Proof of his birth, its circumstances, its history, some information about his mother, and her names, peace be on them both
Comprised of 426 traditions
786. Kitāb Faḍl b. Shādhān1: Narrated to us Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Ḥamza b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Ubaid-Allah b. al-`Abbās b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, Allah’s blessings be on him, who said:
(Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, said, “Indeed, the Guardian appointed by Allah (walī Allah), His Proof upon His servants, and my successor after me, has been born circumcised [from birth], at the dawn of Sha`bān 15, 255 AH. The first who washed (ghusl) him was Riḍwān—the caretaker of Paradise—while a group of archangels accompanied him. [They washed him] with the water of Kauthar and Salsabīl.
Then, my aunt, Ḥakīma bt. Muḥammad b. `Alī al-Riḍā, peace be on them washed him.” Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Ḥamza, may Allah be satisfied with him, enquired about his mother. He replied, “His mother is Malīka who is sometimes called Sūsan and sometimes Rayḥāna. Her other names are Ṣaiqal, and Narjis.”
787. Kamāl al-dīn2: Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. al-Walīd, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-`Aṭṭār, from Abū `Abd-Allah al-Ḥusayn b. Rizq-Allah, from Mūsā b. Muḥammad b. al-Qāsim b. Ḥamzat b. Mūsā b. Ja`far b. Muḥammad b. `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on them, from Ḥakīma, daughter of (Imam) Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Mūsā b. Ja`far b. Muḥammad b. `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on them, who said:
(Imam) Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, peace be on him, called for me and said, “O Aunt! Break your fast this evening with us because it is the evening of the 15th of Sha`bān and Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, will reveal His proof (ḥujja) tonight and he will be His proof on earth.” I asked, “Who is his mother?” He replied, “Narjis.” I exclaimed, “May Allah sacrifice me for you! But there is no sign [of pregnancy] in her!” He replied, “It will [occur] like I am informing you.”
[So] I went [to their house], said hello and sat down. [Narjis] came to take off my shoes and said to me, “How are you my master [and the master of my family]?” I replied, “No! You are my master and the master of my family.” She denied what I said and replied, “O aunt! What are you saying?” I said to her, “O my daughter! Surely, Allah, the Exalted, will soon grant you in this very night a son (who will be) a master in this world and the hereafter.” On hearing this, she expressed shyness. When I finished my `Ishā’ prayers, I broke my fast, went to bed and slept. In the depth of the night, I got up for the night prayers.
When I finished my night prayers, I saw Narjis fast asleep while there were no signs [of pregnancy] in her. I sat and performed the rituals/supplications (ta`qībāt) recommended after the prayers and then lied down. Then I got up again fearfully and she was still asleep. Then, she got up, prayed and went to sleep.
I went out to check if it was dawn yet [i.e. whether the time of prayers had arrived or not]. At the first break of dawn (al-fajr al-awwal), she was still fast asleep. At this juncture, I became slightly skeptical. Immediately, [Imam] Abū Muḥammad [al-`Askarī], peace be on him, cried out from where he was, “O Aunt! Don’t be in such a rush! Indeed the affair is near!” I sat down and began reciting the suras of Sajda and Yāsīn. While I was busy [reciting them], she woke up startled. I leapt towards her and said, “I seek Allah’s protection for you! Do you feel anything?” She replied, “Yes, O Aunt!” I said to her, “Be calm and hold your heart. This is what I had told you.”
Then suddenly I felt a weakness in myself and she felt a weakness in herself. I came to with the sound of my master [the Mahdī] and removed the cloth from over him. He was in a state of prostration and was touching the earth with the places [which touch the ground during] prostration. I embraced him and he was absolutely clean and immaculate. (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, called out to me, “O Aunt! Bring my son to me,” and I did. He placed his hands beneath his lower-back and back and put his feet on his chest. Then, he put his tongue in his mouth and caressed his eyes, ears, and joints.
He then said, “Speak, O my son!” He replied, “I testify that there is no god but Allah, He is One and has no partner. I testify that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family.” He then sent blessings on Amīr al-Mu’minīn and the Imams, peace be on them, until he reached his father. He then stopped and didn’t continue.
(Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, called out, “O Aunt! Take him to his mother so that he greets her and then bring him back to me.” I took him to her and he greeted her, then, I took him back [to his father] and put him on the ground. He said, “O Aunt! Come back to us on the seventh day.”
In the morning, I went to greet (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him. When I removed the curtain to see my master, I did not find him there. I said, “May I be sacrificed for you! What happened to my master?” He replied, “We have entrusted him to whom the mother of Moses entrusted her son, peace be on him.”
On the seventh day, I went [to them], greeted them, and sat down. He said, “Bring me my son.” I brought my master, peace be on him, while he was wrapped in a cloth. He did [with his son] what he had done earlier. Then, he put his tongue in his mouth as if he was feeding him milk or honey. He then said, “Speak, O my son!” He declared, “I testify that there is no god but Allah,” and he saluted and blessed Muḥammad, `Alī, Amīr al-Mu’minīn, and the infallible Imams, Allah’s blessings be on them all, and he paused [after] his father’s name. Then he recited,
“In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. And We intend to oblige those who have been rendered weak on earth and make them Imams and make them the inheritors. And to grant them power in the land, and show the Pharaoh and Haman and their armies what they feared.” 3
Mūsā (the narrator of this tradition), says, “I asked `Uqba, the servant, about this and he replied, ‘Ḥakīma has said the truth.’”
788. Kamāl al-dīn4: Narrated to us Muḥammad b. `Alī Mājīlawayh and Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-`Aṭṭār, may Allah be satisfied with them, from Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-`Aṭṭār, from al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī al-Nīsābūrī, from Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. `Abd-Allah b. Mūsā b. Ja`far, peace be on them, from al-Sayyārī, from Nasīm and Māriya who both said:
When the Master of the Time came out of his mother’s womb, he bent on his knees, raised both index fingers towards the sky, then sneezed and said, “All Praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Blessings of Allah be on Muḥammad and his family. The oppressors thought that Allah’s Proof has been destroyed. Had we been permitted to speak, all doubts would have been dispelled.
789. Kamāl al-dīn5: Muḥammad b. `Alī Mājīlawayh, Muḥammad b. Mūsā b. al-Mutawakkil, and Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-`Aṭṭār, may Allah be satisfied with them, narrated to us from Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-`Aṭṭār, from Isḥāq b. Riyāḥ al-Baṣrī, from Abū Ja`far al-`Amrī who said:
When the Master, peace be on him, was born, (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, said, “Send someone to Abū `Amr.” Someone was sent to him and when he came, [the Imam] said to him, “Buy ten thousand pounds (raṭl6) of bread and ten thousand pounds of meat and distribute it—I think he said among the Banī-Hāshim—and slaughter such and such number of sheep as his `aqīqa7.”
790. Kamāl al-dīn8: Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. `Iṣām, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Muḥammad b. Ya`qūb al-Kulainī, from `Alī b. Muḥammad who said: “The Master was born on Sha`bān 15, 255 AH.”
791. Al-Ghayba by Faḍl b. Shādhān9: Aḥmad b. Isḥāq b. `Abd-Allah al-Ash`arī, from (Imam) Abū Muḥammad b. `Alī al-`Askarī, peace be on him, who said:
All praise is for the One who did not take me from this world until He showed me the successor after me, who is the most similar of people to the Messenger of Allah in creation and morals. Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, will protect him in his occultation. Then, He will reveal him, and he will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as it will be filled with injustice and unfairness.
792. Kamāl al-dīn10: Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. `Iṣām, may Allah be satisfied with him, narrated to us from Muḥammad b. Ya`qūb al-Kulainī, from `Allān al-Rāzī who said: “Some of our companions informed me that when the spouse of (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, became pregnant, he said to her, ‘You will soon give birth to a boy; his name will be Muḥammad and he is the Qā’im after me.’”
793. Kamāl al-dīn11: Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm b. Isḥāq al-Ṭāliqānī, may Allah be satisfied with him, narrated to us from al-Ḥasan b. `Alī b. Zakariyyā at Madīnat al-Salām, from Abū `Abd-Allah Muḥammad b. Khalīlān, from his father, from his father, from his grandfather, from Ghiyāth b. Usaid who said:
I witnessed Muḥammad b. `Uthmān al-`Amrī, may Allah sanctify his soul, say, “When the successor, al-Mahdī, was born, a light radiated from his head to the outskirts of the sky. Then, he went down in prostration for his Lord, Exalted be His remembrance, then he raised his head while he was saying, ‘Allah testifies that there is no god but He and so do the angels and the possessors of knowledge who stand with justice. There is no god but He, the Invincible, the Wise. Verily, the religion [approved] by Allah is Islam.’12” [Muḥammad b. `Uthmān] said, “His birth occurred on a Friday.”
794. Kamāl al-dīn13: Narrated to us `Alī b. `Abd-Allah al-Warrāq, from Sa`d b. `Abd-Allah, from Mūsā b. Ja`far b. Wahb al-Baghdādī that a signed letter (tauqī`) came from (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, that read: “They thought that by killing me, they would destroy this generation; indeed Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, has refuted their saying and all praise is for Allah.”
795. Tārīkh al-A’imma14: From amongst the reasons that have been narrated from (Imam) al-Ḥasan b. `Alī al-`Askarī, peace be on him, at the time of the birth of M-U-Ḥ-A-M-M-A-D b. al-Ḥasan, is what has been narrated from him numerous times: “The oppressors thought they would kill me to eliminate this generation; how did they find the power of the All-Powerful?” And he named him the Hoped (al-Mu’ammal).
796. Kamāl al-dīn15: Narrated to us Muḥammad b. Mūsā al-Mutawakkil, may Allah be satisfied with him, from `Abd-Allah b. Ja`far al-Ḥimyarī, from Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-`Alawī, from Abū Ghānim, the servant, who said:
A boy was born to (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, and he named him Muḥammad. On the third day, he showed him to his companions, saying, “He is your master after me and my successor upon you. He is the Qā’im who will be desperately awaited. When the earth becomes filled with injustice and unfairness, he will emerge and will fill it with fairness and justice.”
797. Kamāl al-dīn16: Narrated to us Muḥammad b. `Alī Mājīlawayh, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-`Aṭṭār, from Abū `Alī al-Khayzarānī, from a slave girl whom he had gifted to (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, who had fled from Ja`far al-Kadhdhāb (the liar) when he had attacked the house and Abū `Alī (the narrator) had married her. Abū `Alī says:
She informed me that she had been present when the master was born and the name of the master’s mother is Ṣaqīl and Abū Muḥammad had informed her about the events that would befall his family. She had asked him to pray to Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, that He takes her life before him. She died while Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, was still alive. There is a tablet on her grave which says, “This is the grave of the mother of Muḥammad.”
I also heard this slave-maid mention that when the master, peace be on him, was born, she saw a light radiate from him towards the outskirts of the sky. She also saw white birds descend from the sky, caress his head, face, and, body with their wings and then soar again. When they had informed Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, about what they had witnessed, he had laughed and replied, “These were angels who had come to gain blessings from this newborn and they will be his helpers when he emerges.”
798. Kamāl al-dīn17: Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad b. al-Walīd, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Karkhī, from `Abd-Allah b. al-`Abbās al-`Alawī, from Abū l-Faḍl al-Ḥasan b. al-Ḥusayn al-`Alawī, who said: “I went to (Imam) Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, peace be on him, at Sāmarrā’ and congratulated him on the birth of his son, the Qā’im.”
799. Kamāl al-dīn18: Muḥammad b. Mūsā b. al-Mutawakkil, may Allah be satisfied with him, narrated to us from `Abd-Allah b. Ja`far al-Ḥimyarī, from Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm al-Kūfī that “(Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, sent meat from a slaughtered sheep to some people whom he named for me and said, ‘This is from the `aqīqa19 for my son Muḥammad, [Allah’s blessings and salutations be on him].’”
800. Kamāl al-dīn20: Muḥammad b. `Alī Mājīlawayh, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā al-`Aṭṭār, from al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī al-Nīsābūrī, from al-Ḥasan b. al-Mundhir, from Ḥamzat b. Abī l-Fatḥ who said:
He came to me one day and said, “I have good news! A son was born to Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, yesterday and he has ordered that this news be kept a secret. He also ordered that three hundred sheep be slaughtered as his aqīqa.” I asked him, “What’s his name?” He replied, “His name is Muḥammad and his epithet is Ja`far.”
801. Kamāl al-dīn21: Abū l-`Abbās Aḥmad b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Abd-Allah b. Mihrān al-Ābī al-Azdī al-`Arūzī at Marv, from Aḥmad b. al-Ḥasan b. Isḥāq al-Qummī who said:
When the righteous successor, peace be on him, was born, my grandfather Aḥmad b. Isḥāq received a letter from (Imam) Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, peace be on him, in his own handwriting—the [same handwriting with] which he had written all his other signed letters. It had been written in it, “A son of ours has been born. Let this fact be hidden with you and unknown to the general masses. For surely, we have not revealed this information about him to anyone except the closest of relatives because of their nearness and those who have accepted his Guardianship (wilāya). We wished to inform you so that Allah may make you joyful through him like He has made us rejoice through him. Wa al-salām.”
802. Kamāl al-dīn22: Abū Ṭālib al-Muẓaffar b. Ja`far b. al-Muẓaffar b. Ja`far b. Muḥammad b. `Abd-Allah b. Muḥammad b. `Umar b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on him, from Ja`far b. Muḥammad b. Mas`ūd, from Abū l-Naḍr Muḥammad b. Mas`ūd, from Ādam b. Muḥammad al-Balkhī, from `Alī b. al-Ḥasan [al-Ḥusayn] al-Daqqāq, from Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad al-`Alawī, from Nasīm the female servant of (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, who said:
I went to see the master of this affair, peace be on him, one night after his birth and sneezed in front of him. He said to me, “May Allah have mercy on you.” I became joyous at this remark. Then, he said to me, “Shall I give you good news about sneezing?” I replied in the affirmative. He said, “It delays death for three days.”
803. Kamāl al-dīn23: Through the same chain of narrators (i.e. the chain mentioned in the eighth tradition of this chapter) from Muḥammad b. `Uthmān al-`Amrī, who said: “The master was born circumcised. I heard Ḥakīma say, ‘Parturition blood was not seen in his mother and this is the custom of the mothers of all the Imams, peace be on them.’”
804. Ghaybat al-Shaykh24: Aḥmad b. `Alī al-Rāzī, from Muḥammad b. `Alī, from `Abd-Allah b. Muḥammad b. Khāqān al-Dihqān, from Abū Sulaimān Dāwūd b. Ghassān al-Baḥrānī who said:
I read out for Abū Sahl Ismā’īl b. `Alī al-Naubakhtī the birth of (Imam) Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. `Alī b. Muḥammad b. `Alī al-Riḍā b. Mūsā b. Ja`far al-Ṣādiq b. Muḥammad al-Bāqir b. `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, Allah’s blessings be on them all: “He was born in Sāmarrā’ in 256 AH. His mother was called Ṣaqīl and his epithet is Abū l-Qāsim—the same epithet as that of the Holy Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family—who had said, ‘His name will be my name and his epithet will be my epithet. His title is Mahdī and he is the Proof, the Awaited, and the Master of the Time.’”
Ismā’īl b. `Alī said, “I visited Imam Abū Muḥammad al-`Askarī, peace be on him, during his illness in which he passed away. I was with him when he said to his servant `Aqīd—who was a black Nubian slave who had earlier served Imam `Alī b. Muḥammad and had brought up Imam al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him—, “O `Aqīd! Boil some mastic gum for me in water.” He boiled it for him and then Ṣaqīl—the mother of the successor Imam, peace be on him—brought it for him. As he held the bowl in his hands and intended to drink, his hand started trembling and the bowl hit the teeth of Imam al-Ḥasan. So, he put it down from his hands and said to `Aqīd, “Go inside the house. You will see a child in prostration. Bring him to me.”
Ismā’īl b. `Alī said, `Aqīd said, “I entered [the house] to search for [the child], and lo! I saw a child in prostration. He had raised his index fingers towards the sky. I greeted him, due to which he shortened his prayers. I said, ‘My master has ordered you to come to him.’ At that very moment, his mother Ṣaqīl25 entered, held his hand, and took him to his father (Imam) al-Ḥasan, peace be on him.”
Abū Sahl continued, “When the child stood before his father, he greeted him and his color was like a pearl, his hair had short curls in them, and he had fissures between his teeth. When (Imam) al-Ḥasan, peace be on him, saw him, he started crying and said, ‘O master of his Ahl al-Bait! Give me water to drink because I am going to my Lord.’ The child took the bowl of boiled mastic gum in his hand.
He moved his lips and the child helped him drink. When he finished drinking, he said, ‘Prepare me for prayers.’ A scarf was spread in his room. The child helped him perform ablution, step by step and wiped (masaḥa) his head and feet.
Then, Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, said to him, ‘Receive good news, O my son! You are the Master of the Time, you are the Mahdī, you are Allah’s Proof upon His earth, you are my son and my heir, and I am your father. You are Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. `Alī b. Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Mūsā b. Ja`far b. Muḥammad b. `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib. The Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, is your ancestor and you are the last of the immaculate Imams.
The Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, has given glad-tidings about you and has named and mentioned your epithet in the [glad-tidings]. My father has taken a covenant from me on behalf of your pure forefathers. The blessings of Allah, our Lord be on the Ahl al-Bait. He is the Praiseworthy, the Majestic.’ Imam al-Ḥasan b. `Alī passed away at that moment; may Allah’s blessings be on them all.”
805. Ithbāt al-waṣiyya26: Al-Ḥimyarī, from Aḥmad b. Isḥāq who said:
I went to see (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, who asked me, “O Aḥmad! How were you feeling when the people were in doubt and skepticism?” I answered, “O my master! When the letter reached us with the news of our master and his birth, no man, woman, or child who had attained understanding remained from us except that he spoke the truth.” He continued, “Don’t you know that the earth will not become empty of Allah’s Proof?”
Then, (Imam) Abū Muḥammad ordered that his mother perform the Hajj in the year 259 AH and informed her about what will happen to him in the year 260 AH. Then, he called for the Master of the Time (Ṣāḥib al-Zamān) and willed to him. He handed over the Great Name (al-Ism al-A`ẓam), the inheritances, and the weapon to him. (Imam) Abū Muḥammad’s mother and the master set off for Mecca and Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Muṭahhar Abū `Alī was in charge of fulfilling their needs. When they had gone some distance on the way to Mecca, some Bedouin tribes met them and informed them of the intense fear and scarcity of water. Consequently, most of the people returned except those who were in the [Holy] Region; they went ahead and were safe.”
806. Al-Ghayba by Faḍl b. Shādhān27: Muḥammad b. `Abd al-Jabbār who said:
I said to my master (Imam) al-Ḥasan b. `Alī (al-`Askarī), peace be on him, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! May Allah sacrifice me for you! I would like to know who is the Imam and Proof of Allah upon His servants after you?” He, peace be on him, replied, “The Imam and the Proof of Allah after me is my son whose name and epithet is the same as that of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family. He is the last of Allah’s proofs and the last of His caliphs.”
I asked, “From whom will he be born?” He replied, “From the daughter of the son of the Caesar, the Emperor of Rome. Know that he will soon be born and will be concealed from the people in a long occultation. Then, he will appear and will kill the Antichrist (al-Dajjāl) and will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as it will be filled with injustice and unfairness. No one is allowed to say his name or epithet before his reappearance, Allah’s blessings be on him.”28
807. Kamāl al-dīn29: Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Ḥātim al-Naufalī, from Abū l-`Abbās Aḥmad b. `Īsā al-Washshā al-Baghdādī, from Aḥmad b. Ṭāhir al-Qummī, from Abū l-Ḥusayn Muḥammad b. Baḥr al-Shaibānī who said:
I entered Karbala in 286 AH and visited the grave of the lonely [grandson] of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family. Then, I left for Baghdad with the intention of visiting the graves of the Quraish [meaning the place where Imams Kāẓim and Javād, peace be on them, were buried] at a time when it was blazing hot and hot winds were blowing.
On my way—when I reached the shrine of al-Kāẓim, peace be on him—I inhaled the fresh air of his grave that was filled with mercy and surrounded with the gardens of forgiveness. I threw myself on it with tears flowing down unceasingly and non-stop sighs and moaning. My tears had concealed the vision of my eyes. When the flow of tears ceased and I stopped crying, I opened my eyes and saw an old man with a bent back and hunched shoulders who had callus on his forehead and palms.
He was saying to another person accompanying him at the grave, “O my nephew! Indeed, your uncle has been honored on account of the deep unseens (ghawāmiḍ al-ghuyūb) and privileged knowledge granted to him by the two masters. Such [knowledge] has not been given to anyone except Salmān.
Your uncles time is nearly up and his life is coming to an end but he has not found anyone from amongst the followers of wilāya [i.e. the Shias] to whom he could pass on his secrets.” I thought to myself, “Trouble and hardships have always afflicted you because you have always been in pursuit of knowledge.
Now your ears are being pounded by words from this old man that indicate immense knowledge [and you can seek knowledge from him without any affliction].” So I said, “O Shaykh! Who are these two masters?” He replied, “The Two stars concealed by soil in the land of Sāmarrā’.” I said, “I swear by the mastership and the revered position of these two masters of Imamate and inheritance, that I desire their knowledge and seek what they have left behind. I will try with utmost faith to conceal their secrets.”
He said, “If you are true in your speech, then come forth with what you have from what has been narrated from them.” When he examined the books and read through the narrations he said, “You speak the truth. I am Bishr b. Sulaimān al-Nakhkhās and a descendant of Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī. I am one of the servants of (Imams) Abū l-Ḥasan and Abū Muḥammad (al-`Askarī) and their neighbor in Sāmarrā.”
I said, “Please honor your brother by narrating some of the things that you have witnessed from them.” He said, “Our master Abū l-Ḥasan `Alī b. Muḥammad al-`Askarī, peace be on him, granted me deep knowledge about the [trade] of slaves and consequently, I never bought or sold any except with his permission.
Because of this, I kept away from ambiguous cases until my knowledge about it was complete. Thus, I excelled in differentiating between the permissible (ḥalāl) and the prohibited (ḥarām). One night, I was in my house at Sāmarrā’ and a part of the night had passed, when someone knocked on the door. I quickly ran [to the door] and saw Kāfūr, the servant, who had come as a messenger of our master, Abū l-Ḥasan `Alī b. Muḥammad, peace be on him, to invite me to [his house].
I put on my clothes and went to him. When I entered, I saw him speaking with his son Abū Muḥammad and his sister Ḥakīma from behind the curtain. When I sat down, he said, ‘O Bishr! Verily, you are from the descendants of the Anṣār. You possess [i.e. you have accepted our] guardianship (wilāya) and you inherit it one generation after another.
You are the reliable [people] for us Ahl al-Bait. Verily, I am going to increase your excellence and honor such that you will overtake the best of the Shias concerning [our] guardianship through a secret which I will tell you; and I will send you to purchase a slave-girl.’ Then, he wrote a letter in Roman handwriting and language and imprinted its seal with his ring. He brought out a yellow purse which contained two hundred and twenty dinars and said, ‘Take this and go to Baghdad.
Stand on the passageway of the Euphrates on so and so day after sunrise. When the boats of the captives are beside you and the slave-maids emerge from them, they will be encircled by groups of buyers representing the Abbasid leaders and by small groups of Iraqi youths. When you see this, keep a watch on a slave-trader by the name of `Umar b. Yazīd al-Nakhkhās 30 all day long from a distance. [He will] bring forth a slave-girl possessing such and such characteristics who is wearing two clothes made of pure silk and does not allow anyone to unveil or touch her.
Whoever attempts to see her will have to do so from behind a thin veil. The slave-trader will strike her and she will cry out and say something in Roman. Know that she is saying, “Woe for the ripping of my veil!” One of the buyers will say, “Give her to me for three hundred dinars because her chastity has increased my desire for her.”
She will say to him in Arabic, “Even if you appear in the dress of Solomon and sit on the throne of his kingdom, I will never be inclined towards you. Do not waste your money on me.” The slave-trader will plead, “What is the solution? I have no choice but to sell you.” The slave-girl will say “Why are you rushing? It is necessary that I select a buyer whose trustworthiness and religiousness appeases my heart.”
After this, go to `Umar b. Yazīd al-Nakhkhās and say to him, “I have a sealed letter with me written in the Roman language and handwriting of a noble man. He has described in it his munificence, loyalty, nobility, and generosity. Hand it over to her so that she may consider the moral qualities of its author. If she is inclined towards him and is satisfied with him, then I am his representative to purchase her from you.”’”
Bishr b. Sulaimān al-Nakhkhās continued, “I did everything as defined to me by my master (Imam) Abū l-Ḥasan, peace be on him, regarding the matter of the slave-girl. When she saw the letter, she started crying uncontrollably and said to `Umar b. Yazīd al-Nakhkhās, ‘Sell me to the writer of this letter.’ She then swore a solemn oath that if she was not sold to the writer of the letter, she would kill herself. Then, I started bargaining about her price until the amount reached the exact number of dinars given to me by my master, peace be on him, in the yellow purse.
He took the money from me and handed over the slave-girl who was very joyous and cheerful. I took her to the room I was staying in, in Baghdad. She was restless until she took out the letter of her master, peace be on him, from her pocket and started kissing it and placing it on her cheeks. She covered her eyes with it and rubbed it on her body.
I asked her out of amazement, ‘You are kissing a letter while you don’t even know its author?’ She said, ‘O weak and helpless regarding the stature of the descendants of the Prophets! Listen to me carefully and pay attention with your heart! I am Malīka, the daughter of Yashū`ā b. Caesar, the Emperor of Rome. My mother was from the descendants of the disciples (of Jesus) and related to his heir Simon (Sham`ūn). I will inform you of the strangest of things. My grandfather Caesar intended to marry me to his nephew when I was only thirteen years old.
So, he gathered in his palace three hundred men from the descendants of the disciples (al-ḥawāriyūn), priests (al-qissīsīn), and monks (al-ruhbān) along with seven hundred important people. Moreover, four thousand others from the commanders of the armed forces, military leaders, and tribal chiefs had also been invited.
He had placed a throne studded with precious stones on top of forty pillars in the guest room. When his nephew stood on top of it and was encircled with crosses and the bishops came forward with honor and the Bibles were opened, the crosses fell to the ground and the pillars crumbled and collapsed on the floor. The one who had mounted the throne fell down unconscious.
When the bishops saw this, the color of their faces changed and their shoulders started trembling. The archbishop said to my grandfather, “O Emperor! Please excuse us from this [task due to which] bad omens have become manifest because these are the signs of the demise of Christianity and the imperial religion.” My grandfather too considered it as a bad omen. He ordered the bishops, “Put up the pillars and raise the crosses.
Bring the brother of this unlucky ill-omened [prince] to be married to this girl [instead], so that he might convert his bad-omen to welfare.” When everything was prepared, the same thing happened again. The congregation broke up and my grandfather became very sad and went inside the palace and the curtains were brought down. That night, I dreamt that Jesus, Simon (Sham`ūn), and some of the disciples had gathered in my grandfather’s palace.
A pulpit was erected—which scraped the sky with elevation—in the royal palace in the same place where my grandfather had installed his throne. Soon after, Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, joined them accompanied by a young man and some of his descendants. Jesus came forward and embraced him.
Then [the Holy Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family] said, “O Spirit of Allah! I have come here to ask your heir Simon, for the hand of her daughter Malīka, in marriage for my son here.” He then pointed to Abū Muḥammad, the author of this letter. Jesus looked at Simon and said, “Great honor has come to you, bond with the messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family.” He responded, “I accept.” Then, Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, ascended the pulpit, delivered a sermon, and married me
[to Abū Muḥammad] while Jesus, the descendants of Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, and the disciples were witnessing this marriage. When I woke up from sleep, I feared narrating this dream to my father and grandfather lest they kill me. So I kept it a secret in my heart and did not reveal it to anyone.
The love for Abū Muḥammad had filled my heart to such an extent that I could not eat or drink anything. As a result, I became very weak; my body became frail and I became severely ill. No Roman city remained except that its doctors had been summoned by my grandfather to come and treat me. When despair overtook him, he said, “O apple of my eye! Is there anything you desire so that I can fulfill it in this world?”
I replied, “O grandfather! I see all the doors of relief locked on me. If punishment is removed from the Muslim captives in your prison, there are chains removed, and you oblige them by releasing them, I hope that Christ and his mother may grant me health and cure me.” When my grandfather did as I requested, I started putting on a little weight and ate a little food, which delighted my grandfather and he again honored the Muslim prisoners and showed munificence towards them.
After four nights, I dreamt that the Master of the Women [i.e. Fatima, peace be on her] had come to see me accompanied with Mary daughter of `Imrān and a thousand Heavenly maids. Mary said to me, “This is the Master of All Women, the mother of your husband, Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him.” On hearing this, I held her, started crying and complained to her that Abū Muḥammad was not coming to see me. The Master of all Women, peace be on her, replied, “My son Abū Muḥammad will not visit you whilst you associate others with Allah and are a Christian. My sister, Mary, too testifies before Allah, the Exalted, that she dislikes your religion.
If you desire the satisfaction of Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, the satisfaction of Christ and Maryam, and desire that Abū Muḥammad visits you, then say, ‘I testify that there is no God but Allah and I testify that Muḥammad—who is my father—is the Messenger of Allah.’ When I uttered these words, the Master of All Women hugged me to her chest and assured me by saying, “Now wait for Abū Muḥammad to visit you because I will send him to you.”
I woke up and cried out, “Oh, how much I desire to see Abū Muḥammad!” The following night, Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, came in my dream. I exclaimed, “O my beloved! You left me after you made my heart a prisoner of your love!” He replied, “Nothing kept me away from you except your polytheism. Since you accepted Islam, I will visit you every night until Allah brings us together evidently [i.e. while awake].” Until now, his visits to me have not ceased.’”
Al-Bishr continued, “I asked her, ‘How did you become a prisoner?’ She replied, ‘One night, Abū Muḥammad informed me that my grandfather would dispatch on so and so day, an army to fight against the Muslims and he will join them himself. [He told me] to join them disguised as a servant with the slave-maids who will accompany them and to take such and such path and I did accordingly.
The Muslim informers spotted us and thus, my situation is as you are seeing and witnessing. No one has found out that I am a Roman princess until now except you, and that too because I have informed you. An old man—in whose share I was given—asked me name and I hid my [real] name and said, “Narjis.” He said, “That is a name given to the slave-maids.”’”
Bishr continued, “I said, ‘Amazing! You are a Roman but are fluent in Arabic?’ She replied, ‘My grandfather loved me immensely. He desired to teach me lofty etiquette and hence he appointed a woman who was an interpreter to come to me. She would come in the morning and in the evening and would teach me Arabic. As a result, I learnt Arabic and became fluent in it.’”
Bishr said, “When I brought her to Sāmarrā’ and came to my master Abū l-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him, he asked her, ‘How did Allah, the Almighty, show you the might of Islam, the humiliation of Christianity, and the excellence of the Ahl al-Bait of Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him and his family?’ She replied, ‘O son of Allah’s Messenger! How can I describe for you what you know better than me?’ He said, ‘I intend to dignify you. Which do you prefer: Ten thousand dirhams or good news for you about eternal honor?’ She replied, ‘I desire good news.’
He, peace be on him, said, ‘I give you glad-tidings about a son who will rule the East and the West of the world and will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as it will be filled with unfairness and injustice.’ She asked, ‘From Who?’ He, peace be on him, replied, ‘From the one whom the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, asked your hand in marriage for, in such and such night, in such and such city, and in such and such Roman year?’ She replied, ‘[You mean] from Jesus and his successor.’
He said, ‘To whom did Jesus and his successor marry you to?’ She replied, ‘To your son, Abū Muḥammad.’ He said, ‘Can you recognize him?’ She responded, ‘Ever since I became a Muslim through his mother, the master of all women, he has been coming to me in my dreams every night.’
Then (Imam) Abū l-Ḥasan said, ‘O Kāfūr! Summon to me my sister Ḥakīma.’ When she came, he, peace be on him, said to her, ‘This is her.’ On hearing this, she hugged her for a long time and was very overjoyed. Our master advised her, ‘O daughter of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family! Take her to your house and teach her the obligatory acts and the customs [of Islam]; for, she is the wife of Abū Muḥammad and the mother of the Qā’im, peace be on them.’”
The following traditions—directly and indirectly—show the above concept: 1–309, 543–545, 547, 549–558, 560–571, 574, 575, 580, 581, 589, 590, 608, 612, 614, 808–862, 864, 866–870, 873, 878, and 881–899 .
These are in addition to the fact that the mutawātir and correct traditions that confine the Caliphs to the twelve Imams—our masters, peace be on them—and also the authentic and reliable traditions which state that the earth can never be empty of a Divine Proof, can only be true if our master, the Master of the Time, has been born.
- 1. Kifāyat al-muhtadī (al-Arba`īn), p. 116, no. 30; Kashf al-ḥaqq (al-Arba`īn), p. 24, no. 2, which mentions Ṣaqīl instead of Ṣaiqal and Ḥamzat b. al-Ḥasan instead of Ḥamzat b. al-Ḥusayn. In the rijāl books, al-Ḥasan has been recorded; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, p. 570, no. 683.
I say: Al-Nūrī, may Allah have mercy on him, writes in al-Najm al-thāqib: “The reason for the differences in the names of his revered mother becomes clear in this tradition: she was called by all of these five names.”
Faḍl b. Shādhān died after the birth of the Mahdī, peace be on him, and before the martyrdom of his father Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him (i.e. between 255 and 260 AH). Al-Najāshī says: “He was reliable (thiqa) and one of our jurists (fuqahā), and dialectical theologian (mutakallim). He enjoyed great reverence and majesty in the [Shia] sect. He is so reputable that it is not possible for us to describe him.” Al-Kashī has mentioned that he has written more than 150 books and even goes to mention the names of some of them. This demonstrates his proficiency in Islamic sciences and in what the people of the sects differ about, specially, the sciences of belief (`aqīda), monotheism (tauḥīd), Imamate, duties (farā’iḍ), and etc. Al-Ṭūsī has included him in his Rijāl amongst the companions of (Imam) al-Hādī on one occasion and (Imam) al-`Askarī on another—peace be on them. He writes: “Al-Faḍl b. Shādhān was a jurist, dialectical theologian (mutakallim), and had a majestic stature. He has written many books and treatises . . . From amongst his books are Kitāb al-malāḥim, Kitāb al-Qā’im, and Kitāb al-imāma.
Regarding Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Ḥamzat b. al-Ḥasan b. `Ubaid-Allah b. al-`Abbās b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on him, al-Najāshī writes, “Abū `Abd-Allah was reliable (thiqa), a fountain of traditions, and had correct beliefs. He has narrated traditions from (Imams) Abū l-Ḥasan and Abū Muḥammad, peace be on them, and he also had correspondences with them. The mother of the Owner of the Affair (ṣāḥib al-amr) stayed in his house after the death of (Imam) al-Ḥasan, peace be on him.
Imam Mahdī’s birth, peace be on him, took place on the night of Sha`bān 15, 255 AH, as is mentioned in this noble and authentic tradition. Al-Mufīd writes in al-Irshād, “The Imam after Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, was his son whose name was the same as that of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, and so was his epithet. His father did not leave behind a child other than him—evident or hidden. He was occult and concealed just as we mentioned earlier. His birth took place in the night of Sha`bān 15, 255 AH. His mother was called Narjis. He was five years old when his father died. At this tender age, Allah bestowed him with wisdom just as He granted it to John (Yaḥyā) when he was a child. He, the Exalted, made him an Imam in his apparent childhood just as He made Jesus a prophet when he was in the cradle. Narrations about him preceded him in the Islamic nation [which were narrated] from the Prophet of Guidance, peace be on him. The same were narrated from Amīr al-Mu’minīn `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on him. All the succeeding Imams gave news about him—one after the other—until [the time] of his father, (Imam) Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him. His revered father mentioned him in the presence of his reliable companions and special followers. The news of his occultation existed before his advent in this world and the prophecies about his government were abundant even before his occultation. Amongst the Imams of guidance, he is the possessor of the sword, peace be on them. He is the one who will rise with the truth and the one awaited [to establish] the government of [true] faith. Before his emergence, he will have two occultations. One will be longer than the other as has been mentioned in these traditions. The shorter one was from the time of his birth to the termination of ambassadorship between him and his Shias and the absence of emissaries because of death. The longer one was immediately after the first one and it will end when he rises with the sword . . .”
Al-Kulainī writes in al-Kāfī: “He, peace be on him, was born on Sha`bān 15, 255 AH.” This has also been narrated by al-Karājukī in Kanz al-fawā’id and al-Shahīd in al-Durūs. Al-Ṭūsī writes in Miṣbāḥ al-mutahajjid, “In this night was born the Successor [al-Ḥujja], the Master of the Affair, peace be on him. It is recommended to recite the following supplication in this night, ‘O Allah! For the sake of this night and the one who was born in it . . .’” Shaykh al-Bahā’ī says in Tauḍīḥ al-maqāṣid, “In it—meaning the 15th day of Sha`bān—Imam Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad al-Mahdī, the Master of the Era, was born at Sāmarrā’ in 255 AH.” Al-Ṭabrisī records in I`lām al-warā, “He was born in Sāmarrā’ in the night of Sha`bān 15, 255 AH.” Al-Ṭūsī, in both of his Miṣbāḥs, Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs in Iqbāl al-a`māl, all the compilers of supplication books—according to Biḥār al-anwār—and al-Mufīd in Masār al-Shī`a, have declared that he was born on the 15th of Sha`bān.
A group of celebrated Sunni scholars have also declared this fact. For example, ibn Ṣabbāgh al-Mālikī writes in Fuṣūl al-muhimma, “Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad al-Ḥujjat b. al-Ḥasan was born in Sāmarrā in the night of Sha`bān 15, 255 AH . . . his mother was called ‘Narjis, the best of the maids.’ Some have said she had another name.” Ibn Khalkān writes in Wafiyyāt al-a`yān, “His birth took place on Friday, Sha`bān 15, 255 AH. When his father—whom we mentioned earlier—died, he was five years old. His mother was called Khamṭ. She was also known as Narjis.” The author of Rauḍat al-ṣafā writes, “Imam Mahdī—whose name and epithet was the same as that of the Messenger [of Allah]—was born in Sāmarrā in the night of Sha`bān 15, 255 AH. He was five years old when his father passed away. Allah granted him wisdom in this small age just as He did to John (Yaḥyā) when he was a child and made him an Imam in childhood just as He made Jesus a prophet.” These facts have also been declared by al-Sayyid Muḥammad Khāja Pārsā—the author of Rauḍat al-aḥbāb—and others.
There is no harm in mentioning the statements of reputable Sunni scholars concerning his birth and mentioning their names. Indeed, most of them agree with us that he is currently alive and that he will continue to live until Allah, the Exalted, gives him permission to reappear:
Al-Shaykh, ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī al-Makkī al-Shāfi`ī (d. 974 AH) whom after speaking about Imam Abū Muḥammad al-`Askarī, peace be on him, in al-Ṣawā’iq, writes: “He did not leave behind a successor except his son Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad al-Ḥujja—whose age at the time of his father’s death was five—and Allah bestowed him with wisdom [at such a young age].”
The author of Rauḍat al-aḥbāb—which was originally written in Persian—the famous traditionist, Sayyid Jamāl al-dīn `Aṭā Allah b. Sayyid Ghiyāth al-dīn Faḍl Allah b. Sayyid `Abd al-Raḥmān. It has been narrated that al-Qāḍī Ḥusayn al-Diyārbakrī has considered this book as reliable in the beginning of his work Tārīkh al-khamīs. According to Kashf al-ẓunūn, it was written on the request of the vizier Mir `Alī Shīr after consulting his teacher and his cousin Sayyid Aṣīl al-dīn `Abd-Allah. It consists of three chapters in it. He passed away in the year one thousand AH as has been mentioned in this book. According to Kashf al-astār and al-Najm al-thāqib (in Persian), he says: “Most of the traditionists believe that the twelfth Imam—Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan, peace be on him—was born on Sha`bān 15, 255 AH at Sāmarrā . . . He was his mother’s only child and her name was Ṣaiqal, Sūsan, Narjis, or Ḥakīma. The respected and honorable Imam’s name and epithet are the same as that of the Best of the Creations [i.e. the Holy Prophet]. His titles are Mahdī al-Muntaẓar, al-Khalaf al-Ṣāliḥ, and Ṣāḥib al-Zamān. At the time of his revered father’s death, his age was five as per authentic reports. Other reports mention he was merely two years old. Allah, the Granter of bounties, granted him wisdom in childhood just as He gave John son of Zechariah (Yaḥyā b. Zakariyyā), peace be on them. He attained the lofty position of Imamate while still a child . . . [He them mentions his desire that the Mahdī’s occultation comes to an end and says,] May Allah bless the poet who said:
Come O guiding Imam
For, awaiting has passed the limits of sorrow
Remove the veil from your shinning face
The visage that is brilliant like the Sun
Come out from your place of hiding
And manifest the effects of benevolence and loyalty”
`Alī b. Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. `Abd-Allah al-Mālikī al-Makkī, known as ibn Ṣabbāgh, born in 734 AH and died in 855 AH—according to al-Ḍau’ al-lāmi` by Shams al-dīn Muḥammad b. `Abd al-Raḥmān al-Miṣrī, a disciple of ibn Ḥajar. In his book, al-Fuṣūl al-muhimma fī ma`rifat aḥwāl al-A’imma, he has spoken about his birth and its date. He has also stated that his mother was Narjis, the best of the maids, as we earlier mentioned. Moreover, he has talked about his lineage, the names of his forefathers, their conditions, sayings, and miracles and that he is the twelfth Imam. He has also recorded some traditions in this regard.
Shaykh Shams al-dīn Abū l-Muẓaffar Yūsuf b. Qazāwaghlī b. `Abd-Allah, the grandson of Shaykh Jamāl al-dīn Abū l-Faraj b. al-Jauzī (d. 654 AH), the author of al-Tārīkh al-kabīr about which ibn Khalikān has written, “I saw it and it was 40 volumes with his hand-writing and it was titled Mir`āt al-zamān.” The author of Tadhkira al-khawāṣ says, “He is Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. `Alī b. Muḥammad b. `Alī al-Riḍā b. Mūsā b. Ja`far b. Muḥammad b. `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on them, and his epithets are Abū `Abd-Allah and Abū l-Qāsim. He is the Successor (al-Khalaf), the Divine Proof (al-Ḥujja), Master of the Time (Ṣāḥib al-Zamān), the Riser (al-Qā’im), the awaited (al-Muntaẓar), al-Tālī, and the last Imam (Ākhir al-A’imma). `Abd al-`Azīz b. Maḥmūd b. al-Bazzāz informed us from ibn `Umar who said that the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, said, ‘A person from my descendants will emerge in the end of times. His name will be like my name and his epithet will be like my epithet. He will fill the earth with justice just as it will be filled with injustice; he is the Mahdī.’ This is a famous tradition. Abū Dāwūd and al-Zuhrī have recorded similar to it from `Alī. It says, ‘If only one day remains from the world, Allah will certainly send from my Ahl al-Bait one who will fill the earth with justice.’ He has been mentioned in numerous traditions and it said that he has two names: Muḥammad and Abū l-Qāsim. His mother was a female slave and she was called Ṣaiqal. Al-Suddī writes, ‘The Mahdī and Jesus will meet. When it is the time of the prayers, the Mahdī will say to Jesus, “Go ahead.” Jesus will reply, “You are more worthy of leading the prayers.” Then, Jesus will pray behind him as a follower (ma’mūm) . . .’”
Nūr al-Din `Abd al-Raḥmān b. Aḥmad b. Qiwām al-dīn al-Dashtī al-Jāmī al-Ḥanafī, the poet, mystic (`ārif), and author of Sharḥ al-kifāya. According to Kashf al-astār, he has mentioned in his book Shawāhid al-nubuwwa that al-Ḥujjat b. al-Ḥasan is the twelfth Imam. He then discusses the strange conditions of his birth and some of his miracles and that he is the one who will fill the earth with justice and fairness. Then, he mentions Ḥakīma’s narration concerning his birth and also other narrations which state that when he was born, he immediately knelt on his knees, raised his index finger towards the sky, sneezed, and then said, “All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” He has also recorded the narration about the person who came to (Imam) Abū Muḥammad (al-`Askarī), peace be on him, and enquired about his successor. He went inside his house and came out with a three year old child in his arms who was [shining] like the full moon. [The Imam] then told the enquirer, “O so and so! If you were not high esteemed before Allah, I would not have shown you this boy. His name is the name of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, and his epithet is his epithet. He is the one who will fill the earth with justice and fairness just as it will be filled with injustice and unfairness.” He has recorded yet another tradition about a man who came to (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, while there was a curtain in the room. He asked the Imam about the Master of the Affair after him. The Imam told him to raise the curtain . . . He has also mentioned the tradition about the person who was sent by al-Mu`taḍid . . .
Shaykh al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū `Abd-Allah Muḥammad b. Yūsuf b. Muḥammad al-Kanjī (d. 658 AH)—the author of al-Bayān fī akhbār Ṣāḥib al-Zamān and Kifāyat al-ṭālib fī manāqib Amīr al-Mu’minīn `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib. In the eighth chapter—from the chapters which he has added to the Faḍā’il chapters of Kifāyat al-ṭālib—after mentioning the Imams from the descendants of Amīr al-Mu’minīn, peace be on him, he writes, “He (meaning Imam `Alī al-Hādī, peace be on him) was succeeded by his son Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan who was born in Medina in the month of Rabī` al-Ākhir, 232 AH and passed away on Friday Rabī` al-Awwal 8, 260 AH, at the age of twenty eight. He was buried in his house in Sāmarrā’ in the same room that his father was buried. He was succeeded by his son who is the awaited Imam, Allah’s blessings be on him. We will end the book with a separate section about him.”
He writes in al-Bayān fī akhbār Ṣāḥib al-Zamān, “The twenty fifth chapter: the proofs about the possibility of the Mahdī’s survival—peace be on him—since his occultation until now and that there is nothing impossible about it because [others like] Jesus, Ilyās, and al-Khiḍr from amongst the friends of Allah, the Exalted, and al-Dajjāl and Iblīs, the cursed enemies of Allah, have survived . . . (to the end of his long statement in this chapter).”
Abū Bakr Aḥmad b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. `Abd-Allah b. Mūsā al-Bayhaqī al-Khusraujardī al-Nīsābūrī, the Shāfi`ī jurist (d. 458 AH). The author of Wafiyyāt al-a`yān writes about him: “The famous and great memorizer, unique in his era, outstanding amongst his companions in sciences, and amongst the greatest companions of al-Ḥākim . . . in this world, he was satisfied with little.” Imam al-Ḥaramain says about him, “There is no follower of al-Shāfi`ī but that they are indebted to Imam al-Shāfi`ī except Aḥmad al-Bayhaqī, for he has obliged al-Shāfi`ī.”
According to Kashf al-astār, al-Bayhaqī writes in Shu`ab al-īmān—which is enumerated amongst his writings according to b. Khalikān––“The people have differed about the Mahdī. Some have stopped at it and have left the matter to its knower. They believe that he is one of the descendants of Fāṭima, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family. Allah will create him whenever He wills and will send him to help His religion. Another group believes that the promised Mahdī was born on Friday, Sha`bān 15, 255 AH, and he is the Imam titled the Divine Proof (al-Ḥujja), the Riser (al-Qā’im), and the Awaited (al-Muntaẓar), Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī. He entered the cellar (sardāb) at Sāmarrā and is alive and concealed from the eyes of the people. He awaits his emergence and he will soon reappear and fill the earth with justice and fairness just as it will be filled with injustice and unfairness. There is no improbability in his longevity and the prolongation of his life just like Jesus, son of Mary, and al-Khiḍr, peace be on them. The Shias—specially the Imāmiyya—have such a belief and a group of ahl al-kashf also agree with them.”
By ahl al-kashf, he does not mean—as some scholars have suggested—al-Shaykh Muḥyī al-dīn, al-Sha`rānī and al-Shaykh Ḥasan al-`Irāqī, whom God willing, we will discuss later; because, al-Bayhaqī preceded them by many years. For instance, al-Bayhaqī expired in 458 AH whilst Shaykh Muḥyī al-dīn died in 638 AH as has been claimed by al-`Irāqī in the beginning of the first chapter of al-Yawāqīt. Likewise, al-Sha`rānī lived many centuries after al-Bayhaqī. He finished writing al-Yawāqīt in 955 AH. Al-`Irāqī and al-Khawwāṣ were contemporaries of al-Sha`rānī. Therefore, from what al-Bayhaqī has said, it is clear that he too is inclined towards this view about the Mahdī. In fact, he believes in it, otherwise he would have rejected it.
Shaykh Kamāl al-dīn Abū Sālim Muḥammad b. Ṭalḥa al-Shāfi`ī al-Qurashī al-Naṣībī (b. 582 AH), the author of al-`Iqd al-farīd. It has been written about him in Ṭabaqāt al-Shāfi`iyya, “He had profound knowledge about religion and excelled in it. He heard traditions at Nīsābūr from al-Mu’ayyid al-Ṭūsī and Zainab al-Sha`riyya and narrated (traditions) at Aleppo and Damascus. Al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Dimyāṭī and Majd al-dīn b. al-`Adīm have narrated from him. He was from the chiefs of the people and became a minister in Damascus for two days, but then deserted everything including his clothes, slaves, and etc. due to asceticism. Ibn Ṭalḥa passed away on Rajab 7, 652 AH.
According to Yanābī` al-mawadda, p. 410, ibn Ṭalḥa has written in his book al-Durr al-munaẓẓam, “Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, has a caliph who will emerge in the end of times whilst the earth will be filled with injustice and unfairness. He will fill it with justice and fairness . . . this is Imam al-Mahdī who will rise with the command of Allah and do away with all the religions, then, nothing will remain except the pure religion [of Allah] . . .”
In Maṭālib al-su’ūl fī manāqib āl al-Rasūl, which is a book in which he has mentioned the names of the twelve Imams, peace be on them, and discussed their lives. He writes, “The Eleventh chapter: Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, the Pure (al-Khāliṣ), born in 231 AH. As for his paternal and maternal lineage, his father was Abū l-Ḥasan `Alī al-Mutawakkil b. Muḥammad al-Qāni` b. `Alī al-Riḍā—whom we have already discussed earlier. His mother was called Sūsan. His name was al-Ḥasan, his epithet was Abū Muḥammad, and his title was the Pure (al-Khāliṣ). His virtues: know that the highest virtue and greatest merit for which Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, chose for him, made him exclusive in it, and rendered it a permanent attribute—the novelty of which cannot be worn out with the passage of time nor will the tongues forget to recite and repeat—is that the Mahdī from the generation of Muḥammad has been created from him, is his son that is attributed to him, and is a part of his existence which has been separated from him. God willing, we will discuss his virtues and the details of his life in the following chapter.
“The Twelfth chapter: Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Khāliṣ b. `Alī al-Mutawakkil b. Muḥammad al-Qāni` b. `Alī al-Riḍā b. Mūsā al-Kāẓim b. Ja`far al-Ṣādiq b. Muḥammad al-Bāqir b. `Alī Zain al-`Ābidīn b. al-Ḥusayn al-Zakī b. `Alī al-Murtaḍā Amīr al-Mu’minīn b. Abū Ṭālib, the Guided (al-Mahdī), the Divine Proof (al-Ḥujja), the Righteous Successor (al-Khalaf al-Ṣāliḥ), the Awaited One (al-Muntaẓar), peace be on them and Allah’s Mercy and His blessings.
“He [then writes a poem] and praises him greatly and mentions the date of his birth, his paternal and maternal lineage, and some of the traditions about the Mahdī which he narrates from Abū Dāwūd, al-Tirmidhī, al-Baghawī, Muslim, al-Bukhārī, and al-Tha`labī. He then mentions some questions about him and answers them.”
Al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū Muḥammad Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm b. Hāshim al-Ṭūsī al-Balādhurī, a resident of Ṭūs. It has been narrated in Kashf al-astār from al-Sam`ānī: “He was a memorizer, very understanding, and knowledgeable about the traditions . . . He was unique in his era in memorizing and preaching. He was great in socializing and was beneficial to most people. He mostly stayed in Nīsābūr where he had two congregations every week with the two teachers of the city, Abūl Ḥasan al-Muḥmī and Abū Naṣr al-`Abdī. Abū `Alī al-Ḥāfiẓ and our teachers used to attend his gatherings and were joyous of him mentioning the traditions in public. I never saw them taunting him about the chains of narrators or names or traditions [that he mentioned]. He wrote [narrations] at Mecca from the Imam of the Ahl al-Bait, Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. `Alī b. Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Mūsā al-Riḍā, peace be on them.
Abū l-Walīd—the jurist—writes, “Abū Muḥammad al-Balādhurī learned (sami`a) the Book of Jihād from Muḥammad b. Isḥāq, while his mother was ill in Ṭūs . . . al-Ḥākim writes, ‘He was martyred in Ṭāhirān in 339 AH and he was the learned scholar of his era.’” Shah Walī-Allah al-Dihlawī—the father of `Abd al-`Azīz famous as Shah Ṣāḥib—and the author of Tuḥfat al-Ithnā `Ashariyya fī l-raddi `Alā l-Imāmiyya, who has been described by his son like this: “The last of the mystics, the destroyer of the opposers, the chief of the muḥaddithīn, the authority of the dialectical theologians, the proof of Allah upon the worlds . . .” He writes in al-Nuzha, “My father has written in al-Musalsalāt—which is well known for its evident merits saying, ‘ibn `Aqla verbally gave me permission to narrate everything that he had permission to narrate. I found in his series of narrators (musalsalāt) a tradition whose narrators all possessed great attributes. He, may Allah have mercy on him, had written, ‘The unrivaled of his era, Shaykh Ḥasan b. `Alī al-`Ajamī informed me from the memorizer of his time, Jamaal al-dīn al-Bāhilī, from the trusted person of his time, Muḥammad al-Ḥijāzī, the preacher, from the Sufi of his time, Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhāb al-Sha`rānī, from the mujtahid of his era, Jalāl (al-dīn) al-Suyūṭī, from the memorizer of his era, Abū Nu`aim Riḍwān al-`Aqabī, from the reciter of his time, al-Shams Muḥammad b. al-Jazarī, from Imam Jamāl al-dīn Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Jamāl, the ascetic of his era, from Imam Muḥammad b. Mas`ūd, the traditionist of the Persian lands in his era, from our shaykh, Ismā`īl b. Muẓaffar al-Shīrazī, the learned one of his time, from `Abd al-Salām b. Abū l-Rabī` al-Ḥanafī, the traditionist of his time, from Abū Bakr `Abd-Allah b. Muḥammad b. Shābūr al-Qalānisī, the shaykh of his era, from `Abd al-`Azīz, from Muḥammad al-Ādamī, the Imam of his era, from Sulaimān b. Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. Sulaimān, the exceptional of his era, from Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Hāshim al-Balādhurī, the memorizer of his time, from M-U-Ḥ-A-M-M-A-D the son of al-Ḥasan b. `Alī the concealed, the Imam of his time, from al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, from his father, from his grandfather `Alī b. Mūsā al-Riḍā, peace be on them, from Mūsā al-Kāẓim, from Ja`far al-Ṣādiq, from Muḥammad al-Bāqir b. `Alī, from `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn Zain al-`Ābidīn al-Sajjād, from al-Ḥusayn, the chief of the martyrs, from `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, the chief of the successors, peace be on them, who said, “The Chief of the Prophets, Muḥammad b. `Abd-Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, informed me from Gabriel, the Chief of the Angels, from Allah, the Exalted, the chief of all chiefs, Who said, ‘Verily, I am Allah and there is no god but Me. Whoever confesses to My Oneness, enters My Fort, and whoever enters My Fort, is safe from My punishment.’”’” Al-Shams b. al-Jazarī says, “This tradition has come from a blessed chain of narrators and the responsibility of its authenticity lies on al-Balādhurī. The aforementioned Shāh Walī-Allah writes in his treatise al-Nawādir min ḥadīth sayyid al-awā’il wa l-awākhir, ‘The narration of M-U-Ḥ-A-M-M-A-D b. al-Ḥasan from his noble forefathers, whom the Shias believe to be the Mahdī: I have found in the Musalsalāt of al-Shaykh b. `Aqla al-Makkī, from al-Ḥasan al-`Ajamī, from Abū Ṭāhir who was the most capable of his time regarding the chain of narrators. He says, “Informed us the unique of his era, al-Shaykh Ḥasan b. `Alī al-`Ajamī . . . (to the end of what we already mentioned),”’ with slight differences in some of the titles and arrangements of names.”
It has been mentioned in al-Burhān `alā wujūd Ṣāḥib al-Zamān, after mentioning what we quoted from Kashf al-astār: “It has been written in Shaykh `Abd al-Raḥmān al-Jabratī al-Ḥanafī’s `Ajā’ib al-āthār (Egypt: 1301 AH) in the margins of ibn al-Athīr’s al-Kāmil, about the incidence of the month of Dhū l-Ḥijja in the year 1215 AH: ‘As for those who died in this year, worth mentioning is the virtuous and righteous Imam, the highly learned Shaykh, `Abd al-`Alīm b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Uthmān al-Mālikī al-Azharī al-Ḍarīr, who attended the lessons of al-Shaykh `Alī al-Ṣa`īdī in both topics of narrating (riwāya) and dirāya and learned (sami`a) from the Ṣaḥīḥs, al-Muwatta’, al-Shamā’il, al-Jāmi` al-ṣaghīr, and the Musalsalāt of ibn `Aqla. He has also narrated from al-Malwī, al-Jauharī, and al-Balīdī . . . Whenever Allah was mentioned, he cried excessively; tears came to his eyes quickly, and he was very God-fearing. Al-Suyūṭī writes in Risālat al-tadrīb, ‘The author of Sharḥ al-nukhba mentions that a musalsal tradition leads to certainty.’ Based on these facts, the statement of ibn al-Jazarī ‘The responsibility of its authenticity lies on al-Balādhurī’ is unfounded and baseless. This is in addition to what he heard from al-Sam`ānī in favor of al-Balādhurī, specially his saying, ‘I never saw them taunting him . . .’” Muḥaddith al-Nūrī has also mentioned this tradition in al-Najm al-thāqib.
Al-Qāḍī Faḍl b. Rūzbahān—the commentator of al-Tirmidhī’s al-Shamā’il and the author of the book, Ibṭāl nahj al-bāṭil fī radd kitāb kashf al-ḥaqq wa nahj al-ṣidq wa l-ṣawāb, which is a refutation of Ayatullah `Allāma al-Ḥillī’s Kashf al-ḥaqq wa nahj al-ṣidq wa l-ṣawāb. The former was refuted by the great martyr al-Qāḍī Nūr Allah b. Sharīf al-Mar`ashī al-Ḥusaynī—may Allah cover him with His Mercy—through his famous book Iḥqāq al-ḥaqq wa izhāq al-bāṭil. The book of Faḍl b. Rūzbahān was also refuted by a contemporary scholar in his book Dalā’il al-ṣidq.
Al-Qāḍī Faḍl b. Rūzbahān, under the fifth issue of the third section in the explanation of al-Ḥillī’s view (the second concept: Concerning his wife and children . . .) writes the following, “I say: What he has been narrated about the merits of Fāṭima—Allah’s blessings be upon her father, upon her, and upon all the family of Muḥammad and His salutations—is undeniable. For, denying the ocean’s mercy, the richness of the earth, the light of the sun, the manifestations of all lights, the generosity of the clouds, and the prostration of the angels, is a denial that will lead to nothing but increased mockery of the denier. [The same holds true for those] who refute a group who are on the right path, the keepers of the mine of Prophethood, and the protectors of the etiquette of chivalry, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon them all. How beautiful is the poem that I have composed about them:
Salutation upon al-Muṣṭafā al-Mujtabā
Salutation upon al-Sayyid al-Murtaḍā
Salutation upon our lady Fāṭima
Whom Allah has chosen as the Best of all women
Salutation upon the one whose breath is musk
Upon Ḥasan the brilliant, the satisfied
Salutation upon the God-fearing Ḥusayn
The martyr with his body at Karbala
Salutation upon the chief of the worshippers
`Alī b. al-Ḥusayn the chosen one
Salutation upon al-Bāqir the guided
Salutation upon al-Ṣādiq the followed
Salutation upon al-Kāẓim the tested
Content in nature, the Imam of the pious
Salutation upon the Eighth, the trusted
Upon al-Riḍā the chief of the pure ones
Salutation upon the pious, the God-fearer
Muḥammad the pure, the hoped one
Salutation upon the fragrant, al-Naqī
Upon the noble, the guide of the people
Salutation upon the Sayyid, al-`Askarī
The Imam who will mobilized the army of the pure ones
Salutation upon the Qā’im, the Awaited
Abū l-Qāsim, the saint, the light of guidance
He will rise like the sun in darkness
He will save with his un-sheathed sword
You will see the earth filled with his justice
As it will be filled with the injustice of transgressors
Salutation be upon him and his forefathers
And his helpers as long as the skies exist”
The famous scholar, Abū Muḥammad `Abd-Allah b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Khashshāb (d. 567 AH); According to Kashf al-astār, al-Najm al-thāqib, and A`yān al-Shī`a, he has narrated in his book Tārīkh mawālīd al-A’imma wa wafayātihim: “Through his chain of narrators from Abū Bakr Aḥmad b. Naṣr b. `Abd Allah b. al-Fatḥ al-Darrā` al-Naharawānī, from Ṣadaqat b. Mūsā, from his father, from al-Riḍā, peace be on him, who said, ‘The righteous successor is from the descendants of Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. `Alī and he is the Master of the Time and the Mahdī.’
“‘Al-Jarrāḥ b. Sufyān narrated to us, from Abū l-Qāsim Ṭāhir b. Hārūn b. Mūsā al-`Alawī, from his father Hārūn, from his father Mūsā, from his master Ja`far b. Muḥammad, peace be on him, who said, “The Righteous Successor (al-Khalaf al-Ṣāliḥ) is from my descendants and he is the Mahdī. His name is M-U-Ḥ-A-M-M-A-D and his epithet is Abū l-Qāsim. He will emerge in the end of times. His mother will be called Ṣaiqal . . .”’”
I say: His book Mawālīd al-A’imma has been published and is available.
Al-Shaykh Muḥyī al-dīn Abū `Abd Allah Muḥammad b. `Alī, known as ibn al-`Arabī al-Ḥātimī al-Ṭā’ī al-Andulusī (d. 638 AH)—according to what has been mentioned in Kashf al-ẓunūn. He was buried in Ṣāliḥiyya in Syria and his grave is famous and a place of visitation. Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhāb al-Sha`rānī has narrated from him in the sixty fifth chapter of al-Yawāqīt wa l-jawāhir ([Egypt: al-Maṭba`atu l-Azhariyyat al-Miṣriyya, 1307 AH], vol. 2, p. 145). He writes: “This is what al-Shaykh Muḥyī al-dīn has said in the 366th chapter of al-Futūḥāt, ‘Know that the emergence of the Mahdī, peace be on him, is inevitable but he will not emerge until the earth is full of injustice and unfairness and he will fill it with fairness and justice. If there remains from the world none but one day, Allah, the Exalted, will prolong that day until that caliph rules. He is from the progeny of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, and from the descendants of Fāṭima, may Allah have mercy on her. His ancestor is al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib and his father is al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, the son of Imam `Alī al-Naqī, the son of Muḥammad al-Taqī, the son of Imam `Alī al-Riḍā, the son of Imam Mūsā al-Kāẓim, the son of Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq, the son of Imam Muḥammad al-Bāqir, the son of Imam Zain al-`Ābidīn, the son of Imam al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, may Allah be satisfied with him. His name will be the same as that of the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family. The Muslims will pledge allegiance to him between the Rukn and the Maqām [in Mecca]. He will be like the Messenger of Allah, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, in creation and he will be slightly lower than the Messenger of Allah in morality because no one can be equal to him in this attribute. Allah, the Exalted, says, “And surely you are on a great morality” (Quran 68:4). He will have a wide forehead and an aquiline nose. The most fortunate of the people with respect to him will be the residents of Kūfa. He will distribute wealth equally and be just towards the citizens. A man will come to him and ask [for wealth] in a time that there is wealth before him. He will fill the man’s cloth with so much wealth that he will not be able to carry it . . .’” He then mentions his attributes, characteristics, and deeds. The learned teacher Shaykh Muḥammad al-Ṣubbān has recorded the exact same words from al-Futūḥāt in his book Is`āf al-rāghibīn ([Egypt: al-Maṭba’atu al-Maymaniyya, 1312 AH], chap. 2, p. 142).
I could not find this exact statement in what I observed in other copies [of al-Futūḥāt] like the copy published in Egypt by Dār al-Kutub al-`Arabiyya. Its wording differs with what is found in al-Yawāqīt. I feel that those who distort the words from their places have altered the book and erased the Imam’s noble lineage. Such distortions and alterations are commonplace in the books published in Egypt. By Allah, indeed, this is a great crime inflicted against knowledge, religion, the Islamic nation, and those who seek the truth. It seems that they consider it obligatory upon themselves to make such changes and distortions whenever they find in a book the virtues and merits of the Ahl al-Bait of the Prophet and his heirs and what doesn’t conform to their whims and desires. May Allah grant refuge to us and them from prejudice and obstinacy!
The following is part of a poem by Shaykh Muḥyī al-dīn in al-Futūḥāt, chap. 366:
He is the Chief, the Mahdī from the progeny of Aḥmad
He is the Indian sword when he destroys
He is the sun that dispels sorrows and darkness
He is like the monsoon rain that pours heavily when he bestows
Regarding the Mahdī and his ministers, some lines of poetry have also been narrated from him in Yanābī` al-mawadda, p. 467, citing his book `Unaqā al-maghrib
Al-Shaykh Sa`d al-dīn Muḥammad b. al-Mu’ayyid b. Abī l-Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad b. Ḥammawayh, known as Shaykh Sa`d al-dīn al-Ḥimawī. He has written a book exclusively about the Master of the Time (Ṣāḥib al-Zamān), which is in accordance with the beliefs of the Shias as has been narrated from `Abd al-Raḥmān al-Jāmī in Mir’āt al-asrār from the author of al-Maqṣad al-aqṣā. He has also narrated from the author of al-`Aqā’id al-Nasafiyya that the mentioned Sa`d al-dīn had declared the Imamate of the Mahdī and that he is the Master of the Time (Ṣāḥib al-Zamān), peace be on him, the last of the twelve heirs, and that there are no more than these twelve Imams. Allah, the Exalted, has made them His representatives in the religion of Muḥammad, and the Messenger of Allah was referring to them when he said, “The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets” and “The scholars of my nation are like the Israelite prophets.”
The author of Yanābī` al-mawadda writes on p. 474: “It has been written in the book of Shaykh `Azīz b. Muḥammad al-Nasafī, may Allah have mercy on him, “The Shaykh of the Shaykhs, Sa`d al-dīn al-Ḥimawī, says that ‘prior to our Prophet Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him, the word ‘guardian’ (walī) was not used in previous religions but the word ‘prophet’ (nabī) was used. All those who were close to Allah and were the inheritors of the bringers of [new] religions were called ‘prophets.’ In every religion, there was not more than one bringer of religion. Therefore, in the religion of Adam, peace be on him, there were some prophets who were his inheritors. They invited the people towards his religion and his sharia. The same was the case in the religions of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, peace be on them. With the advent of the new religion and sharia of Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, Allah, the Exalted, chose twelve people from his Ahl al-Bait and appointed them as his inheritors. He made them close to Himself and singled them out for his guardianship (wilāya). He appointed them as the representatives of Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, and his inheritors. The traditions, ‘The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets,’ and ‘The scholars of my nation are like the Israelite prophets,’ was said by him in their favor. The last successor—which is the last and twelfth representative—is the seal of the successors. His name is Mahdī, the Master of the Time. Shaykh says that there are no more than twelve successors in the world; but those 356 hidden people are not called successors (auliya’), rather, they are called substitutes (al-Abdāl).’”
I say: This can be found in al-Nasafī’s al-Insān al-kāmil ([Tehran], p. 319), with minor variations.
Abūl-Mawāhib al-Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhāb b. Aḥmad b. `Alī al-Sha`rānī (d. 973 AH [according to one place in Kashf al-ẓunūn; in another place 960 AH has been mentioned]) says in al-Yawāqīt wa l-jawāhir, ([Egypt: al-Maṭba`atu al-Azhariyyat al-Miṣriyya], vol. 2, p. 145): “The 65th chapter: All the ‘conditions of the Hour’ (ashrāt al-sā`a) which have been mentioned in the traditions, will inevitably occur before the Hour is established. Things like the emergence of the Mahdī . . . and he is from the descendants of Imam Ḥasan al-`Askarī, and his birth, peace be on him, took place on the night of Sha`bān 15, 255 AH, and he will remain until he unites with Jesus, son of Mary, peace be on him. Today—i.e. the year 958 AH—his age is 706 years. Shaykh Ḥasan al-`Irāqī who is buried at Egypt has informed me like this from Imam al-Mahdī when he met him. This has also been endorsed by our Shaykh, my master, `Alī al-Khawwāṣ, may Allah have mercy on them both.”
Al-Shaykh Ḥasan al-`Irāqī (the aforementioned). He has mentioned the Ḥujja and his meeting with him as has been narrated by al-Sha`rānī in Lawāqiḥ al-anwār fī ṭabaqāt al-akhyār ([Egypt: 1305 AH], vol. 2, p. 140). After narrating the journey of Ḥasan al-`Irāqī he has narrated from this book: “I asked the Mahdī about his age. He replied, ‘O my son! Today my age is 620 years.’ . . .” Al-Sha`rānī writes, “I mentioned this to my master `Alī al-Khawwāṣ and he agreed with him about the age of the Mahdī, may Allah have mercy on him.’”
The aforementioned Shaykh `Alī al-Khawwāṣ. He was called al-Khawwāṣ because he made crafts using palm-leaves. Al-Sha`rānī has greatly praised him in Lawāqiḥ al-anwār (vol. 2, pp. 151–170).
Ḥusayn b. Mu`īn al-dīn al-Maybudī. In his commentary on Imam `Alī’s Dīwān, peace be on him, under the poem which starts with the following line:
O my sons! When the Turks mobilize their armies then await
the rule of a Mahdī, who will rise and be just
He writes on p. 371, “I hope that the Almighty Lord illuminates my eyes by the precious kohl of the dust of his feet. May the sun of his great reality shine on the door and roof of our personalities. Indeed, this is not difficult for Allah.” On p. 123, he has declared his birth and its date.
Al-Ḥāfiẓ Muḥammad b. Muḥammad Maḥmūd al-Bukhārī, known as Khāja Pārsā who is one of the celebrated Ḥanafī scholars and one of the great Naqshbandī teachers. According to Kashf al-ẓunūn, he passed away in 822 AH. He writes in his book Faṣl al-khiṭāb: “The son of Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, M-U-Ḥ-A-M-M-A-D, was known to his father’s close companions and the trusted ones of his family. (He then mentions the narrative of al-Ḥakīma and the incident of al-Mu`taḍid and some of the signs of his reappearance, then he says,) Traditions in this regard are more than can be enumerated. The virtues of the Mahdī, the Master of the Time, who is hidden from the eyes and is present in every era, are numerous. There are many narrations that talk about his reappearance, the resplendence of his light, him renewing the sharia of Muḥammad, fighting in the way of Allah as it should be fought, cleaning all of earth from all impurities, his era is the era of the pious, his companions are free from skepticism and doubt, free from defects, they follow his guidance and his path, they receive the truth through him, through him caliphate and Imamate will end, he is the Imam since his father passed away until the Day of Judgment, and Jesus, peace be on him, will pray behind him and will confirm his claim and will call the people towards his religion which is the one brought by the Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family.”
Al-Nūrī has narrated this from him in Kashf al-astār. His statements about the birth of the Mahdī, his occultation, and concealment have also been narrated from him in Yanābī` al-mawadda (p. 451).
Al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū l-Fatḥ Muḥammad b. Abū l-Fawāris. In his al-Arba`īn—a copy of its manuscript is available in the Āstāne Quds library (Mashhad, Iran)—he has narrated the following tradition: “He who loves to meet Allah, Mighty and Majestic be He, while He is facing him, then he should accept the guardianship of `Alī to the last of the twelve.” At the end of his statement—according to what is recorded in this book—he says, “I was inclined towards their excellence and merits (meaning the Ahl al-Bait) after I moved along with the sects and understood them. The truth became clear for me and I recognized it. The path became obvious so I tread it with clear witnesses and authentic and evident traditions. I was informed of them by reliable, pious, and religious people. I have conveyed them just as they were narrated to me.”
Abū l-Majd `Abd al-Ḥaqq al-Dihlawī al-Bukhārī who authored many books. It has been narrated that his books were in excess of one hundred volumes. He passed away in 1052 AH. According to Kashf al-astār, he has written in his treatise about the Imams and their virtues, peace be on them, “The son of Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī [is called] M-U-Ḥ-A-M-M-A-D who was known to his special and trusted companions.” Thereafter, he mentions the story of his birth in Persian.
According to Yanābī` al-mawadda (p. 472) and the sixth session of Majālis al-mu’minīn, Al-Shaykh Aḥmad al-Jāmī al-Nāmiqī has composed the following poem (in Persian):
Because of Ḥaidar’s love, every moment, I feel serenity in my heart
After Ḥaidar, al-Ḥasan is our Imam and guide
Like a dog, I am lying in his court
The dust on al-Ḥusayn’s shoe is the kohl of my eyes
The Worshipper is my crown and al-Bāqir the light of my eyes
Al-Ja`far’s religion is the truth and al-Mūsā’s religion should be followed
O Servants! Hear the characteristics of the King of Khurāsān
A speck of his grave’s dust cures the ill and needy
O Muslims! Al-Taqī is the leader of the faithful
You love al-Naqī and everyone else should too
Al-`Askarī is the light of the eyes of all men and creatures
Where can anyone find a commander like the Mahdī
The Poets compose for the hope of acquiring gold and silver
Aḥmad al-Jāmī is the special servant of the King of the Guardians
Al-Shaykh Farīd al-dīn Muḥammad al-`Aṭṭār al-Nīsābūrī, who—according to Majālis al-mu’minīn—was killed in 627 or 589 AH. According to Yanābī` al-mawadda (p. 473), he composed the following poem in his book Muẓhir al-ṣifāt:
In the world, Muṣṭafā is the seal of the Prophets
Murtaḍā is obviously the seal of the successors
All of Ḥaidar’s children are successors
They are all one light, as the Lord has said
After mentioning the names of the Imams he continues:
There are hundreds of thousands of saints on earth
Who are definitely asking Allah for the Mahdī
O Lord! Bring the Mahdī out of occultation
So that the world of justice becomes manifest
Mahdī the guider, is the crown of the pious
The best of the creations and the tower of the saints
O seal of the successors of this era!
You are hidden from everything, O spirit of our lives!
O both manifest and hidden!
Your servant, al-`Aṭṭār, has come to praise you
Jalāl al-dīn Muḥammad al-Balkhī al-Rūmī, the famous mystic, better known as al-Maulawī (d. 672). According to Yanābī` al-mawadda (p. 473), he has composed in his large Dīwān—which is arranged in alphabetical order—the following poem:
O lord of the men, `Alī, the joyous salute you
O lion of the men, `Alī, the men salute you
. . . (to where he says)
Tell the killer of the infidels, tell religion and the religious
Tell Ḥaidar, the continuous attacker, that the joyous salute him
Tell the Durj of the two jewels, tell the constellation of the two stars
Tell Shabbar and Shabīr that the joyous salute them
Tell the ornament of religion, the worshipper, tell the light of religion, al-Bāqir
Tell Ja`far al-Ṣādiq that the joyous salute them
Tell Mūsā al-Kāẓim, tell the one from al-Ṭūs
Tell al-Taqī, the riser, that the joyous salute them
Tell the prince of religion, al-Hādī, tell the guided one, al-`Askarī,
Tell the successor, al-Mahdī, that the joyous salute them
Shaykh Ṣalāḥ al-dīn al-Ṣafadī (d. 764 AH), who knew the secrets of the alphabet. According to Yanābī` al-mawadda, he has said in his book Sharḥ al-dā’ira, “The promised Mahdī is the twelfth Imam from the Imams; the first of whom is our master `Alī and the last of them who is the Mahdī, may Allah be satisfied with all of them.”
Al-Maulawī `Alī Akbar b. Asad-Allah al-Mu’ūdī, who is one of the more recent Indian scholars. According to Kashf al-astār (p. 80) and Istiqṣā al-afḥām (p. 98), in his book al-Mukāshifāt—which he wrote in the margins of `Abd al-Raḥmān al-Jāmī’s Nafaḥāt al-uns—he has explicitly stated in the forty-fifth chapter, the Imamate and infallibility of al-Ḥujjat b. al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī and his forefathers to Amīr al-Mu’minīn `Alī. He states that the Mahdī was the pole (quṭb) [of the mystics] after his father al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on them, who too was a quṭb after his father—proceeding in this manner to Imam `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib. Moreover, he was concealed from the eyes of the ordinary people as well as the elite except for the very, very special ones. He then speaks about the infallibility of the twelve Imams.
Shaykh `Abd al-Raḥmān the author of Mir`āt al-asrār, who was one of the greatest Ṣūfī shaykhs. Shāh Walī-Allah al-Hindī al-Dihlawī—the father of Shāh `Abd al-`Azīz, the author of Tuḥfat al-Ithnā `Ashariyya—has narrated from him. According to al-Najm al-thāqib and Kashf al-astār, he has written the following in Mir`āt al-asrār: “The Sun of religion and governance, the guide of the entire nation, the successor of Aḥmad, and the true Imam, Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-Mahdī, may Allah be satisfied with him, is the twelfth Imam from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bait. His mother was a female slave and was called Narjis. His birth took place on the night of Friday, Sha`bān 15, 255 AH . . . His name and epithet is like that of the Messenger [of Allah]. His titles are: Mahdī, Ḥujja, Qā’im, Muntaẓar, Ṣāḥib al-Zamān, and Khātam Ithnā `Ashar. He was five when his father Imam Ḥasan al-`Askarī passed away and he was appointed as an Imam [at this young age], just as Allah, the Exalted, granted wisdom to John (Yaḥyā), son of Zachariah, in childhood, and gave high stature to Jesus while he was an infant. He became an Imam at a young age and his miracles are more than can be mentioned here. (He then mentions what the aforementioned Shaykh Muḥyī al-dīn al-`Arabī has said, then continues,) Our master `Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī was a well-experienced Ṣūfī who followed the Shāfi`ī sect. He has written about the birth and occultation of Imam Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him, in great detail in his book Shawāhid al-nubuwwa. He has extensively narrated from the Imams of the Ahl al-Bait and the authors of biographies. The author of Maqṣadi aqṣā writes, ‘Shaykh Sa`d al-dīn al-Ḥimawī—the successor of Najm al-dīn—has written a book about Imam Mahdī and has spoken about a lot of related subjects to such an extent that no other creation can write [such a book]. When he reappears, absolute guardianship will become manifest and the differences between sects, unfairness, and evil will be completely uprooted—like it has been mentioned in prophetic traditions about his characteristics. These traditions state that the Mahdī will reappear in the end of times and will cleanse every corner of the earth from injustice and unfairness. Then, only one religion will remain. If the Antichrist (al-Dajjāl), the evil-doer, can be alive and hidden, Jesus, peace be on him, can be born and concealed from the people, then it is no surprise if the son of the Holy Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, Imam Muḥammad Mahdī b. Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him, is too covered from the eyes of the masses, and like Jesus and the Antichrist, will reappear on Allah’s Command. It is not strange that some great scholars have denied some concepts related to Mahdawiyya. It is wrong to deny these facts out of sheer prejudice.
Some of al-Sha`rānī’s teachers; According to Yanābī` al-mawadda (p. 470): “Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhāb al-Sha`rānī has written in his book al-Anwār al-qudsiyya, ‘Some of our teachers have acknowledged that “We pledged allegiance to Imam al-Mahdī in Damascus and stayed with him for seven days.” Shaykh `Abd al-Laṭīf al-Ḥalabī said to me in the year 1273 AH, “My father, Shaykh Ibrāhīm, may Allah have mercy on him, said ‘I heard from some Egyptian Ṣūfī saints that they pledged allegiance to Imam Mahdī.’”’”
The lord of the scholars, al-Qāḍī Shihāb al-dīn b. Shams al-dīn al-Daulatābādī (d. 849 AH), the author of Manāqib al-sādāt and the Tafsīr al-Bahr al-mawwāj—both in Persian—and al-Manāqib al-mausūm bi hidāyat al-su`adā. According to al-Najm al-thāqib and Kashf al-astār, in the latter, he has clearly declared the Imamate of the twelve Imams and their names. He has narrated the Tradition of the Tablet (ḥadīth lauḥ) and has said about al-Ḥujjat b. al-Ḥasan, peace be on him, “He is in occultation and has a long life like Jesus, Ilyās, and al-Khiḍr from amongst the believers and al-Dajjāl and al-Sāmirī from amongst the infidels.”
I say: Refer to al-Hidāya, the second manifestation from the thirteenth guidance.
Shaykh Sulaimān b. Shaykh Ibrāhīm, known as Khāja Kalān al-Ḥusaynī al-Balkhī al-Qundūzī (d. 1294 AH), the author of Yanābī` al-mawadda. He has mentioned in a number of places of this book, Imam Mahdī’s life, his miracles, his birth date, his lineage, and some of the traditions that are related to him. After mentioning the views about the date of his birth, he writes on page 452, “The news regarded obvious and verified by reliable scholars, is that the Qā’im, peace be on him, was born on Friday night, Sha`bān 15, 255 AH in Sāmarrā . . .”
Shaykh `Āmir b. `Āmir al-Baṣrī, the composer of al-Qaṣīdat al-Tā’iyya or Dhāt al-anwār, comprised of twelve [sections called] lights, concerning knowledge, judgment, secrets, and etiquette. According to Kashf al-astār, he has written in the ninth light—which is about the recognition of the Master of the Time and his reappearance—a poem which starts with the following line:
O Imam of guidance! Until when will you be occult
Oblige us O father by paying attention to us
Al-Qāḍī Jawād al-Sābāṭī, who was a Christian and converted to Islam and wrote al-Barāhīn al-Sābāṭiyya fī l-radd `alā l-Naṣārā in refutation of the Christians. According to al-Najm al-thāqib and Kashf al-astār—after mentioning the differences between the Muslims about the Mahdī—he writes: “The view of the Imāmiyya [i.e. Shias] is closer [to the truth] as it is more in conformity with the divine texts (al-naṣṣ).”
Shaykh Abū l-Ma`ālī Ṣadr al-dīn al-Qūnawī, the author of Tafsīr al-Fātiḥa, Miftāḥ al-ghayb, and etc. Kashf al-astār has reported that he has composed a poem which starts like this: “He will rise by Allah’s order . . .” He has also said to his students in his will, “Sell what books I have in my library on the topics of medicine, wisdom, and philosophy and give its money in charity to the needy. Keep the Tafsīr, Hadith, and Sufism books in the library. Recite the word of oneness, ‘There is no god but Allah’ seventy thousand times in the first night [of my death] with utmost attention of the heart and convey my salām to the Mahdī, peace be on him.”
The great learned scholar `Abd Allah b. Muḥammad al-Maṭīrī has clearly talked about him in his book al-Riyāḍ al-ẓāhira fī faḍl Āl Bait al-Nabī wa `itratih al-ṭāhira. According to Kashf al-astār, he has named the Imams one after the other, and he says: “The eleventh is his son, al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, may Allah be satisfied with him. The twelfth is his son, Muḥammad al-Qā’im al-Mahdī, may Allah be satisfied with him. Divine texts are available about him in the Islamic nation which date back to the Prophet Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him [and his family], his ancestor `Alī b. Abū Ṭālib, may Allah approve of him, and from his other noble, high statured forefathers. He is the Possessor of the Sword, the Riser, and the Awaited one, as has been mentioned in authentic traditions. Before his emergence, he will have two occultations . . .”
The author of Kashf al-astār writes, “The manuscript which I used was very old and belonged to the author himself. In his own hand-writing he had written on the cover, ‘al-Riyāḍ al-ẓāhira fī faḍl Āl Bait al-Nabī wa `itratih al-ṭāhira, written by the needy toward Allah, `Abd-Allah b. Muḥammad al- Maṭīrī al-Madanī, follower of the Shāfi`ī religion, the Ash`arī belief, and the Naqshbandī path. May Allah benefit us from their blessings, Amen.’”
Shaykh al-Islam Abū l-Ma`ālī Muḥammad Sirāj al-dīn al-Rifā`ī al-Makhzūmī, the honorable Sharīf. According to Kashf al-astār, he has mentioned in his book Ṣiḥāḥ al-akhbār fī nasab al-sādat al-Fātimiyya al-akhyār, under the biography of Abū l-Ḥasan al-Hādī, peace be on him: “Imam `Alī al-Hādī, the son of Imam Muḥammad al-Jawād, peace be on them. His titles are: al-Naqī, al-`Ālim, al-Faqīh, al-Amīr, al-Dalīl, al-`Askarī, and al-Najīb. He was born in Medina in 212 AH and was martyred with poison during the reign of al-Mu`tazz al-`Abbāsī on Monday, Rajab 3, 254 AH. He had five children: Imam Ḥasan al-`Askarī, al-Ḥusayn, Muḥammad, Ja`far, and `Ā’isha. Al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī was succeeded by the Companion of the Cellar, al-Ḥujja, the Awaited One, the Guardian assigned by Allah, Imam al-Mahdī, peace be on him.
Mīr Khānd, the famous historian, Muḥammad b. Khāwand Shāh b. Maḥmūd (d. 903 AH [according to Kashf al-ẓunūn]). He has mentioned his birth, life, and miracles in the third volume of Tārīkh rauḍat al-ṣafā.
Naṣr b. `Alī al-Jahḍamī al-Naṣrī, one of the great and reliable Sunni scholars. According to al-Najm al-thāqib, he has talked about his birth, his mother’s name, and his janitors name. He is the same Naṣr about whom the First Martyr (al-Shahīd al-Awwal) has said, “He stated in the presence of al-Mutawakkil that the Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, held (Imam) al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn’s hands and declared, ‘Whoever loves me, these two, and their mother, will be with me in my rank in Paradise.’ On hearing this, al-Mutawakkil ordered that he be whipped one thousand times. Abū Ja`far `Abd al-Wāḥid said, ‘He is a Sunnī!’ and so he was pardoned.”
Shaykh al-Islam, the great traditionist, Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad b. al-Mu’ayyid al-Juwainī al-Khurāsānī (d. 730 AH). In his book Farā’id al-simṭain (published in two large volumes), he has mentioned his birth in a number of places and has recorded traditions which speak about him and about the twelve Imams, peace be on them.
Al-Qāḍī al-Muḥaqqiq Buhlūl Bahjat Afandī, the author of al-Muhākama fī tārīkh Āl Muḥammad in Turkish which was translated into Persian. It has been published several times due to demand from the readers. It is truly an excellent book which has investigated important incidents in history and removed the numerous veils placed on historical events by prejudiced writers and historians. In this book, he has explicitly talked about the Imamate of the twelve Imams, some of their merits and conditions, the birth of the twelfth Imam—and that he was born on Sha`bān 15, 255 AH—the name of his mother was Narjis, that he had two occultations: the minor and major, that he is alive and will appear when Allah, the Exalted, permits him to do so, and he will fill the earth with fairness and justice. He also writes, “His [eventual] appearance is agreed upon by all Muslims, and hence, there is no need to prove it.” He then praises him with great words and mentions some of his attributes and signs.
Shaykh Shams al-dīn Muḥammad b. Yusuf al-Zarandī who according to Ilzām al-nāṣib, has written in his book Mi`rāj al-wuṣūl ilā ma`rifat faḍīlat Āl al-Rasūl: “The twelfth Imam is the possessor of famous miracles whose stature is because of his great knowledge and him following the truth and the traditions of the Prophet. He will rise with the truth and will invite the people to the right path. He is Imam Abū l-Qāsim Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan.” He then mentions his birth date.
Shams al-dīn al-Tabrīzī—the teacher of Maulawī Jalāl al-dīn al-Rūmī. Kashf al-astār has cited Yanābī` al-mawadda as stating that he has acknowledged the birth of the Mahdī.
The famous historian, ibn Khalikān in Wafiyyāt al-a`yān. We already mentioned what he has said in the section about his birth and its history.
Ibn al-Azraq, the famous historian in Tārīkh mayyāfāriqīn (according to what has been narrated by ibn Khalikān in Wafiyyāt al-a`yān).
Maulā `Alī al-Qārī whom according to Ilzām al-nāṣib and Kashf al-astār, has mentioned in his book al-Mirqāt fī sharḥ al- mishkāt, the names of the twelve Imams and pointed to some of their virtues and miracles.
The great Ṣūfī saint for whom `Abd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī’s book Mir`āt al-asrār was written about (as reported in Kashf al-astār).
The famous historian ibn al-Wardī. According to Nūr al-abṣār (chap. 2, p. 153), he has written in his Tārīkh, “Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan, the purified one, was born in 255 AH.”
Al-Sayyid Mu’min b. Ḥasan al-Shablanjī, the author of Nūr al-abṣār. He writes in chapter 2, page 152: “The section concerning the virtues of Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-Khāliṣ b. `Alī al-Hādī b. Muḥammad al-Jawād b. `Alī al-Riḍā b. Mūsā al-Kāẓim b. Ja`far al-Ṣādiq b. Muḥammad al-Bāqir b. `Alī Zain al-`Ābidīn b. al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī b. Abū Ṭālib, may Allah be satisfied with them. His mother was a female slave and her name was Narjis. Others have said Ṣaqīl and Sūsan. His epithet is Abū l-Qāsim and the Shias have given him the titles of al-Ḥujja (the Divine Proof), al-Mahdī (the Guided), al-Qā’im (the Riser), al-Muntaẓar (the Awaited), and Ṣāḥib al-Ẓamān (the Master of the Time). The most famous of these is al-Mahdī.”
Shaykh al-Nassāba Abū l-Fauz Muḥammad Amīn al-Baghdādī al-Suwaydī, the author of Sabā’ik al-dhahab fī ma`rifat qabā’il al-`Arab. He has mentioned the names of the twelve Imams and some of their merits and virtues. He mentions Imam Ḥasan al-`Askarī in chap. 6, p. 77. He writes on p. 78, “Muḥammad al-Mahdī whose age was five when his father passed away. He had an average figure, pleasant visage and hair, an aquiline nose, and a wide forehead.”
Shaykh al-Islam Ibrāhīm b. Sa`d al-dīn which has already been mentioned.
Chief of the Imams, Ḍiyā’ al-dīn Muwaffaq b. Aḥmad al-Khaṭīb al-Mālikī al-Khāwrazmī, who was the most eloquent of the speakers of Khāwrazm (according to Kashf al-astār). He has recorded traditions in al-Manāqib that clearly establish this point.
Al-Maulā Ḥusayn b. `Alī al-Kāshifī—the author of Jawāhir al-tafsīr—who according to Kashf al-ẓunūn died in 906 AH. It has been mentioned in Kashf al-astār that some of the knowledgeable have attributed this belief to him and Kashf al-astār has narrated some of his views that show his inclination towards it.
Al-Sayyid `Alī b. Shihāb al-Hamdānī has openly stated this in the tenth chapter of his book al-mawadda fī l-qurbā.
Al-Shaykh Muḥammad al-Ṣubbān al-Miṣrī (d. 1206 AH), as is apparent in some of his words in Is`āf al-rāghibīn.
The Abbasid caliph, al-Nāṣir Li-dīn Allah Aḥmad b. al-Mustaḍī’ Bi-Nūr Allah. According to Kashf al-astār and Ilzām al-nāṣib he ordered that the building of the noble cellar (sardāb) be reconstructed and a wooden window be placed in the room on top of it. It was inscribed on the window: “In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. ‘Say, “I do not ask you for any reward for it except the love of the close ones,” and whoever does a good deed, We will increase it for him in goodness. Surely, Allah is Forgiving and Grateful’ (Quran, 42:23). This was ordered to us by our master—the leader whose obedience is obligatory on all the creatures—Abū l-`Abbās Aḥmad al-Nāṣir Li-dīn Allah, the commander of the faithful, the caliph of the Lord of the Worlds, whose kindness has covered the lands and his mercy and grace is prevalent in the countries. May Allah establish his affairs with continuation of success and facilitation, decorate them with help and support, make for his eternal days a limit . . . And Allah suffices for us and He is the best of those relied upon. Allah’s blessings be upon our master, the seal of the Prophets, and upon his pure family and progeny.”
Inside the room, it was also inscribed on wood and hung on the walls: “In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Muḥammad the Messenger of Allah, Amīr al-Mu’minīn `Alī Walī Allah, Fāṭima, al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī, `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn, Muḥammad b. `Alī, Ja`far b. Muḥammad, Mūsā b. Ja`far, `Alī b. Mūsā, Muḥammad b. `Alī, `Alī b. Muḥammad, al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, the Riser with the truth, peace be on them. This is the work of `Alī b. Muḥammad who loves the family of Muḥammad, may Allah have mercy on him.”
The author of Kashf al-astār also says: If al-Nāṣir did not believe that the cellar (sardāb) was related to the Mahdī and was the place of his birth, occultation, or miracles (and not the place of his residence during his major occultation as has been attributed to the Shias by some ignorant people, which has absolutely no basis in their books, old or new), he would not have ordered for it to be renovated or decorated. If the beliefs of the scholars of his time were contrary to this and they had rejected the Mahdī’s birth, it would have been very difficult or almost impossible for the caliph to undertake such a project. Inevitably, if there was a consensus amongst the scholars [of his time] that the Mahdī had not been born, it would be have been fairly impossible for al-Naṣīr to do what he had done. The reason we mentioned al-Nāṣir in this category is because of the advantages he had like his merits, science, and being enumerated amongst the traditionists. Ibn Sukayna, ibn al-Akhḍar, ibn al-Najjār, and ibn al-Dāmghānī have all narrated from him.
I say: These inscriptions still exist in the noble cellar. We have seen and read them many times. Refer to the book Dalīl Sāmarrā’ by Yūnus al-Shaykh Ibrāhīm al-Sāmarrā'ī, pp. 33–36 and you will find all of these in it. According to the book Nasmat al-saḥar bi dhikr man tashayya`a wa sha`ar, vol. 1, p. 253, it appears that al-Nāṣir considered himself the representative of the Mahdī, peace be on him. This has also been reported from al-Dhahabī.
The author of the book Shadharāt al-dhahab, Abū l-Falāḥ `Abd al-Ḥayy b. al-`Imād al-Ḥanbalī (d. 1089 AH), has declared the birth of the Mahdī in the second section of his book, pp. 141 & 150.
Shaykh `Abd al-Raḥmān Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Aḥmad al-Basṭāmī, who according to Yanābī` al-mawadda (p. 401), has said in Durrat al-ma`ārif, “The Mahdī is the most knowledgeable and forbearing of the people. He has a mole on his right cheek and he is from the descendants of al-Ḥusayn.” According to Yanābī` al-mawadda, he has composed some poetry about him [these can be found in the original Arabic edition of the current book—Ed.].
Shaykh `Abd al-Karīm al-Yamānī, the author of Yanābī` al-mawadda writes on p. 466, “The majestic Shaykh, `Abd al-Karīm al-Yamānī, writes and confers his knowledge upon us . . .” He then mentions some lines of poetry composed by him about the Mahdī.
Al-Sayyid al-Nasīmī whom Kashf al-astār has quoted citing Yanābī` al-mawadda.
`Imād al-dīn al-Ḥanafī: According to Kashf al-astār, some of the distinguished scholars have attributed this belief to him.
The respected scholar `Abd-Allah b. Muḥammad al-Maṭīrī in al-Riyāḍ al-ẓāhira fī faḍl Āl Bait al-Nabī wa `itratih al-ṭāhira. He begins this book by including all of Imam Jalāl al-dīn al-Suyūṭī’s treatise called Iḥyā’ al-mayyit bi-faḍā’il Ahl al-Bait `alayhim al-salām, which is comprised of sixty traditions. He has extended these traditions to 151 and he writes in the last one, “From the seed of al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī will be the Mahdī who will be sent in the end of times. . . The first Imam is `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on him . . . (he names each one of the Imams until he says) The eleventh Imam is his son, al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, and the twelfth is his son Muḥammad al-Qā’im al-Mahdī. Divine texts concerning him have preceded him in the Islamic nation from the Prophet Muḥammad, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, his ancestor `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, and from his other noble and high statured forefathers. He is the Possessor of the Sword, the Riser, the Awaited.”
The virtuous scholar, Rashīd al-dīn al-Dihlawī al-Hindī. According to the book al-Imām al-thānī `ashar, he has recorded in his book Īḍāḥ laṭāfat al-maqāl, what Khāja Pārsā has said in Faṣl al-khiṭāb and has agreed with him.
Shāh Walī Allah al-Dihlawī, the father of the author of al-Tuḥfa fī kitāb al-nuzha, and many others who have narrated the tradition about the Musalsalāt which we mentioned under al-Balādhurī (refer to no. 9).
Shaykh Aḥmad al-Fārūqī al-Naqshbandī, known as the ‘Restorer of the Second Millennium’ (al-mujaddid fī l-alf al-thānī) as has been recorded in al-`Abqarī al-ḥisān citing al-Makātīb (vol. 3, letter 123).
Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad b. Shaḥna al-Ḥanafī. In his history book known as Rauḍat al-manāẓir fī akhbār al-awā’il wa l-awākhir, which has been published in the margins of Murūj al-dhahab ([Egypt: al-Maṭba`atu al-Azhariyya al-Miṣriyya, 1303 AH], vol. 1, p. 294). He writes: “This al-Ḥasan (meaning al-Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him) was granted a son, the Awaited One, the twelfth amongst them; he is called the Mahdī, the Qā’im, the Ḥujja, and Muḥammad. He was born in 255 AH.”
Shaykh Khālid al-Naqshbandī (d. 1242 AH)—the author of Farā’id al-fawā’id and Risālat al-rābita. He has a compilation of poems which have been published in Istanbul. He has mentioned the twelve Imams in a poem in which he praises the eighth Imam, `Alī b. Mūsā al-Riḍā, peace be on him. In one part of this poem (which is in Persian) he mentions the Mahdī and his forefathers.
Sayyid Bāqir b. Sayyid `Uthmān Bukhārī, the author of Jawāhir al-auliyā’, published in 1396 AH. He has expressed this meaning on pp. 31, 32, 307, 378, 471, 541, 544, and 556.
Jamāl al-dīn Khāja Aḥmad Haqqānī. Refer to Jawāhir al-auliyā’, p. 478.
Sayyid Widāyat b. Sayyid `Uthmān Bukhārī. Jawāhir al-auliyā (p. 544) has narrated from him a supplication in Persian which comprises of the names of the twelve Imams to our Master, al-Mahdī, peace be on them.
Shaykh `Abd-Allah b. Muḥammad b. `Āmir al-Shabrāwī al-Shāfi`ī, the Dean of al-Azhar University, in his book al-Itḥāf bi-ḥubb al-ashrāf, has clearly declared the Imamate of the twelve Imams, peace be on them, and the birth of our Master, al-Mahdī, the twelfth Imam, peace be on him. He has also mentioned some of their merits and positions.
- 2. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 424, no. 1; Ghaybat al-Shaykh, pp. 234–237, no. 204, similar to it through his chain of narrators from Abū `Abd-Allah al-Muṭahharī, from Ḥakīma, which says: “My nephew, (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, called for me in Sha`bān 15, 255 AH . . .” no. 205–207 mention the same story with some variations; Yanābī` al-mawadda, chap. 79, pp. 449–451, no. 1. He has narrated this tradition through many different chains; Ithbāt al-waṣiyya, pp. 218–220; I`lām al-warā, chap. 1, sect. 2; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 1, no. 3.
- 3. Quran 28:5–6.
- 4. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 430, no. 5; Ghaybat al-Shaykh, p. 147; Ithbāt al-waṣiyya, p. 221, concerning his birth: “From a group, from Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā, from al-Ḥusayn b. `Alī al-Nīsābūrī, from Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad, from Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Sayyārī . . . ,” similar to it, with the difference that after saying “Allah's blessings be on him and his family,” he continued, “a humble servant for Allah, who was neither disobedient nor arrogant.” ; al-Kharā’ij wa l-jarā’iḥ, vol. 1, p. 457, no. 2; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 33, p. 668, no. 34–35; Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 2, pp. 498–499, under “The Miracles of Ṣāḥib al-Zamān”; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 1, p. 4, no. 1; Ḥilyat al-abrār, vol. 2, chap. 10, p. 544; al-Wasā’il, vol. 8, chap. 59, p. 461, no. 1, which only mentions the last section of the tradition; Muntakhab al-anwār al-muḍī’a, p. 160 (short version); I`lām al-warā, part 4, sect. 2, chap. 1.
- 5. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, pp. 430–431, no. 6; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 1, p. 5, no. 9; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, sect. 5, chap. 32, p. 483, no. 195.
- 6. A unit of weight—Ed.
- 7. `Aqīqa is a sheep which is slaughtered on the occasion of the birth of a child—Ed.
- 8. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, p. 430, no. 4; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 6, chap. 32, sect. 5, p. 430, no. 194.
- 9. Kifāyat al-muhtadī (al-Arba`īn), p. 111, no. 29; Kifāyat al-athar, chap. 39, pp. 290–291, no. 4; Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 38, pp. 408–409, no. 7, which says: “Narrated to us al-Muẓaffar b. Ja`far b. al-Muẓaffar al-`Alawī al-Samarqandī, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Ja`far b. Muḥammad b. Mas`ūd al-`Ayyāshī, from his father, from Aḥmad b. `Alī b. Kulthūm, from `Alī b. Aḥmad al-Rāzī, from Aḥmad b. Isḥāq b. Sa`d, from Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan b. `Alī al-`Askarī, peace be on them, who said, ‘All praise is . . .’”
- 10. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 38, p. 408, no. 4; Kifāyat al-athar, chap. 39, pp. 489–490, no. 2; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, sect. 5, p. 481, no. 185; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 9, p. 161, no. 13.
- 11. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 433, no. 13; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 33, p. 669, no. 37.
- 12. Quran, 3:18.
- 13. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, p. 38, no. 3; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 9, pp. 160–161, no. 8; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, p. 481, no. 184.
- 14. Tārīkh al-A’imma, chap. “The Son of al-Ḥasan b. `Alī al-`Askarī,” p. 14; Ghaybat al-Shaykh, p. 223, no. 686, and p. 231, no. 197; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 31, sect. 10, p. 430, no. 116.
I say: The book Tārīkh al-A’imma or Tārīkh āl al-Rasūl or Tawārīkh al-A’imma or al-Mawālīd, is a short and concise book about the birth dates of the Messenger of Allah, Fāṭimat al-Zahrā, and the twelve Imams, Allah’s blessings be on them all. It has been written by ibn Abū l-Thalj al-Baghdādī (325 AH). His complete name is Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. `Abd-Allah b. Ismā`īl, known as ibn Abū l-Thalj. Ibn Nadīm writes in al-Fihrist, “He was a Shia who was inclined towards Sunnism but he was inclined more towards Shi`ism. He has narrated many traditions from Sunnis and has authored books on different topics. He was very religious, learned, and extremely pious.” His biography can be found in other biography books.
As for the aforementioned book, some believe that this is the work of Naṣr b. `Alī al-Jahḍamī, because at its beginning, ibn Abū Thalj has narrated the birth dates of the Prophet, Allah's blessings be on him and his family, the Master of the Women (Fāṭima), and the Imams up to al-Riḍā, peace be on them, through his chain of narrators from al-Naṣr, from (Imam) al-Riḍā, peace be on him. Therefore, they have thought that the entire book was narrated from al-Naṣr. The falsity of this idea becomes apparent by referring to the book itself. Moreover, Naṣr b. `Alī died during the reign of the caliph al-Musta`īn in 250 or 251 AH. If Naṣr had written this book about the birth dates of the Imams, peace be on them, up to our Master al-Mahdī, Allah’s blessings be on him, as has been stated by Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs in Muhaj al-da`awāt, p. 276 where he says: “Naṣr b. `Alī al-Jahḍamī who is a reliable scholar from the opponents (al-mukhalifīn), has mentioned . . . in the book Mawālīd al-a’imma, ‘From the reasons is what has been narrated from al-Ḥasan b. `Alī al-`Askarī when Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan was born, “The oppressors think . . . he named him the Hoped (al-Mu`ammal).”’” Thus we must inevitably accept that he passed away after the birth of the Mahdī in 255 AH. The following story has been narrated about him: Al-Musta’īn asked for him to make him a judge. So he said to the Emir of Basra, “I will go back [home] so that I may ask Allah, the Exalted, for the best decision (astakhīru Allah).” He returned to his house, performed two units (rak`a) of prayers and said, “O Allah! If being with you is better for me, then take me to yourself [i.e. take my life].” He then went to sleep. When they came to wake him up, he was dead. This narration is incorrect and the person who sought him was not al-Musta`īn. Rather, it was either al-Muhtadī or al-Mu`tamid. It is probable that al-Naṣr’s book only consisted of the births and deaths of the Imams up to Imam Riḍā, peace be on him, and that Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Fāryābī—the narrator from Naṣr and the one from whom ibn Abū Thalj has narrated through `Utbat b. Sa`d b. Kināna—has completed his book up to our Master, al-Qā’im, may my father and mother be sacrificed for him.
Even with all the probabilities, attributing the book to ibn Abū Thalj will not be incorrect, because either, he has narrated it from al-Fāryābī who has narrated a part of it from al-Naṣr and completed the rest of it himself or he has compiled what he has narrated from al-Naṣr and al-Fāryābī and integrated them into this book.
Anyway, the book which has been called Mawālīd al-A’imma or Tārīkh al-A’imma or etc., is this book which Abū l-Mufaḍḍal al-Shaibānī and others have narrated from ibn Abū Thalj. Hence, attributing the book to him is justified and so is relying upon him and regarding his book as reliable, especially when considering the fact that it has been narrated from someone like ibn Abī Thalj and Allah knows the best.
- 15. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 431, no. 8; Yanābī` al-mawadda, chap. 82, p. 460; Ghaybat al-Shaykh, p. 100; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, sect. 5, pp. 483–484, no. 196.
- 16. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 431, no. 7; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 1, p. 5, no. 10; Tabṣirat al-walī, pp. 45–46, no. 12.
I say: Her death before the death of Imam Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, which has been mentioned in this tradition, contradicts other traditions like no. 804. We will discuss this issue under that tradition.
- 17. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 43, p. 434, no. 1; Ghaybat al-Shaykh, pp. 229–230, no. 195; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 1, p. 17, no. 24; Ithbāt al-hudāt, chap. 32, p. 506, no. 312.
- 18. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 432, no. 10; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, p. 484, sect. 5, no. 198; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 5, p. 15, no. 17.
- 19. `Aqīqa is a sheep which is slaughtered on the seventh day after an infant is born—Ed.
- 20. Kamāl al-dīn (Published by al-Islāmiyya), vol. 2, chap. 45, p. 106, no. 11; Kamāl al-dīn (Published by Maktabat al-Ṣadūq), vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 432, no. 11, in this version, his saying “And he ordered that three hundred sheep be slaughtered for his `aqīqa,” is missing; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 5, p. 15, no. 18; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, p. 484, no. 199, in which the following section is missing: “And he ordered that . . .”
I say: Perhaps his saying, “his epithet is Ja`far” in this tradition and in the fifth tradition from the 30th chapter of Kamāl al-dīn (vol. 1, p. 318): “his epithet is derived from his (paternal) uncle,” refers to his uncle and the uncle of his forefathers, Ja`far al-Ṭayyār, the martyr. This was done to enliven his name and to honor his majestic position. It does not refer to his uncle, Ja`far b. `Alī b. Muḥammad. In the tradition narrated from `Aqīd, the servant (narrated in Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 43, p. 474, no. 25), it has been mentioned: “he was given the epithet Abū l-Qāsim, others have said Abū l-Ja`far.”
- 21. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, pp. 433–434, no. 16; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 5, p. 16, no. 21; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, sect. 5, p 484, no. 202.
- 22. Kamāl al-dīn (Published by Maktabat al-Ṣadūq), vol. 2, chap. 43, p. 441, no. 11; Kamāl al-dīn (Published by al-Islāmiyya) vol. 2, chap. 47, pp. 114–115, no. 12.
It is worth mentioning that the variations and differences in the numbers of the chapters and traditions in the two versions of Kamāl al-dīn are insignificant except that in one version the researcher has in some places merged two chapters as one and has done the same to some of the traditions (or has thought they were really one) and in the other version the researcher has done the opposite. References from both copies have been mentioned to prevent errors.
As for ‘Nasīm’, it is clear in this tradition as well as what has been narrated in Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 430, no. 5 (Maktabat al-Ṣadūq) and vol. 2, chap. 45, p. 104, no. 5 (al-Islāmiyya) that she is a woman. But in Ghaybat al-Shaykh (chap. “His Birth, Peace be on Him,” p.139), Muḥammad b. Ya`qūb reports directly from Nasīm and states that he is a male-servant. I believe that ‘Nasīm’ refers to a female servant because she and Māriya—another woman—have both narrated in another tradition (no. 788) what we mentioned that when he was born, he knelt down and prayed . . . (to the end of the tradition). Obviously, only women-servants were permitted to witness his birth. This fact is not refuted by the argument that these women do not explicitly state that they have actually witnessed the moment of his birth. Perhaps, both have testified to what was clearly known to them through the testimony of other women. Surely, this is against the literal meaning of the tradition; so ponder on it.
In Ghaybat al-Shaykh, “ten nights after his birth” has been recorded instead of “one night after his birth.”
Al-Kharā’ij, vol. 2, p. 692, which says: “From Ibrāhīm al-Karkhī, from Nasīm the servant of Abū Muḥammad . . . I went to see him ten days after his birth . . .”
Ithbāt al-waṣiyya, p. 198: “From `Allān, from Nasīm the slave of Abū Muḥammad . . . one night after his birth . . .”
I say: Such differences in the traditions do not weaken the essential substance of the tradition which all the narrators and sources are unanimous about. Such differences occur because only the main concepts of some of them have been narrated and a word-by-word recount has not been used. Those who have good understanding of traditions are aware of such differences. Therefore, they take the common and definite parts from them—which are agreed upon by all the tradition, or those in which the narrators are more reliable and trustworthy, or those that are preferable according to the intellectual preferences mentioned in dirāya books. A tradition cannot be rejected merely on account of it having minor differences with another.
Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 52, chap. 18, p. 30, no. 24; Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 2, p. 500; Muntakhab al-anwār al-muḍī’a, p. 160; al-Wasā’il, vol. 8, chap. 59, p. 461, no. 1; Ḥilyat al-abrār, vol. 2, chap. 10, p. 544
- 23. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 433, no. 14; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, p. 484, no. 201; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 1, p. 16, no. 20.
- 24. Ghaybat al-Shaykh, pp. 271–273, no. 237; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 52, chap. 18, pp. 16–17, no. 14; Tabṣirat al-walī, pp. 164 & 166, no. 69; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 31, p. 415, no. 55 (short version). He has recorded its beginning and its end in chap. 32, p. 509, no. 325.
I say: This tradition proves that Abū Sahl al-Naubakhtī believed that his birth occurred in the year 256 AH. The tradition narrated from Abū Hārūn is also like this (see Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 42, p. 432, no. 9).
- 25. The traditions differ concerning the fate of the Imam’s mother, peace be on him. Some state that she died after Imam Abū Muḥammad al-`Askarī in the house of Muḥammad b. `Alī b. Ḥamzat b. al-Ḥasan b. `Ubaid-Allah b. al-Abbās b. Amīr al-Mu’minīn `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, peace be on him—who has been described as a reliable person and as a source in traditions, who was true in his beliefs and had written a book—while other traditions mention that she asked Imam Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, to pray for her death before his. The Imam obliged and his prayers were accepted. In others (like the current tradition), it has been said that she was present when the Imam, peace be on him, passed away. Yet, other traditions say that she migrated to the Holy city of Mecca during the lifetime of Imam al-`Askarī, peace be on him, along with her son al-Ḥujja, peace be on him, on the instructions of Imam Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him. Most of these traditions indicate that she lived after the death of the Imam, peace be on him, which is more probable and more preferable. The proof for this fact lies in her grave which is behind the grave of Imam Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him.
Nevertheless, such differences will not impact our purpose because our reliance in this book is based on traditions that are mutawātir or non-singular, not on singular narrations (al-āḥād). The traditions support each other in what we have agreed on. It is worth mentioning that such secondary differences also exist in the biographies of the Prophets, other Imams, and historical figures. The details of such important incidents—regardless of their essential subjects—cannot be the cause of skepticism in the existence of those people, their obvious conditions, and famous historical incidents related to them. This is in addition to the fact that the conditions prevalent during the lifetime of Imam Ḥasan al-`Askarī, peace be on him, and after his death demanded that he, peace be on him, concealed such secondary issues.
- 26. Ithbāt al-waṣiyya, pp. 194-195; `Uyūn al-mu`jizāt, p. 138, similar to it from Aḥmad b. Maṣqala with the difference that it does not mention the migration of the Master of Time along with Imam Abū Muḥammad’s mother to Mecca. Its wording is: “Thereafter, he handed over the Great Name (al-Ism al-A`ẓam), the inheritances, and the weapon to the Qā’im, the Master, peace be on him; and the mother of Imam Abū Muḥammad left for Mecca.”
I say: The aforementioned Aḥmad b. Maṣqala in `Uyūn al-mu`jizāt is probably Aḥmad b. `Abd-Allah b. `Īsā b. Maṣqalat b. Sa`d al-Ash`arī al-Qummī, who has been attributed to his more famous grandfather, as can be inferred from many chains of narrators in the traditions. It is also possible that he is one of the cousins of Aḥmad b. Isḥāq b. `Abd-Allah b. Sa`d b. Mālik b. al-Aḥwaṣ al-Ash`arī Abū `Alī al-Qummī, who has narrated from Imams `Alī al-Naqī and Abū l-Ḥasan. He was very close to (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, and had also seen the Master of Time, peace be on him. Al-Najāshī writes about Aḥmad b. Abd-Allah: “He was a reliable person and has narrated a book from Imam `Alī al-Naqī, peace be on him.” According to this, he was contemporary with his cousin Aḥmad b. Isḥāq, and had been alive during the life of (Imam) Abū Muḥammad, peace be on him, and was still alive after 260 AH.
The probability of Aḥmad b. `Abd-Allah and Aḥmad b. Isḥāq being the same person, is baseless except for the fact that they were both descendants of Sa`d and Aḥmad b. Isḥāq’s grandfather had the same name as Aḥmad b. `Abd-Allah’s father. It is also probable that ‘Isḥāq’ has been dropped from the lineage of Aḥmad b. `Abd-Allah and ‘`Īsā b. Maṣqala’ has been dropped from the lineage of Aḥmad b. Isḥāq. If so, the lineage would be as follows: Aḥmad b. Isḥāq b. `Abd-Allah b. `Īsā b. Maṣqalat b. Sa`d b. Mālik b. al-Aḥwaṣ al-Ash`arī. Although this probability is weak, but perhaps some evidence can be found by referring to the biographies of all the men of this family, just as it is also likely that Aḥmad b. Isḥāq is the nephew of Aḥmad b. `Abd-Allah.
With all this said, considering them as two different people is still closer to the truth. Yes, the likelihood of Aḥmad b. Maṣqala being Aḥmad b. `Abd-Allah b. `Īsā b. Maṣqala is also high.
Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, sect. 56, p. 579, no. 750, which is a shortened version narrated from al-Mas`ūdī.
- 27. Kifāyat al-muhtadī (al-Arba`īn), p. 104, no. 28; al-Arba`īn known as Kashf al-ḥaqq, p. 8, no. 1 and pp. 136–137, no. 22; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 32, sect. 44, p. 569, no. 680.
- 28. Al-Mufīd, may Allah be satisfied with him, writes in al-Fuṣūl al-`ashara fī l-ghayba, p. 9: “The fact that (Imam) al-Ḥasan (al-`Askarī’s) son has been born has been established in the most emphatic manner by which the lineage of the people are proved. For, lineage is established by the testimony of a mid-wife, other women who are usually present during birth, and those who assist them in it. Also, the acknowledgement of the father will suffice and if required the testimony of two men from the Muslims upon the confession of the man that the child is his. Indeed, information from a group of religious people, scholars, pious, ascetic, and highly knowledgeable people has been narrated from Imam al-Ḥasan b. `Alī who acknowledged the birth of the Mahdī, peace be on him, informed them of his existence, and gave them news about his Imamate after him. Some saw his child (in his house), others saw an adolescent or a young man. After his father, he ordered his Shia’s about what they should or shouldn’t do and answered their questions . . . I have mentioned the names of a group of people who I have already described their conditions, who were trusted by (Imam) al-Ḥasan b. `Alī, peace be on him. They were very close to him and were known for serving him and fulfilling (his orders). I have also proved what they have narrated from him about the existence of his son, them seeing him after his father (passed away), and them hearing the divine news about his Imamate. These can be found in my books specially the two famous ones known as al-Irshād fī ma`rifat ḥujaj-Allah `alā l-`ibād and al-Īḍāḥ fī l-imāma wa l-ghayba. Because of what I have mentioned in those books, there is no need to prove them here again.”
- 29. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 2, chap. 41, pp. 417–423, no. 1; Ghaybat al-Shaykh, pp. 208–214, no. 178; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 51, chap. 1, pp. 6–10, no. 12, citing Ghaybat al-Shaykh and pp. 10–11, no. 13, citing Kamāl al-dīn; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, chap. 29, sect. 2, pp. 363–365, no. 17 and chap. 31, sect. 1, pp. 408–409, no. 37 (short version).
- 30. Al-Nakhkhās means slave-trader—Ed.