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History Imam al-Mahdi

Our twelve Imams are higher and greater than all previous prophets except Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.) whose successors they are. As to why, please, read my book "Muhammad is the Last Prophet".
You will not find every thing explicitly written in the Qur'an. Otherwise, there would have been no need of any interpreter of the Qur'an. Allah has ordained that the Qur'an and Ahlul-Bait (a.s) shall always remain together, so that the true meaning of the Qur'an may be known to the Muslims.
So far as the re-appearance of our beloved 12th Imam (a.s.) is concerned, there are some 'Ayat which point to it very clearly. For example, 'A.ya No. 33 of Surah At-Taubah, which says:-
"He it is who sent His Apostle with Guidance and the religion of Truth, so that He may prevail it over all religions, though the polytheists may detest it".

This Ayat is repeated in Sura As-Saf (Ayat 9); and also 'A.ya 28 of Sura Al-Fath says:- "He it is who sent His Apostle with the Guidance and the religion of Truth, so that He may prevail it over all religions; and enough is Allah for a witness':

In these 'Ayat a promise has been given to our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) that Islam will prevail over all other religions. This victory is of two kinds: First, the triumph of Islam over all other religions; acceptance of Islamic tenets and ideologies by non-Muslim religions and societies is an established fact. The world is inevitably marching towards Islamic tenets - even if it shies away from acknowledging its debts to Islam. Secondly, the triumph oflslam over all religions in such a way that no other religion remains extant in the world. This part of the promise will be fulfilled after the re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).

There are many traditions from our Imams (a.s.) interpreting this 'A.ya in this way. Here I am quoting from Tafsir Safi:-
"Qummi said: It was revealed in the matter of Qa'ime-'Al-e-Muhammad; And (Qummi) said that it is among those 'ayat which I have told that its fulfilment will be delayed from its revelation': ''And in Majma'ul-Bayan a tradition is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) concerning this 'aya that 'this would happen at the time of appearance of Mahdi (a.s.) from the family of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.): Thus there would remain none but would accept (the truth) of Muhammad (s.a.w.)..............:

''And there is a tradition from Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) about this 'aya. He said: 'When Qa'im (a.s.) will appear there will be no pagan or unbeliever but that he would detest his appearance". ''And it is recorded in Majma'ul-Bayan that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said (mentioning the reappearacne of Imam Mahdi): "There will not remain any house or tent but Allah will bring Islam into it"

Sunni commentators have said that this promise will be fulfilled when hadrat Isa (a.s) will come again on this earth. Well, it makes no difference, because it is accepted even by them that hadrat Isa (a.s) will come again when hadrat Imam Mahdi will appear. So the 'A.ya refrers to he re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s) even according to their own interpretation.
The Imam these days is the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi (a.s.).
Imam Mahdi (a.s.), the twelfth Imam, is alive, but is hidden from our eyes by order of Allah. He will re-appear, when Allah allows him, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. It will be near the end of the world, when he will establish justice and equity in the world after it would have been devastated by injustice and oppression.
"The total transformation'' will happen during the reign of Imam Sahebuz-Zaman (a.s.). The belief in "Raj'at" is necessary, and the concept and the principle must be believed in. But the details should be left into the hands of Allah.

However, it is certain that the Prophet and all preceding eleven Imams (peace be on them) will return during the life-time oflmam Sahebu-e­ Zaman (a.s.).
Believe in such expected future is not limited to those who believe in the unseen from a religious view, but it has extended to others and has even been reflected in those ideologies which strongly denied the existence of the unseen and any of its aspects, such as dialectical materialism, that interpreted history in terms of contradictions, but at last admitted the fact that there was an appointed time in which these contradictions would be resolved when peace and harmony would prevail on earth.
Thus, we find that the psychological experience of this awareness, which humanity has undertaken in the course of time, is commonly held among people.
From logical aspect, There is no doubt about the possibility of the prolongation of human life for some thousands of years, because there is no contradiction in this assumption and life as it is understood does not necessitate certain time for death logically.
On the otherhand, there is no doubt that this prolonged life is not possible from the practical aspect, but regarding the scientific possibility, no one can deny this fact from a theoretical point of view. This is related to the nature of the physiological interpretation of the phenomenon of old-age and related weakness among people.
If we are to consider the scientific point of view that interpret old-age and the weakness as a result of reactions against some external factors, it means that it is theoretically possible, once we have isolated the tissues from these influences, it would be possible to surpass the phenomenon of old-age and even overcoming it.
Actually it has been proved scientifically that this process can be postponed, by creating specific circumstances and factors, even if this experiment has not been carried out yet on particular complicated creature such as the human being.
This means that, from a theoretical point of view, science, has never had any objection to the prolongation of human life, whether old-age has been interpreted as the product of a struggle and close contact with some external influences, or as a result of a natural process of the cells and tissues that leads them towards their death.
It is deduced that the prolongation of human life and its survival over many centuries is possible logically as well as scientifically but at present it is still impossible from a practical viewpoint.
Now, let us suppose and it is not, that the process of old-age and disability is quite definite, and the prolongation of human life - as is the case of Noah, or al-Mahdi - runs contrary to the natural laws, then the condition becomes a miracle that has hindered the appling of a natural law under a certain circumstance, in order to preserve the life of an individual whose role is to Keep and protect the Divine message.
Why should we disapprove if this great role is characterized by strange and unusual aspects, such as the prolongation of the Expected Leader's age? If we approve the validity of that unique role wich there has never been in the history a role similar to it, why should not also approve his prolonged age which is still unique except (NOAH) who was mentioned in the Quran that he had lived 950 years?
Why then should we accept Noah, who must have reached near a thousand years, and yet reject al-Mahdi?
This is not the only miracle of its kind, nor is it out of a Muslim's faith, and the Qur'an. Another miracle had also occurred in the case of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) when the only way to preserve his life was by hindering that process, when it was said to the fire in which he was thrown
قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ (الانبیاء، 21/69)
We said, "O fire be cool on Ibrahim and keep him safe." (Qur'an, 21:69)
So, he emerged from it safe and unharmed. There are also other cases where natural laws were hindered to protect some prophets or Proofs of Allah, for example the sea was split for Musa (Moses) and his followers to pass safely.
From this we can deduce a general notion, which is that whenever the preservation of the Prophet's life (the Proof of Allah on earth) de pends on the hindrance of a natural law, and the prolongation of his life comes to be necessary for the performance of his task, Divine care then intervenes by delaying the process so that the task of that individual can be accomplished.
How can natural be obstructed? How can the necessary correlation that exists between natural phenomena, be broken?
The answer is that science discovers natural laws through systematic observations and experiments. When the occurrence of a natural phenomenon is always followed another one, we deduce a natural law which is: whenever the first phenomenon comes into existence it is automatically followed by another phenomenon, but science does not propose a necessary correlation between the two phenomena stemming from their nature, since necessity is an invisible condition that experimentation and the instruments of scientific and inductive inquiry cannot demonstrate. Therefore, the logic of modern science emphasizes that natural law - as it is defined by science - does not indicate a necessary correlation, but only a connection and not correlation between two phenomena. But when the miracle occurs it separates one from the other, and it does not mean that obligatory correlation was broken.
Actually, in the light of modern scientific logic, the miracle has become more understandable than before, we mean the time of classical view of correlation.
The Creator of the universe regularly combine specific phenomenas with each otjer, but the wisdom sometimes calls for exception; thus, a miracle occurs.
To answer this question we will temporarily disregard our believes on special charactristics of infallible Imam such as exclusive knowledge and permanent support from Allah.
The above question could be asked as: Can we consider the prolonged age of preserved leader as a factor for his success and his ability to lead in a better way?
The answer could be positive because of some reasons:
1- To change a powerful rulling and civilization, the more the leaders heart is filled with a sense of success and a sense of insignificance to the exit rulling and civilization, the more he would be ready from psychological angle, to oppose and resist against this deeply rooted civilization.
It is natural that changing the whole world civilization needs a person who was not born and brought up in the same civilization he is struggling with, becous if the leader broght up under a deeply-rooted civilization and mode of thinking, he would be under the same power and influence. On the other hand a leader who has come to life long before rising that civilization and has seen it when it was as a little seed, of course with his eye not, in history books, he would not usually impressed by its glory and dignity that increased gradually.
An example for effect of long life to believe insignificance of apparently indestructible rullings, are mentioned in Quran, surah Al-Kahf.
A group of noble youths who secretly believed to Allah were opposed the religion of the powerful rulling system (idolatry) which suppressed any seed of believing to unity of Allah. The youth group could not tolerate, but never thought one day the rulling may collapse because they were born and brought up under its strong power. They felt danger, ran away and refuged in the cave. According to Quran, Allah made them sleep for three hundred nine years in the cave, then caused them to rise up and sent them to the city among the people. They could see with their own eyes that the previous rulling had destroyed and became a chapter of history whereas they regarded it indestructible.
If this clear vision had been occurred for the men of the cave with long life around three-hundred years, then the same event could occure in the case of al-Mahdi, whose extended age would make him see the tall tree of evil as a seed.
2- The leader of the future revolution who exists among people (not someone to be born in future), observe events and shares their hopes, sadness and sufferings, of course has much dipper influence on followers. When they feel that their Imams is a contemporary person not just an idea of future, it obviously narrows the gap between them and their Imams and make them spiritually closer to him no matter how long the expectation may last.
The early Imamate (leadership in childhood) is a previous phenomenon in the case of his forefathers (peace be upon them all), for example, the nineth Imam, al-Imam Muhammad and the 10’th Imam, Imam Ali-Alhadi (peace be upon them). We call it a phenomenon because it has given in the case of al-Mahdi's forefathers, which the Muslims have lived and been aware of it.
The phenomenon of the Imamate in childhood was a fact and not an imagin. The Imam who emerges while still young and declares that he is the spiritual and the intellectual leader of the Muslim community, must surely be in possession of a very wide knowledge as well as commentary on the Quran and the articles of faith, otherwise the popular bases would not be convinced of his spiritual leadership. We should also bear in mind that the Imams made interaction with with a lot of people that made his life and personality under bright projector.
How a young child can declares his Imamate (spiritual leadership) and hoists out a flag for Islam, and popular bases believe in him and prepared to sacrifice their lives without being incited by the phenomenon of the early Imamate and the validity of the establishment of this young Imam?
If the followers of the child Imams were not able to discover the truth of the matter, why did the existing caliphate who was against Imams,keep silent and did not attempt to find out, whereas it was for its benefit?
Nothing could have been easier for the authorities then if the Imam had been a child, quite immature in his education and way of thinking to present this child to his supporters (the Shi'ah) and others and prove to them that he was not fit for the Imamate and the intellectual and spiritual leadership.
The only explanation for the caliphate's hesitation in playing this card, is that it realized that the early Imamate was a real phenomenon and not an invented idea. The truth is that they attempted to play that card but failed. History relates to us many of these attempts and their failure.
Moreover The early Imamate is a real phenomenon similar to situations in the Divine messengers and leaderships. It is enough to cite one example of an early leadership of Ahlu'1-bayt (peace be upon them) in the case of Yahya (peace be upon him) when Allah said:
يَا يَحْيَى خُذِ الْكِتَابَ بِقُوَّةٍ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحُكْمَ صَبِيًّا (مریم، 19/12)
"O Yahya take the Book with strength," and We have given him wisdom when he was a little child (Qur’an, 19:12)
Now that the early leadership has been proved as an existing and real phenomenon in Ahlu'l-bayt's life there is no more objection to the leadership of al-Imam al-Mahdi (peace be upon him) nor to his succession to his father while very young.
There are two groups of evidence - the first Islamic, and the other historical.
The Islamic evidence and we confirm the existence of the Expected Leader.
The real historical, prove that al-Mahdi is not just a myth or a supposition but a reality which has been confirmed by historical experience.
The Islamic evidence appears in the hundreds of narratives related from Allah's Messenger (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his progeny).
The Prophet's narratives (ahadith) about the fact that the Imams, caliphs, or amirs - depending on the style of the narrative in its different ways - are twelve. Some writers counted up to more than two hundred and seventy narratives taken from the most well-known books of Sunni traditions such as al-Bukhdri, al-Muslim, at-Tirmidhf, Abu Dawizd and the collection of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the Rectification of the Judge on the Two Sahfhs (al-Hdkim, Mustadrak `ala s-sahihayn), and a lot more traditions in shiah books. We should bear in mind here that al-Bukhari who had compiled these narratives, was a contemporary to both al-Imam al-Hddi and al-Imam al-`Askari which it proves that the narratives were recorded from the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his progeny) before that the realization of their contents and the idea of the Twelfth Imam had materialized. This means, therefore, that there is no room left for doubt, that the recording of the narratives was not influenced by the fact of the Twelfth Imam, or that it might have been a reflection of it, because the false narratives (ahadith) that are related from the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his progeny) are either a reflection or a justification for a fact occurring later in time. It is an expression to a truth from (the Holy Prophet) when he said: "Surely the caliphs after me are twelve". and, the event of the twelve Imams, starting with al-Imam `Ali and ending in al-Mahdi, is the only rational interpretation to that noble narrative of the Prophet.
In addition, there are many traditions related from Imam of shia long before birthdate of Imam Mahdi mentions that he will be the 12th Imam and the nine descendants from Imam husayn (the third Imam) and has a very long vanishing (ghaibat). The traditions of the prophet and Imams from (Ahlul-bayt) indicate that Imam Mahdi is an alive and real person.
The historical evidences came from evidence which last nearly seventy years, which we call the period of the minor occultation (ghaybah as-sughra). To elucidate this point, we will a brief description.
This minor occultation marks the first phase in the Imamate of the Expected Leader (peace be upon him). From the time that had been predestined, from the time he assumed the role, he remained hidden from the outside world. Such an event would have created an enormous gap which would have thoroughly shaken the whole structure of shia bases. Therefore, it proved necessary that these bases might get used to it and gradually adapt themselves to the new situation.
So the plan was this minor occultation, during which al-Imam al-Mahdi vanished from the universal scene, while keeping in touch with his popular bases and supporters through his delegates or representatives and the most reliable among his companions, who acted as a link between the Imam and those who believed in his line.
According to history of the third centyry the position of representative of the Imam was held in those times, by four personalities, whom the popular bases agreed as to their fear of Allah, piety and integrity. They were:
1- `Uthmdn ibn Said al-`Amri;
2- Muhammad ibn `Uthmdn ibn Said al-`Amri;
3- Abu'1-Qasim al-Husayn ibn Rah; and
4- Abu'1-Hasan `Ali ibn Muhammad as-Samuri.
These four individuals assumed the role of representative of the Imam (al-Mahdi) according to the above classification. So whenever one of them died, the other succeeded him, after being designated by al-Imam al-Mahdi (peace be upon him).
The representative of the Imam used to get in touch with the Shi'ahs and submit their questions and problems to the Imam and return to them with his answers. Sometimes orally and very often in a written form. So, these masses who lacked the vision of their Imam, found some comfort and consolation in these indirect communications.
Moreover, they could notice that the signatures and the letters were all written in the same way, during nearly seventy years. The last representative, as-Samuri, declared that the period of the minor occultation, which was characterized by the designated delegates, was over; that the period of the major occultation, in which there would be no designated individuals to mediate between the I mam and the Shiites, had begun. This transition meant that the minor occultation had already accomplished its mission and achieved its goal.
Now we can have an idea about the situation, to now that al-Mahdi is a reality that a community of people has lived with his representatives and the mediators of the I mam, whom no one could suspect of cheating nor of playing on words.
Can you imagine how a lie could last for nearly seventy years, which four individuals would successively assume and agree upon and continue to interact with others a reality that they lived; that nothing would escape their control, which would cause a doubt in people's minds; that there would be no particular relation between the four through which they could gain the .trust of everyone and their belief in the truth of the matter, which they pretend to live and feel?
The success of any operation of social change is bound by certain conditions and objective circumstances without which it cannot achieve its aims.
However, all the operations of social change, from Allah relies on objective circumstances, and its timing. Therefor heaven act waited five centuries of ignorance (al-jahiliyyah) before sending its last messenger Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his progeny), since the objective circumstances and the execution required this delay although the world had been waiting for it for a long time.
Of course, the unchangeable custom of Allah in every Divine operation of change in its executive side is always in accordance with the objective circumstances, the appropriate climate and the general atmosphere for its success hence Islam came only after a great gap and long period which lasted for centuries after the messengers
Although Allah, the Exalted, could have overcome all the obstacles and difficulties that were on the way of the Divine message and created the appropriate climate by way of miracles, He often preferred not to use such a style, since the way that make the human being perfect required that this Divine task be natural and objective.
However, this did not prevent Allah, the Exalted, from interfering it from time to time to some details that did not shape the appropriate climate, such as the support that Allah, the Exalted, grants on his saints during some of their difficult moments, so as to protect the message. So suddenly Numrud's fire becomes cool and a peace for Ibrahim. However, these events did not go before the appropriate atmosphere had been already formed in a natural way.
In this light we can examine al-Mahdi's position to find that the operation of change, for which he had been prepared, is linked, on at least three executive sides, as is the case with any other operation of social change such as:
1- An operation of such a scale requires a worldwide climate which fulfil the required objective circumstance.
2- From a human perspective we should consider the feeling and experiences of exhaustion as an essential factor for the creation of that appropriate climate for the acceptance of the new message of justice. This feeling is established and implanted through the various experiments of civilization. The man comes overloaded with negativism regarding what has been built, thereupon turning with his natural disposition to the unseen or the unknown.
3- From a material view, the modern conditions of life are better equipped to realize the aims of the message worldwide than the conditions that existed in the previous periods owing to what has been achieved in terms of shorter distances and a greater ease of interaction between the different nations of the world, as well as the availability of instruments and means that a central organization needs in order to carry out its programme for the awareness of the different nations.
The idea of this question, is related to a particular view of history in which man is only a secondary factor. In this sense the individual can only be, in the best situations, the intelligent expression to the essential factor of society.
However, the history is made up of two poles: The first one being man and the second the worldly power that surrounds him. Thus, while this power arising from, the circumstances of production and nature affect man, the latter also exerts an influence upon them. Moreover, there is no evidence for the assumption that the movement starts from material conditions and ends up with man, but it can also be the contrary. Since both factors interact at the same time (simultaneously). Within this framework, an individual can be more than a parrot in the historical trend, especially when we take into account his relation with heaven, as the case of all the prophets, especially the last one. The relation of his message with heaven and based on it Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his progeny), changed direction of the historical movement and started a new civilizeation which the objective circumstances around him, could not bring about in any case.
As long as we do not know anything concerning that phase, its environment or its circumstances, we cannot prediction what would take place on the appointed day, although we can imagine or give certain assumptions in this respect, which are founded on theoretical bases and not on realistic grounds.
There is one basic assumption which we can adopt in the light of some narratives and some great changes in the of history, that the appearance of al-Mahdi (peace be up on him) will be after a great gap which is a result of shocking of crisis is civilization. This gap will give the opportunity for the message of al-Mahdi (P.U.H) to expand and the decadence of civilization will prepare the needed mental condition for its acceptance.
However, this decadence in civilization will not an occur suddenly in the history of human civilization, but a natural result of a contradiction in a history that is cut off from Allah the Exalted, and cannot reach to a decisive solution in the end of its course.

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