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Why Believe The Shia Mahdi

From the times of Prophet Muhammad (saw) up to and long after the times of Mutamid and Motasim of the Abasi khalif, it was known to all the Muslims that the 12th successor of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), by the name of Mahdi, would form a government and establish the law of God on earth. This is why both Shia and Sunni Muslims are looking forward to the coming of Mahdi.

In all sunni ahadith which will be discussed later on, the rising of the Mahdi is foretold before the end of the world, no where it is mentioned that he will be given birth before the end. Authentic historians have recorded the birth of Muhammad Mahdi, in 255 AH (29 July 869) on 15 shabaan, son of Imam hassan askari, son of Imam Ali Naqi…. Who is from the blessed lineage of Prophet Muhammad himself. This Muhammad Mahdi is the 11th generation grandson of prophet Muhammad, and the 12th imam of the shia lineage, all from the pure lineage of Hz Ali and Hz Fatima, leading upto the Prophet Muhammad himself, thus verifying all of the latter mentioned sunni ahadith.

Prophet Ibrahim was given imamat and only his lineage produced imams as per the quranic verses:

And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.
Quran [2:124]

Thus prophethood continued through his son Ishaq until Hz Isa. Through Ismail came prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the 12 Imams, Mahdi being the last. Thus before the end, both these Imams, Jesus and Mahdi, One from the loins of Ishaq and one frsom Ismail, both from the lineage of Prophet Ibrahim, will return, to fulfill the prophecies.

"The affairs of the people will continue to be conducted as long as they are governed by 12 men, he than added from Quraysh."
Sahih Muslim, Hadith number 4478, English translation by Abdul Hamid Siddiqui

Narrated By Jabir bin Samura: I heard the Prophet saying, "There will be TWELVE Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world)." He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, "All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish."
Sahih Bukhari Vol 9, Book 89  Judgments (Ahkaam) Hadith 329

Abu Nadra reported:" We were in the company of Jabir b. 'Abdulldh that he said it may happen that the people of Iraq may not send their qafiz and dirhams (their measures of food stuff and their money). We said: Who would be responsible for it? He said: The non_Arabs would prevent them. He again said: There is the possibility that the people of Syria may not send their dinar and mudd. We said: Who would be responsible for it? He said This prevention would be made by the Romans. He (Jabir b. Abdullab) kept quiet for a while and then reported Allah', s Messenger (may peas be upon him) having said There would be a caliph in the last (period) of my Ummah who would freely give handfuls of wealth to the people wiothout counting it. I said to Abu Nadra and Abu al-'Ala: DO you mean 'Umarb. 'Abd al-Aziz? They said: No (he would be Imam Mahdi.).
Sahih Muslim Book 041, Number 6961

Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu'minin: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The Mahdi will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatimah. Abdullah ibn Ja'far said: I heard AbulMalih praising Ali ibn Nufayl and describing his good qualities.
Sunan Abu Dawud Book 36, Number 4271

Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead a prominent nose. He will fill the earth will equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years.
Sunan Abu Dawud Book 36, Number 4272

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If only one day of this world remained. Allah would lengthen that day (according to the version of Za'idah), till He raised up in it a man who belongs to me or to my family whose father's name is the same as my father's, who will fill the earth with equity and justice as it has been filled with oppression and tyranny (according to the version of Fitr). Sufyan's version says: The world will not pass away before the Arabs are ruled by a man of my family whose name will be the same as mine.
Sunun Abu Dawud Book 36, Number 4269

Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If only one day of this time (world) remained, Allah would raise up a man from my family who would fill this earth with justice as it has been filled with oppression.
Sunan Abu Dawud Book 36, Number 4270

Following is a list of some sunni texts which claim that Imam Askari left a son named Mahdi behind him.

 Muhammad b. Taiha Shafi1a writes: “Abu al- Qasim Muhammad b£ Hasan was born in the year 255 AH in Samara. His father's name was Hasan. Among the titles (of this last imam) are: Hujjat, Khalaf Salih (the righteous offspring) arid Muntazar (the awaited one).”  These hadith - reports confirm the existence of Imam Hasan Askari's son, who is in concealment and will appear later.
Matalib al-su'al (1287 AH edition), p.89.

Muhammad b. Yusuf, following his entry on the death of Imam Hasan Askari, writes: "He did not have any child beside Muhammad- It is said that he is the same as the awaited 'main (Imam Muntazar).
Kitayat al-talib, p.312.

Yusuf b. Qazughli writes: “His (Hasan Askari) son's name is Muhammad, and his patronymic is Abu Abd Allah and Abu al - Qasim. He is the proof of God’s existence, the Master of the Age, the Qa1im~ and the Muntazar. The Imamate has come to an end with him." Then he reports traditions about the Mahdi.
Tadlikirat khawass al-urnina, p.363.

Shablanji in the book entitled Nur al - absar, writes: "Muhammad is the son of Hasan Askari. His mother was a slave girl by the name of Narjis or Sayqal or Sawsan. His patronymic is Abu al- Qasim. The Twelve Shiites know him as: Hujjat, Mahdi, Khalaf Salih, Qa'im, Muntazar, and Master of the Age.”
Nur al-absar (Cairo edition), p.342.

Ibn Hajar, in his al- Sawa'iq al- Muharriqa, following the biography of Imam Hasan Askari writes: "He has not left a son besides Abu al- Qasim, who is known as Muhammad and Hujjat. That boy was five years old when his father died.
al-Sawa1iq al-muhairiqa, p.206.

Muhammad Amin Baghdadi in the book entitled: Saba'ik al - dhahab writes: “Muhammad, who is also known as Mahdi, was five years old at the time of his father's death."
Saba'ik al-dhahab, p.78.

Sha'rani writes: "Mahdi is the son of Imam Hasan Askari. He was born on the fifteenth night of Sha'ban, 255 AH. He is alive and will remain so until he will emerge with Jesus. Now it is 957 A.H. He is, thus, 703 years old."
al-Yawaqit wa al-jawahir (1351 AH edition), Vol.2~ p.143.

Khwaja Parsa in his book Fasl as' khitab writes: "Muhammad, the son of Hasan Askari, was born on fifteenth night of Sha'ban, 255 AH / 870 CE. His mother's name was Narjis. His father died when he was five years of age. From that time until now he is in occultation. He is the awaited Imam of Shia. His existence is well established among his companions, trusted associates and family. God will prolong his age as He has done in the case of Elijah and Eliash."
Yanabi al-mawadda, Vol.2, p.126.

Muhammad b. Ali Hamawi writes: "Abu as'- Qasim Muhammad Muntazar was born in Samarra." Ta’rikh mansuri, microfilm copy of the Moscow manuscript, folio number 114.

In short, besides all these above intentioned Sunni scholars there are numerous others who have recorded the birth of Imam Hasan Askari's son. Thus there should be no doubt that the awaited Mahdi will not be born in modern times but will reappear from major occultation. Does the above mentioned sunni ahadith which speak about elongating of a single day ring any bell?

Just as Pharaoh feared the coming of Mosses and ordered the killing of every male child born to Israelis, Motamid the Khalif of the time also feared the 12th successor of Muhammad and hence ordered his spies to keep a keen eye on Hassan al Askari (the 11th successor of prophet Muhammad (saw)). His spies were to inform him as soon as the child was born so that he may slay the child thus preventing him from taking to rule over the people. Little did the faithless tyrant know that he could not alter what Allah (SWT) willed.

The birth of Mahdi (A) was not announced openly but people who gathered at the house of Hassan al Askari heard the introduction and the praises of Mahdi and kept their contact after the demise of Imam Hassan (A). When Imam Hassan (A) died as a result of the poison administered to him by the tyrant Motamid, His son Muhammad ibn Hassan al Mahdi was only five years old.

The City of Samarah was so immersed in sadness and lamentations upon the martyrdom of Imam Hassan, that all the people closed down their place of work and went to Imam Hassan's house. The great multitude, carried the body of Imam Hassan for burial in the most respectable manner. Mutamid was bewildered at the movement of masses, that he tried hard to cover up his crime, and he tried to portrayed the passing away of Hassan as a natural death. Mutamid sent the brother of Hassan Askari to attend to the burial rituals and to make people believe that nobody killed Hassan (A). And he also took up the work of distributing the wealth of Imam Hassan (A) so as to show that he had no heir. When the people gathered for funeral prayers and Hassan's brother stood to lead the prayers, Imam Mahdi who was only 5 years old came forward, pushed his Uncle aside and led the funeral prayer himself, indicating to the public that he was the heir to Hassan al Askari. After leading the Funeral prayers Imam Muhammad al Mahdi went into Ghaibah Sugrah (short disappearance from public which lasted for 71 years (from the age of 5 to 76))

In this period of 71 years, when Imam would only see his friends and associates, who came with their problems and received guidance, while the government officials and agents were deprived from his audience. During this period Imam (A) appointed four representatives, one after the other, who would attend to the affairs of people and carry the letters to and fro, between Imam (A) and the people. The four Representatives of Imam (A) were:

  1. Usman bin Saeed
  2. Muhammad bin Usman
  3. Husain bin Raoh
  4. Ali bin Muhammad Sumairi.

These were the trusted companions who executed their duties faithfully. The period of Ghaibah-e-Kubrah (Major Occultation), started from 329 AH and has continued to date. When the life of the fourth representative was coming to an end, Imam (A) informed him that he will pass away from this world in four days, and thus he should finish the pending work. Imam (A) ordered him not to nominate any person after him and that he should inform the Shias that Imam (A) will be going into ghaibah kubrah for a long period. People will not have access to him and so they should follow the most learned in religious maters.

Near the end of the world when the religion will almost be nonexistent and there will be pain and tribulation, war and famine, and the world will be drowned in sorrows, Imam (A) will come out of ghaibah by the orders by Allah (SWT) and take control and establish the divine law on the earth. Peace will return to the world and mankind will see the benefit of the guidance of Allah (SWT).

"The world will not come to an end," said the Prophet Muhammad, " until a man from my family (Ahlulbayt) and of my name shall be master of the world, When you see a green ensign coming from the direction of Khorasan, then join them, for the Imam of God will be with the standards who will be called al-Mahdi." "The Mahdi will be descended from me, he will be a man with an open countenance and a face with a high nose. He will fill the earth with equity and with justice, just as it has been filled with tyranny and oppression."
Biharul Anwar, Majlisi

As far as the longevity of his life, in Qur'anic terms it is not difficult to explain. Prophet Jesus is alive and will come out with the 12th Imam. Prophet Khidhr is still alive according to the Verdict of notable wahabi commentators of the Qur'an, such as Ibn Taiyamiya.

And as for [the question regarding] his life: then he is alive . And the hadith is question [my note: the hadith in the question posed to the Sheikh] has no basis, and no isnad is known for it either. On the contrary, what has been narrated in Musnad Al-Shafi’i and other books is that [Khidr] did meet the Prophet (s).

If God keeps his guided ones alive for a certain purpose there should not be any doubt. The time will come, which may be too late for many of us, but when the curtain of absence will be removed, Imam al-Mahdi (AS) will reappear and as predicted by the Prophet, fill the world with justice and equity, discarding the prevailing injustices and oppressions. May God bring about his early reappearance and ease his coming.

As for the usefulness of his concealed existence, there are numerous occasions when the Imam miraculously helped those who called him for help. Although absent and unrepresented, Imam al-Mahdi (AS) still guides people and defends the faith. His occultation is beneficial to us just as "The sun behind the clouds" benefits the people.

Imam al-Mahdi went into major occultation in 260/874 when he became Imam. The last time that he was seen, was in the cellar of his father's house in Samarra, Iraq. That is why it is rumored regarding Shia that they believe al-Mahdi is in the cave!!! Some Sunni historians ignorantly attributed that Shia believe al-Mahdi is hiding in the cellar. Shia do NOT believe that Imam al-Mahdi is in the Cave or Cellar! He was just seen there for the last time. He can be anywhere Allah wishes. However one thing is clear is that he lives on the earth among people while people do not perceive. If that cellar has become famous as "Cellar of Occultation" (Sardab al-Ghaybah), it is because it was made so by the non-Shi'i sources. There is NO mention of such name by the Shia scholars.

As said, for those who believe, a coincidence is a sign, for those who do not, a sign is a coincidence. The "coincidence" of the similarities between Isa (AS) from the progeny of Ishaq (AS) and Mahdi (AS) from the progeny of Ismail (AS) is a sign of acceptance of prayers of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), that before the end of times, Imams from both his lineage will be present to represent him.

Sunnis are also Waiting for a Mahdi, the promised savior. How ever they believe that Mahdi will be born in modern times and the people will recognize him during Hajj and from then on he will lead the people. Sunnis believe that disobeying the Mahdi will amount to sin.

I question! How will the Mahdi know that he is the promised savior? Will an angel reveal it to him, will people nominate him? And if this Mahdi is not an infallible, how would disobeying him amount to a sin? Sunnis call him Imam Mahdi. What does the word Imam mean to them?

Rasool (SAW) left behind two weighty things!

Yazid b. Hayyan reported, .... One day Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and. exhorted (us) and said: Now to our purpose. O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah's call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family........
Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5920

As Allama Talib Johri states, Allah blessed with the Ummah two things, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the Quran. It is not fair to leave the rest of the people with just one thing while some had the blessings of two things, thus Rasool (SAW) left behind two things, the Quran and his Ahlulbayt. How is it possible that today only one of the two remains? Muhammad's (SAW) Mahdi (AS) exists and waits for the command of Allah before he re-appears and does what is promised.

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