace be on him], and said, “From his descendants will emerge a youth who will fill the earth with fairness and justice. When you see this, then it is necessary for you to look out for the Tamīmī youth. Surely, he will come from the East and he is the standard-bearer of the Mahdī.
776. Kamāl al-dīn5: It has been narrated that on the standard of the Mahdī is written: “Highness is only for Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He (al-raf`atu li-llāh `azza wa jal).”
777. Biḥār al-anwār6: From al-Sayyid `Alī b. `Abd al-Ḥamīd, through his chain of narrators to the Book of al-Faḍl b. Shādhān who said: “It has been narrated that on the standard of the Mahdī is written, ‘Listen and obey.’”
778. Al-`Arf al-wardī7: He (meaning al-Nu`aim) has also recorded from ibn Sīrīn that, “On the flag of the Mahdī is written, ‘Allegiance (al-bay`a) is only for Allah.’”
779. Al-Fitan8: Rushdain narrated to us, from ibn Lahī`a, from `Abd al-Raḥmān b. Sālim, from his father, from Abū Rūmān and Abū Thābit, from `Alī, may Allah be satisfied with him, that the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him [and his family], said: “A person from my Ahl al-Bait will emerge with nine flags— meaning from Mecca.”
780. Al-Fitan9: Yaḥyā al-Yamān narrated to us, from Qays, from `Abd-Allah b. Sharīk who said: “With the Mahdī is the victorious flag of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family. I wish I could meet him even if my ears, nose, and lips were chopped off.”
- 1. Al-Fitan, vol. 4, pp. 166 & 168; al-Burhān fī `alāmāt Mahdī ākhir al-zamān, chap. 7, p. 151, no. 19, and chap. 7, p. 152, no. 23, with the addition of “and he will defeat his followers” at its end; al-Malāḥim wa l-fitan, chap. 96, p. 53, and chap. 103, p. 55.
- 2. Al-Fitan, vol. 4, chap. “al-Rayāt al-sūd lil-Mahdī ba`d rāyāt Banī l-`Abbās,” p. 167, and, vol. 5, chap. “Ṣifat al-Mahdī . . .,” p. 196; al-Malāḥim wa l-fitan, chap. 98, pp. 53–54; al-Burhān fī `alāmāt Mahdī ākhir al-zamān, chap. 7, pp. 151–152, no. 21.
- 3. Al-Fitan, vol. 5, p. 191; Yanābī` al-mawadda, p. 435; al-Malāḥim wa l-fitan, chap. 141, sect. 1, p. 68.
- 4. Al-Burhān fī `alāmāt Mahdī ākhir al-zamān, chap. 7, pp. 150–151, no. 16; al-`Arf al-wardī (al-Ḥāwī lil-fatāwī), vol. 2, p. 130, citing al-Ṭabarānī’s al-Mu`jam al-ausaṭ; Majma` al-zawā’id, vol. 7, p. 318, with an addition in the beginning.
It is worth mentioning that youth does not indicate that he is young in age. This can be inferred using other mutawātir narrations. It either means that he will look like a youth in appearance—as it has been mentioned in some traditions that he will be young in appearance and will not become old with the passing of time and when he reappears, he will look young while the people will have thought that he would be old in age and appearance—or it refers to his chivalry, nobility, and generosity. The word youth (fitya) in some places of the Quran (e.g. 18:10 & 13) probably has also been interpreted like this.
The author of Lisān al-`Arab writes, “Al-Qutaybī says, ‘Youth does not mean young in age or an adolescent. Rather, it means a complete/perfect man . . .’ Al-Aswad b. Ya`far writes under the verse, ‘and two youths entered the prison with him’ (Quran 12:36), ‘It is likely that both of them were either young or old because they used to call the slaves as young.’ Al-Jauharī opines, ‘Youth means generosity and nobility. It is said, “He is a youth amongst the youths”’” (Lisān al-`Arab, vol. 15, p. 146, under the root of Fa-Ta-Ya)
- 5. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 57, p. 654, under no. 22; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 52, chap. 27, p. 324, no. 35.
- 6. Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 52, chap. 26, p. 305, no. 77.
- 7. Al-`Arf al-wardī (al-Ḥāwī lil-fatāwī), vol. 2, p. 150; al-Burhān fī `alāmāt Mahdī ākhir al-zamān, chap. 7, p. 152, no. 25; Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, p. 654, no. 22.
I say: There is no contradiction between these traditions—which seem to disagree agreement on what will be written on his standard/flag—because he has multiple standards/flags. This fact has been mentioned in the eighth narration of this chapter.
- 8. Al-Fitan, vol. 4, chap. “Al-Rayāt al-sūd lil-Mahdī ba`d rāyāt Banī l-`Abbās,” p. 166
- 9. Al-Fitan, vol. 5, p. 191; al-Burhān, chap. 7, p. 152, no. 24, with the difference that he said: “The velvet” instead of “the victorious”; al-`Arf al-wardī (al-Ḥāwī lil-fatāwī), vol. 2, p. 150.