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In the present times, the worldwide condition of Islam is such that, despite of its being divine and veracious (truthful) religion, it is despised by many upto the extent of enmity. The reason being false propaganda and baseless misconceptions. Same is the conditions of belief in ‘Mahdaviyat’ in Islamic world. And inspite of it being one of the cardinal beliefs, majority of Muslims consider it as fictitious and fabricated one. There is a group among them who either willingly or unwillingly accept this belief due to chain of narrations. But they reject those traditions which is related with the attributes and personality of Hazrat Mahdi (A.S.).
Whatsoever misunderstandings regarding the belief in ‘Mahdaviyat are there, two groups of scholars are responsible for that. Firstly, if we cast a cursory glance on the history of Muslim rulers and their times we will see there were always be a group of people, who apparently by their attires and traits were scholars but in reality their beliefs and ideologies were that of an ignorant man, their behavior were sufficiently convincing of their sycophancy. They were those who at times in order to conceal falsehood and at other times to prove the government as a divine government committed every vicious and villainous deed. Let us call them as “Imitative Scholars”, (Since they always imitated the shadow of falsehood). These scholars went on a spree to propagate against the belief in Mahdaviyat in several ways. Sometimes the traditions related to Mahdaviyat were regarded weak. Sometimes, they added such a phrase to be relevant and suited the Imposter Mahdi’ and in this way, they shatter the very foundation of this belief. And following in the foot-steps of the same scholars, some recent scholars have rejected the fundamentals of this belief and considered it an absolutely un-Islamic belief, fabricated by Shias.
“The second group of those who reject this belief are those whose thinking have been influenced by materialistic outlook and they breath in the environment of materialism. Thus materialism had penetrated even into their beliefs. Consequently, either they reject transcendental and hidden aspects from their base, or they try to mould them into materialistic frame-work. Leave aside the aspect of Mahdaviyat, they have not even spared the belief in Revelation, Prophethood and above all : Monotheism…………………….The only reason being that after accepting the materialistic ideas, it is impossible to believe in transcendental ideas. Since the belief in Mahdaviyat is also a belief in hidden concept and more over to believe that Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) is a mortal like us and though he passes his life amongst us, he is far from our vision. Hence this belief for materialists is like adding insult to injury. Thus to relieve themselves from this belief they reject this idea outrightly and refuse to accept the existence of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.). Subsequently, the refusal of first group increases the haughtiness of the second group.
There are innumerable replies to the doubts and baseless notions of both the aforementioned groups. And these doubts themselves are self-contradictory and inherently weak. But it is not possible for us to quote those replies over here. Interested readers may refer to the books compiled redundantly to refute the ideas of skeptics and disbeliever, only through those parameters which are accepted by consensus of Muslims Viz. ‘Quran and Traditions………And in this regard, we will also furnish proofs from some very reliable and trustworthy Ouranic exponents………….and traditionalists……… of ‘Ahle-Sunnat from their very authentic books. And for the understanding of a layman we will also produce some historical evidences from history and view points of ancient Sunni scholars. So that the truth becomes manifest and explicit and righteous may be notified from them.
I) The Interpreters of Quran : have mentioned countless ayats regarding Hazrat Mahdi (A.S.) from Quran. And moreover many books have been complied by the name of “MAHDI IN QURAN”. But over here we will confine our discussion to those ayats which, interpreters have related it to Hazrat Mahdi (A.S.) by some source or reference.
1) Imam Abu Ishaq Thalabi who is a renown exponent of Quran writes in his exegeses in “The ayat of Quran……… Means.
indicates means the war between Quraish and Almawali in which Quraish will emerge victorious………relates to…… which means the Rulers of Bai Abbas and ……. is letter to Hazrat Mahdi which means! …….chapter…7 related from Naeem Ibne Hammad)
2) Imam Abu Ishaq Thalabi writes in the … of 9th ayat of Surah-kahf which is particular to Ashabe Kahf that Holy Prophet (as) said that : Mahdi (a.s.) will say Salam to Ashabe-Kahf and Ashabe-Kahf will reply to it and by the order of God will again revert to their condition, and will not rise before Quiyamat (2-Iqdud-Dorar-chapter 7).
3) Muqatil Ibn Sulaiman and his followers regarding the ayat……opined that it is concerning the re-appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.)…..Over here refers to…..(i.e. the hour of re-appearance) of H. Mahdi (a.s.)
4) The author of Nurul-Absaar, Shablanji writes in his book on page no. 188. In the book so tafsir the details of ayat ……. (Surah Zukhruf Ayat) is mentioned as it is pertaining to H. Mahdi (a.s.) who is in the offspring of Janabe-Fatema (a.s.). Reference : As-Sawaaequl Mohreqapage. 96, Is aafur-Raghebin page. 156, Surah Zukhruf ayat-61).
5) Allama Shahabuddin who is popularly known as Malakul-Ulama Shamsuddin Ibn Umar Al-Hindi, who had compiled a tafsir by the name of ‘Al-Bahrul Mawaj’ writes in his tafsir on the authority of Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari, he quotes a tradition that : Jabir went to meet Janabe-Zahra (a.s.). He saw she is having tablets over which names of Imams were inscribed. who were from the progeny on H.Fatema (a.s.)………Then name of Zainul-Abedin who is the son of Hussain, who is father of nine Imams, then next Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.) and upto the ninth Imam Mohammad (after Hussain) who is Al-Hujjatullah Al-Qaem Imam Mahdi (a.s.) He will disappear, will have long life. Like among believers, Hazrat Isa, Hazrat Ilyas and H.Khizr were having longlife and among disbelievers. ‘Dajjal’ and Saamri’ were having long-lives.
II Traditionalists.
1) Ahmed Ibn Hanbal in his ‘Musnad’ and Tirmizi, Abu Dawood and Ibn Maajah in their ‘Sehah’ record one tradition verbation as…….Translation. “Even if a single day will remain in the tenure of this world, then Allah will raise a man from my progeny who fill this earth with justice as it will be replete with injustice and oppression”. (Is aafur-Raghebin, Nurul-Absar–134, Al-Bayan fi Akhbare – Sahibuz – zaman – 85).
2. Similarly, another oft-repeated tradition has been quoted profusely, the contents of which are. “In the last days a man will appear from my progeny, whose name will be same as as mine and his epithet will be similar to mine. He will fill this earth with equity and justice as it will be fraught with injustice and oppression”. (Tazkertul-Khaowas, Sibt Ibn Jauzi-204)
3) Abu Saeed Khudri says that : ‘I heard Prophet of Allah saying that : “After me there will be twelve Imams, among them ninth after Hussain will be “Mahdi.” (Nurul-Absar-Shablanji page 255).
4) Holy Prophet (s) said : “Mahdi is from my progeny from the offspring of H.Fatema Zahra (S.A.) ” (Sunan Abi Dawood-Kitabul-Mahdi, Vol-4-page. 151)
5) Holy Prophet (s) said : “Whosoever denies the uprising of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) had denied each and
everything revealed upon me and as a result becomes infidel”. (Faraedus-Simtain-Hamuiy).
The aforementioned traditions are authentic and explicitly regarding Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) who will rise in the last days, who is from the progeny of Imam Hussain (a.s.) and H. Fatema (s.a.). Particularly, the last traditions shows the importance of this belief viz. ‘the disbelievers in this (H. Mahdi) is like disbeliever in Quran and is an infidel. Although, this much is sufficient for………i.e. men of understanding, but we for the sake of utmost satisfaction delve into the view points of Scholars.
III Scholars:
1) Sayed Ahmed Zaini Dahlan, the Mufti of Makka Opines on the traditions pertaining to ‘Mahdi’ (a.s.) that : “Such traditions are Mutawatir’ (too profusely repeated), among them some are ‘Sahih’ (Correct), some are ‘Hasan. (approved Good) and some are ‘Zaif (weak)”.
It is crystal clear from the statement of Mufti of Makka, that though some traditions are “weak” but still they are Mutawatir (i.e. profusely quoted). And it is well-known to the learned-men, especially those who are expert in)….. Ilme – Rejaal ‘ (study of narrators of traditions) that if any traditions attains the merit of “Tawatur’ (continuously & profusely repeated) then some weak traditions cannot effect its authenticity and we have pointed towards this fact in our various editions sufficiently.
2- In Al-Lumaat, Shaikh Abdul Haq wrote: “The traditions regarding the existence of Hazrat .Mahdi are abundant, from which is is clear that Mahdi (a.s.) will be from the progeny of Fatema Zahra (s.a.) (Footnote of Sahih Tirmizi vol. 2 page 46.)
3-Allama and Faqihatul-Harmain, Abu Abdullah Mohammad Yusuf Al-Quraishi, Al-Ganji-Shafei has devoted one entire chapter to this subject, which is fifteenth chapter of his book, the subject is “The proof for life, existence, seclusion and remaining alive of Mahdi uptil now” and in this chapter he has propounded some in controvertible proofs in support of his claim. (Al-Bayan – fi Akhbare – Sahibuzzaman – page, 102)
4-Aalimul – Allama – Shamsuddin Yusuf Al-Hanafi -Sibt ibn Jauzi ….. that Mahdi (a.s.) is Mohammad bin Hasan ….. bin Abi Talib (a.s.), his epithet is Abu abdullah, Abul – Qasim, he is Khalaful Hujjat, Sahebuzzaman, Qaem¬al-Muntazar and last Imam (a.s.)
5-Qazi Behlul Behjat writer. “The birth of Imam Mahdi (a. s.) occurred on 15th Shabaan 255 A.H., his mother was Narjis Khatun, his father expired, when he was only 5 years old”. He continues….. ‘he had two occultations firstly Ghaibate-Sughra (Minor Occultation) and he will remain alive until Allah permits him to re-appear and fill with tyranny and oppression.” (Tarikhe-Aale Mohammad-page, 270.).
6-Shahabuddin Ibn Hajar Al-Hanafi states that “Mahdi’s age at the time of his father’s demise was 5 years. He was bestowed with wisdom and erudition. He is known by the name of Al-Qaem – Al-Muntazar.” (As-Sawaequl-Mohreqa page, 124)
Apart from these scholars many other jurists have also given their verdicts in favour of existence of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.), some of them are as below :¬
1) Abu Suroor Ahmed bin Ziyaa Al – Hanfi
2) Mohammad bin Mohammad Al-Maleki
3) Yahya bin Mohammad bin Al-Hanbali
Let us now analyse the viewpoints of ancient and reliable historians regarding Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) in the historical perspective. So that his existence may be proved from all the angles and viewpoints.
IV. Historians
1-Qazi Ahmed Ibn Khallakaan writes : “Abul Qasim Mohammad bin Hasan Askari ….. who according to the creed of Imamiyat is twelfth Imam, and is known by the name of Al-Hujjah.” And Ibne Arzaq in his history (Mayafareqin) has also recorded the date of birth of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.). (Wafayatul-Aajen-vol.3 page, 316.)
2-Abu Mohammad Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Al-Khashaab indites in his book of history; Mawalidul Aaimma wafyatuhum.’ “He is the bearer of two names, ‘Al-Khalaf and Mohammad’ and he will reappear in the last days of era. A part of the cloud will always shadow him on his head. Wherever he may go this cloud will also accompany him while shadowing over-head. And a very eloquent voice will be heard from grand heavens ….. that, this is Mahdi”. (Al-Majalisus saniyyah vol. 5 page, 586.)
3- Historian Abdul Malik Usaami Makki while writing about H. Mahdi (a.s.) states that “Mohammad Mahdi (a.s.) son of Hasan Askari (a.s.) son of Ali Taqi (a.s.) son of…..son of Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with all of them). His birth took place of Friday on 15th Shabaan, 255 A.H. And this is most accurate year of birth. His mother’s name was Susan or ‘Narjis’. His epithet is Abul Qasim and his agnomen are Al-Hujjah, Al-Khalafe – Saleh Al-Qaem – Al¬Muntazar, Sahebuz-zaman and ‘Mahdi’ And among these ‘Mahdi’ is the most famous title”. He writes further while explaining the matter in detail regarding his personality. …. broad and sturdy shoulders, with handsome and pleasing face, beautiful hairs and broad forehead. His father expired when he was only five year old.” (Samatun-Nujum-il¬awaali- vol.4 page, 138).
4-Shaikh Akbar Mohyiddin Ibn Arabi in his ‘Futuhaat’ writes about the uprising of Mahdi (a.s.) that “He will not reappear unless the world is filled with injustice and oppression to such an extent that a single day is left in the tenure of this world. He will be from the offspring of the Prophet(s) and progeny of Fatema (s.a.) His forefather is Imam Hussain (a.s.) and his father is Imam Hasan Askari (a. s.) “.
From all the proofs mentioned above it is proved that the Belief in Mahdaviyat’ is one of the branches of the tree of Islamic creed. Last Prophet Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa (s.a. w.) has explained quite many traditions in this regard, from which it is proved that Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) is from the progeny of Fatema, son of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and twelfth Imam, finally Prophet(s) has also mentioned about his two occultations. And Keeping the importance of belief in view, it is also explained that denying the belief is tantamount to accept infidelity. (Kufr.) Especially those traditions of Prophet(s) which expound the concept of occultations and longevity is for the attention of those scholars whose ideology is influenced and affected by materialism and hence they have rejected this belief outrightly.