One of the common beliefs among all nations and religions
is believing in a divine savior who is the cause3 of vast blessings and
charity for human being. Of course, such savior differs from one nation
to another; and it would be discussed in the article: Mahdi (A.S.) in religions.
in a savior is in human's nature that causes hope giving and inspiring.
Shia insists explicitly on existence of a savior, Mahdi (A.S.), but the difference is that in Ithna'ashari Shia (1), believing in Mahdi (A.S.) is one of the principles of the school. Prayers to Allah (SWT) and acceptance of worships would be accomplished only by believing in this important base.
In this article Shiite's opinion on definite believing in a savior will be emphasized.
Who is the Savior according to Shiite beliefs?
Shiites believe that the Savior (Mahdi (A.S.)) is the ninth descent of Imam Hussain (A.S.), the third Imam of Shiites. Imam Hussain (A.S.) is the son of Imam Ali (A.S.)
and Lady Fatimah (A.S.) the Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W.) daughter. Mahdi
(A.S.) is son of Imam Hassan Askari (A.S.) (the eleventh Imam of
Shiites). According to reliable narratives from the Holy Prophet
(S.A.W.), Mahdi (A.S.) is his namesake. He was born in the city of
Samarrah in Iraq in year 255 AH (Lunar Calendar). He is one of the
people who live much longer than other in history. Shiites believes that
he is alive but away from people's eyes. Mahdi's (A.S.) occultation
(not absence) is the will of Allah (SWT), however, this occultation has
protected his life.
(A.S.) is the twelfth Imam of Ithna'ashari Shiites and their greatest
leader in the world at present and Shiite's flag is in his hands. His
location is not known exactly and Shiites believe that he lives among
people.He is the most pious, just, learned and truthful of all the
people. Shia considers him as an infallible (which means he is away from
any sin and fault). He is the true interpreter of Holy Quran and the
performer of right commandments of Islam. He is the most similar person
to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Allah (SWT) gives His blessing to the
world through Mahdi (A.S.).
He has occulted for an unknown
period, but benefits mankind like the sun behind the clouds. He is the
kindest of all people and whatever Shiite has is indeed from him. There
are many arguments about his occultation, which we will describe in an
article titled "Occultation". There would be relief (Faraj) after this
occultation by the will of Allah (SWT) which is known as "Reappearance"
At first, he will rise from Makkah and will organize a
worldwide revolution to spread justice. He will destroy all the wicked
and will propagate honesty and theism. He will govern the entire world
several years and in the golden era of his appearance, people will
experience a divine government, which was desired by all of previous
prophets and Imams. In this era, Jesus Christ will come from sky to the
earth to help Mahdi (A.S.). The number of his leading companions are 313
(same as the number of soldiers in the first battle of Islam) who are
the outstanding people in the history. In fact most of them do not
belong to that time but they will gain their lives once again by the
command of Allah (SWT) to help Mahdi (A.S.). Further, he will punish the
enemies of previous Imams. More details about this era will be
discussed in the article: "Reappearance Era".
And finally, after
years of his governorship, he will be martyred by the most vicious of
all people and that is the time when all people will die and will be
raised by Allah's (SWT) will in the day of resurrection for the final
Mahdi (A.S.) in Sunni Traditions
It has been talked
about Mahdi (A.S.) in prophetic traditions a lot. Prophetic traditions
are traditions that both Shia and Sunni certify.) As we try to explain
Sunni's beliefs about Mahdi (A.S.) in this article, we refer to
traditions found in Sunni's authentic books so that his advent in
traditions would be recognized.
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "If it remains only one day to the end of the
world, Allah will inspire a man of my family, who will make the world
full of justice after it has become full of oppression." (Sahih Abu
Dawood, vol. 2, p. 208)
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "If it remains only one day to the end of the
world, Allah will elongate that day until a man of my family whose name
is the same as mine will be inspired, he will make the world full of
justice after it ha become full of oppression." (Sahih al-Tirmidhi, vol.
5, p. 343)
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Some time, the world will become full of
oppression, and then a man of my family will appear. He will rule for
seven or nine years and will make the world full of justice." (Musnad
Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 28)
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Mahdi is from my family and a son of my
daughter, Fatimah." (al-Sava’iq, p.163 & Sunan ibn Majah, vol. 2, p.
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Mahdi (A.S.) is from us, he has a long forehead
and a knob on his nose. He will make the world full of justice after it
has become full of oppression." (Sahih Abu Dawood, vol. 2, p. 208)
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "I give you good tidings about Mahdi, he will
be inspired in my community and make the world full of justice as it has
become full of oppression, people will be satisfied with him, and will
divide all properties equally between all people. Allah will make people
free from want and justice will be everywhere." (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 3,
Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Actually, Ali ibn Abitalib is the leader of my
community and my successor. Mahdi is of his sons, by which Allah will
make the world full of justice after it has become full of oppression. I
swear to Allah, who has delegated me, people who abide by his Imamat
during his occultation are rare such as red Sulphur." (Hamwayni in
Fara’id al-Samtain, the end of vol. 2)
al-Rahman al-Suyuti, one of the great Sunni scholars has written in his
book that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Anyone who denies the
appearance of Mahdi has become pagan."
Hajar Haithami Shafe'i has written in his book, al-Sava'iq (p. 164):
"Ab al-Qasim, Prophet Muhammad, al-Hujjat, his age is five when his
father passes away. Allah has given knowledge at that time. He is called
"Qa'im al-Muntadhar", he is the savior of this community and Jesus will
say prayers with him.
Sunnis actually have a lot of things to
say about this subject and even have written many books about it. The
number of them is more than 30, but we list some of them below:
-Al-Burhan fi Akhbare Sahib al-Zaman by Ganji Shafei
-Al-Burhan fi Alamate Akhir al-Zaman (Shah Mulla Muttagi)
-Al-Qaul al-Mukhtasar fi Alamate al-Mahdi (A.S.) al-Muntadhar (Ibn Hajar)
-Mahdi (A.S.) Aal al-Rasool (al-Herawi al-Hanafi)
-Aqd al-Dorar fi Akhbar Imam al-Muntadhar (Jamaleddin Yusefi al-Dimashqi)
-Manaqib al-Mahdi (A.S.) (Hafidh abi Na’im Isfahani)
-Al-Orf al-Wardi fi Akhbar al-Mahdi (A.S.) (al-Suyuti), Kitab al-Mahdi (A.S.) (Abu Dawood)
Belief of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the scholars of Madinah University.The
member of the board of education of Madinah Munawwarah University (Al
Jame Al Islamia Bil Madnatil Munawwarah) Professor Sheikh Abdul Mohsin
Bin Hamdal Abaad presented a paper in an important seminar which was
attended by the vice chancellor Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baaz. The title of
that paper was, "The Belief of Ahle-Sunnat: Signs regarding The Awaited
Mahdi." This article was published in the mouthpiece of the University,
"Majlisul Jame Al Islamia" year one issue no.3 Zilqad ul Haraam 1388
A.H. This treatise is comprising of 40 pages of book size and is divided
into ten sections:
I. An account of those companions who had related traditions regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.) from the Holy Prophet, (s.a.w.a.).
II. An account of the scholars and traditionalists who have mentioned these traditions in their books.
III. An account of those scholars who have compiled books based on this subject.
IV. An account of those scholars who have labeled these traditions to be Mutawatir (widely related).
V. An account of those traditions about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) which are recorded in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
VI. Those traditions which are recorded in other authentic books other than two Sahihs (Bukhari and Muslim).
VII. An account of those scholars who have studied these traditions and accepted it as a part of faith.
VIII. Those who have rejected those traditions. An account of their arguments and their scholarly replies.
IX. An account of those things which overtly oppose these traditions and the replies to these.
Abdul Mohsin completed the presentation, Abdullah bin Baaz praised it
extensively and approved it. He also added some more points.A few points
from the fourth section are presented below in the following paragraph.
It shall be clear from the same that the belief of Mahdaviyat is not
exclusive to Shias, but it is also present in the Sunnis and the belief
of Mahdaviyat is obligatory for all. It could be concluded from this
essay that they (Sunnis) are
also waiting for Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
The excerpt is as follows:
Hafiz Abul Hasan ibn Al-Husam Al-Abri (died 363 A.H.) writes in his book "Manaqib
traditions which are related from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) regarding
Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.) are Mutawatir (consecutively related) and are
to be regarded favorably.Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) is from Ahle Bait
(a.s.).Hafiz Muhammad Al-Bazranji (died 1103 A.H.) has written in the
third chapter of his book "Al Ashaa-a-al-Ashraat- as-saa-a": Reports in
connection with Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) are presented in various ways and
are numerous. It is often reported in authentic traditions that he will
be from the progeny of Janabe Fatema Zahra (s.a.). The reports are so
many that there is no scope for rejection.
Sheikh Muhammad al
Safarini (died 1183 A.H.) writes in his book "Lawame al-Anwaar al
Bahiya": The reports about Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) are so numerous that they
reach the grade of 'Mutawatir' (widely related). They are so famous
among the scholars of Ahle Sunnat that they are considered as their
belief- on the basis of this the belief in the reappearance of Hazrat
Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is necessary. This is what that is accepted by the men
of letters (scholars) and it is the belief of Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat.
Muhammad bin All al-Shaukafi (died 1250 A.H.) states in his book titled
"At-tawzeeh Fi Tawaatur Jame Fil Mahdi Al Muntazar Wai Dajjal Wai
Masih": The total number of traditions regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.) that
we have access to are fifty. Without any doubt these traditions are
'Mutawatir'. The companions have also reported widely about Imam Mahdi
(a.s.). There is no scope for interpretations on a subject so clear.
Siddiq Hasan Khan Kanauji (died 1307 A.H.) has mentioned in his book,
"Al-lzaah he Maakaana wa Maayakoon Baine Yadaee As Saah." The reports
regarding Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.) are so numerous that they attain the
degree of 'Mutawatir'. There is no doubt that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will
reappear in the Aakher az-Zamaan (the last period). However the year and
the month is not prescribed. And none cares for those who reject this.
Muhammad Bin Jafar al-Katam (died 1340 All.) has written in his book,
"Nazmul Mutanaasir Minal Hadith al Mutawatir" Thus the traditions
regarding the Awaited Mahdi are Mutawatir.In the concluding portion of
the essay Abdul Mohsin says that to reject the traditions of Imam Mahdi
(a.s.) or to entertain any doubt concerning them is highly dangerous. We
pray to Allah for well-being, forgiveness and steadfastness upon the
The speech which was delivered by Abdulla Ibn Baaz after the
presentation of this paper was later transcribed from the cassette and
published with the essay.
He says in the speech: "Whatever has
been mentioned by Sheikh Abdul Mohsin Al Abaad is correct and true. The
matter regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is famous and well-known among the
scholars, and the traditions regarding him are Mutawatir. Imam Mahdi
(a.s.) is a blessing of Allah upon the Muslim people in the last period
He will appear and establish truth and justice
and eradicate oppression and tyranny. Allah will hoist the flag of
goodness through him. Through him, only, Allah will guide the people.