Has Allah “sent” any new person to this Ummah after the death of His beloved Messenger, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi? Apparently, this question rests on three sub-questions:
(a) Are there prophets after Muhammad?
(b) Does Allah “send” non-prophets to Ummahs?
(c) If yes, are there any such non-prophets “sent” to our Ummah after our Prophet?
Well, there is absolutely no doubt or dispute about the fact that Muhammad is the last and final prophet and messenger from Allah1. Therefore, none shall ever come after him with new nubuwwah or risalah, or with any new shari’ah or kitab. He has been sent as the sole prophet and messenger of all humanity till the end of the earth2. So, Allah does NOT send any new prophets or messengers to our Ummah after him.
However, in the pre-Muhammad era, our Lord did “send” at least one non-prophet to an Ummah. Prof. Ibn Yasin cites this authentic report about him:
قال الضياء المقدسي: أخبرنا أبو المجد زاهر بن أحمد بن حامد بن أحمد الثقفي -بقراءتي عليه بأصبهان- قلت له: أخبركم أبو عبد الله الحسين بن عبد الملك ابن الحسين الخلال -قراءة عليه وأنت تسمع- أنا الإمام أبو الفضل عبد الرحمن ابن أحمد بن الحسن بن بندار الرازي المقري، أنا أبو الحسن أحمد بن إبراهيم ابن أحمد بن علي بن فراس، ثنا أبو جعفر محمد بن إبراهيم الديلي، ثنا أبو عبيد الله سعيد بن عبد الرحمن المخزومي، ثنا سفيان ابن عيينة عن ابن أبي حسين، عن أبي الطفيل قال: سمعت ابن الكواء يسأل علي بن أبي طالب - رضي الله عنه - عن ذي القرنين فقال علي: لم يكن نبياً ولا ملك، كان عبداً صالحاً، أحبّ الله فأحبه، وناصح الله فناصحه الله، بُعث إلى قومه فضربوه على قرنه فمات فبعثه الله، فسمى ذي القرنين.
Al-Dhiya al-Maqdisi said:
Abu al-Majd Zahir b. Ahmad b. Hamid b. Ahmad al-Thaqafi – Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Husayn b. ‘Abd al-Malik b. al-Husayn al-Khalal – Imam Abu al-Fadhl ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad b. al-Husayn b. Bandar al-Razi al-Muqri – Abu al-Hasan Ahmad b. Ibrahim b. Ahmad b. ‘Ali b. Faras – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Duyali – Abu ‘Ubayd Allah Sa’id b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Makhzumi – Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah – Ibn Abi Husayn – Abu al-Tufayl:
I heard Ibn al-Kawa asking ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, about Dhu al-Qarnayn, and ‘Ali replied, “He was NOT a prophet, and he was not an angel. He was rather a righteous servant. He loved Allah; so, He loved him too. He sought the guidance of Allah; and so, He guided him. HE WAS SENT TO HIS PEOPLE. But, they struck him on his qarn and he died. Then, Allah resurrected him, and he was thereby named Dhu al-Qarnayn.3
Then, our professor says:
(المختارة 2/175 ح 555) وصححه الحافظ ابن حجر بعد عزوه للمختارة للحافظ الضياء (الفتح 6/383).
(Al-Mukhtarat 2/175, # 555) and al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar declared it sahih after attributing it to al-Mukhtarat of al-Hafiz al-Dhiya (al-Fath 6/383)4
The exact words of al-Hafiz in his Fath are these:
أخرجه سفيان بن عيينة في جامعه عن ابن أبي حسين عن أبي الطفيل نحوه وزاد وناصح الله فناصحه وفيه لم يكن نبيا ولا ملكا وسنده صحيح سمعناه في الأحاديث المختارة للحافظ الضياء
Sufyan b. ‘Uyaynah recorded it in his Jami’ from Ibn Abi Husayn from Abu al-Tufayl, and he added: “He sought the guidance of Allah; and so, He guided him” and in it is “He was not a prophet, and he was not an angel”. Its chain is sahih. We heard it in al-Ahadith al-Mukhtarat of al-Hafiz al-Dhiya.5
Thus, al-Hafiz authenticates the much shorter chain of Sufyan in his Jami’, but further confirms that what we find in al-Ahadith al-Mukhtarat of al-Dhiya is the same as that which was recorded by Sufyan in his book.
Dhu al-Qarnayn, ‘alaihi al-salam, was not a prophet – and therefore not a messenger as well6. Nonetheless, our Lord “sent” him to his people. Interestingly, Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, ‘alaihi al-salam, proclaimed that he was a “likeness” of him. Imam al-Tabari (d. 310 H) records:
حدثنا محمد بن المثنى، قال: ثنا محمد بن جعفر، قال: ثنا شعبة، عن القاسم بن أبي بزة، عن أبي الطفيل، قال: سمعت عليا وسألوه عن ذي القرنين أنبيا كان؟ قال: كان عبدا صالحا، أحب الله فأحبه، وناصح الله فنصحه، فبعثه الله إلى قومه، فضربوه ضربتين في رأسه، فسمي ذا القرنين، وفيكم اليوم مثله.
Muhammad b. al-Muthanna – Muhammad b. Ja’far – Shu’bah – al-Qasim b. Abi Bazzah – Abu al-Tufayl:
I heard ‘Ali while they asked him about Dhu al-Qarnayn: “Was he a prophet?” He replied, “He was a righteous servant. He loved Allah and Allah loved him. He sought the guidance of Allah and He guided him. Then, Allah SENT him to his people. But, they struck him twice on his head. As a result, he was named Dhu al-Qarnayn. And among you TODAY is an example of him.7
Concerning this athar, Prof. Ibn Yasin states:
Its chain is sahih.8
And Imam Ibn Salam (d. 224 H) also explains it in this manner:
وإنما اخترت هذا التفسير على الأول لحديث عن علي نفسه هو عندي مفسر له ولنا وذلك أنه ذكر ذا القرنين فقال: دعا قومه إلى عبادة الله فضربوه على قرنيه ضربتين وفيكم مثله. فنرى أنه أراد بقوله هذا نفسه - يعني أني أدعو إلى الحق حتى أضرب على رأسي ضربتين يكون فيهما قتلي.
I have only chosen this explanation instead of the first due to a hadith from ‘Ali himself. It (the hadith), in my view, explains it to us. And that is, he (‘Ali) mentioned Dhu al-Qarnayn and said, “He called his people to the worship of Allah, and they struck him on his qarn twice. And among you is an example of him”. So, we see that he (‘Ali) was referring to himself with this statement of his – he meant: I will call to the Truth until I will be struck on my head twice. My death will be in them.”9
The status of ‘Ali as a “likeness” of Dhu al-Qarnayn creates many parallels between them both – especially in terms of al-raj’ah and da’wah. However, here, we are only concerned with the da’wah aspects of their similarities. Therefore:
i. Dhu al-Qarnayn was not a prophet. So, ‘Ali too was not a prophet.
ii. Dhu al-Qarnayn sought the guidance of Allah, and He guided him. So, ‘Ali too sought the guidance of Allah, and He guided him too.
iii. Dhu al-Qarnayn was “sent” to his people by Allah. So, ‘Ali too was “sent” to this Ummah by Allah.
Meanwhile, apart from Amir al-Muminin, several other non-prophets, after Muhammad, have been “sent” to our Ummah. Imam Abu Dawud (d. 275 H) records this clear hadith confirming that:
حدثنا سليمان بن داود المهري أخبرنا ابن وهب أخبرني سعيد بن أبي أيوب عن شراحيل بن يزيد المعافري عن أبي علقمة عن أبي هريرة فيما أعلم عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال " إن الله يبعث لهذه الأمة على رأس كل مائة سنة من يجدد لها دينها "
Sulayman b. Dawud al-Mahri – Ibn Wahb – Sa’id b. Abi Ayub – Sharahil b. Yazid al-Ma’afiri – Abu ‘Alqamah – Abu Hurayrah:
From what I learnt from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, he said, “Verily, Allah APPOINTS FOR this Ummah, at the head of every one hundred years, someone who renews its religion for it.”10
‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) says:
Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H) also has this one, which is even clearer:
حدثنا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب ثنا الربيع بن سليمان بن كامل المرادي ثنا عبد الله بن وهب أخبرني سعيد بن أبي أيوب عن شرحبيل بن يزيد عن أبي علقمة عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه ولا أعلمه إلا عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : إن الله يبعث إلى هذه الأمة على رأس كل مائة سنة من يجدد لها دينها
Abu al-‘Abbas Muhammad b. Ya’qub – al-Rabi’ b. Sulayman b. Kamil al-Muradi – ‘Abd Allah b. Wahb – Sa’id b. Abi Ayub – Sharahil b. Yazid – Abu ‘Alqamah – Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him:
I did not learn it except from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, he said, “Verily, Allah SENDS TO this Ummah, at the head of every one hundred years, someone who renews its religion for it.”12
Commenting on this hadith in his Sahihah, al-Albani states:
والسند صحيح رجاله ثقات رجال مسلم
The chain is sahih. Its narrators are thiqah (trustworthy), narrators of (Sahih) Muslim.13
Who are all these people that have been “appointed for” and “sent to” this Ummah by Allah? The Ahl al-Sunnah generally are locked in a serious debate over who makes that list and who does not. Without doubt, they will never agree on the names. What we find even more ironic is that none of those candidates put forward by the various Sunni sects – such as Imam al-Ghazali (d. 505 H), Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H), al-Hafiz al-‘Asqalani (d. 852 H) and ‘Allamah al-Albani – ever claimed to have been “appointed” or “sent” by our Lord.
Meanwhile, what does it mean that someone is “sent” every “one hundred years” to cleanse Islam of heresies and misunderstandings? Is it literally every one hundred years? Or, is it only a metaphorical phrase intended to indicate frequency? Besides, what does “the head” of every one hundred years refer to? The beginning of the century? Or, its end? Or, simply its best period? Or, its most appropriate time? Or, its most important? Also, can there be more than one of such people within a single century? What happens when one of them lives for more than one hundred years? Is he decommissioned? Or, forcefully retired? Or, is his mission renewed or extended? What if he dies young or is killed, after doing da’wah for only a few years? When does his replacement come? Can any two of such people ever contradict each other in anything in the Din?
Considering that he is “appointed” and “sent” by Allah, what then happens to those who do not follow him? Do they remain Muslims? Or, do they become disbelievers? These are questions that need clear answers. However, one does not see much discussion of them in the Sunni books (which are the only sources for the hadith). In our view, there can only be one of those people “appointed” and “sent” to the Ummah at a time.The reports have described him using a singular pronoun and a singular verb as well. Moreover, his appointment comes at the “head” of each century, which is its most appropriate time, or its most important period. If his life extends into the next century, then his appointment and mission are renewed and extended. We have drawn these conclusions, in consideration of, and in harmonization of the above riwayahs with, Hadith al-Thaqalayn, Hadith al-Khalifatayn and some other relevant sahih Sunni ahadith.
In any case, the Messenger had equally informed us of the coming of a man, at the end of times, who would also be “sent” to our Ummah. His mission would be to completely rid the earth of disbelief, heresy, poverty, aggression and injustice, and to establish the final Kingdom of Allah on it. Imam Abu Dawud documents this hadith about him:
حدثنا عثمان بن أبي شيبة ثنا الفضل بن دكين ثنا فطر عن القاسم بن أبي بزة عن أبي الطفيل عن علي رضي الله تعالى عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال "لو لم يبق من الدهر إلا يوم لبعث الله رجلا من أهل بيتي يملؤها عدلا كما ملئت جورا"
‘Uthman b. Abi Shaybah – al-Fadhl b. Dukayn – Fiṭr – al-Qasim b. Abi Barzah – Abu al-Tufayl – ‘Ali, may Allah the Most High be pleased with him – the Prophet, peace be upon him:
“Even if there remains only one more day left before the end of Time, Allah will surely SEND a man from MY AHL AL-BAYT. He will fill it with justice just as it had been filled with injustice.”14
‘Allamah al-Albani comments:
Dr. al-Bastawi also states:
Its chain is sahih.16
So, who is this man? What is his importance to Islam? What is his name? What is his lineage? Who is his father? What will his achievements be? These are some of the questions we will be thoroughly investigating in this research work. Moreover, there have been a lot of inaccuracte claims about the man, especially by extremist Shiaphobic elements within the Ahl al-Sunnah. We will be neutralizing their venom as well. As usual, we will be relying upon only authentic Sunni reports, and reliable Shi’i ahadith wherever required. We, in our utter powerlessness and helplessness, seek Allah’s Help, Support and Assistance for this effort. We also humbly seek His Pleasure through it, and His Forgiveness for our sins generally and for any mistakes we may have made in it in particular. May the salawat and barakat of Allah be upon Muhammad and his purified offspring.
- 1. Qur’an 33:40
- 2. Qur’an 7:158, 34:28 and Qur’an 25:1
- 3. Prof. Dr. Hikmat b. Bashir b. Yasin, Mawsu’at al-Sahih al-Masbur min al-Tafsir bi al-Mathur (Madinah: Dar al-Mathar li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’ wa al-Taba’at; 1st edition, 1420 H), vol. 3, p. 322
- 4. Ibid
- 5. Shihab al-Din Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifah li al-Taba’ah wa al-Nashr; 2nd edition), vol. 6, p. 271
- 6. There is ijma’ in this Ummah that to become a messenger, one must first become a prophet. Whoever is not a prophet can never be a messenger. But, not all prophets are messengers. This is why the status of Muhammad as the last prophet also automatically means that he is the last messenger.
- 7. Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir b. Yazid b. Kathir b. Ghalib al-Amuli al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan fi Tawil al-Qur’an (Dar al-Fikr; 1415 H) [annotator: Sidqi Jamil al-‘Aṭṭar], vol. 16, pp. 12-13
- 8. Prof. Dr. Hikmat b. Bashir b. Yasin, Mawsu’at al-Sahih al-Masbur min al-Tafsir bi al-Mathur (Madinah: Dar al-Mathar li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’ wa al-Taba’at; 1st edition, 1420 H), vol. 3, p. 322
- 9. Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qasim b. Salam al-Harwi, Gharib al-Hadith (Haydarabad: Majlis Dairah al-Ma’arif al-‘Uthmaniyyah; 1st edition, 1385 H), vol. 3, p. 80
- 10. Abu Dawud Sulayman b. al-Ash’ath al-Sijistani al-Azdi, Sunan (Dar al-Fikr) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 2, p. 512, # 4291
- 11. Ibid
- 12. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1411 H) [annotator: Mustafa ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Aṭa], vol. 4, p. 567, # 8592
- 13. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh b. Tajati b. Adam al-Ashqudri al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahihah wa Shayhun min Fiqhihah wa Fawaidihah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma’arif li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 1st edition, 1415 H), vol. 2, p. 148, # 599
- 14. Abu Dawud Sulayman b. al-Ash’ath al-Sijistani al-Azdi, Sunan (Dar al-Fikr) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 2, p. 509, # 4283
- 15. Ibid
- 16. Dr. ‘Abd al-‘Alim ‘Abd al-‘Azim al-Bastawi, al-Mahdi al-Muntazar fi Dhaw-i al-Ahadith wa al-Athar al-Sahihah wa Aqwal al-‘Ulama wa Ara al-Firaq al-Mukhtalifah (Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm; 1st edition, 1420 H), p. 238