The Pseudo-Mahdis

(10) Tradition Reported by Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali Jawad:
Imam Muhammad Taqi Jawad told ‘Abd al-‘Azim Hasani:
Our Qa’im is the same as the promised Mahdi whom you should await and when he appears you should obey. He will be my third descendant. I swear by the God who sent Muhammad as the Prophet and appointed us as the Imams that even if there remains a single day on earth, God will prolong it until the Mahdi emerges and fills the earth with justice and equity as it is filled with injustice and tyranny. God takes care of His affairs overnight just as He managed the affairs of Moses in one night. Moses had gone to fetch fire for his family and he returned having been fully designated as God’s prophet.
The Imam then added: “Awaiting for the deliverance to come is the best act for our Shi’a.” [28](11) Tradition Narrated by Imam ‘Ali Naqi:
Imam ‘Ali Naqi said: “Following me my son Hasan is the Imam, and following Hasan it will be the Qa’im who will fill the earth with justice and equity.” [29](12) Tradition Narrated by Imam Hasan ‘Askari:
Imam Hasan ‘Askari told Musa b. Ja’far Baghdadi:
I see you disputing in the matter of the Imam after me. Be aware that anyone who acknowledges the Imams after the Prophet, but rejects the Imamate of my son is like the one who has accepted the prophethood of all the prophets except the prophethood of Muhammad. The one who denies the latter is like the one who has denied all other prophets. The reason is that obedience to the last Imam is like obedience to the first Imam among us. Hence, whoever rejects the last among us is like the one who has rejected the first Imam. Let it be known to you that the occultation of my son will be so much prolonged that people will fall in doubt except for those whose faith God protects. [30]Are these Traditions about the Mahdi Authentic?
Engineer Madani: You can follow these traditions only if they are sound and reliable. Do you regard all these traditions about the Mahdi reliable?
Mr. Hoshyar: I do not claim that all the traditions, on the subject of the Mahdi are highly reliable and that all its narrators are trustworthy. However, there are some among these that could be regarded as unquestionably authentic. These traditions, like all other traditions, include authentic, good, reliable, and weak cases. It is not necessary to go through the investigation of each one of them because, as you have noticed, these traditions are so numerous that any fair minded and unprejudiced person can refer to them with confidence. This confidence is based on the underlying theme in all of them that the existence of the Mahdi was among the well known subjects of Islam whose seeds were sown by the Prophet himself and whose detailed information was provided by the Imams. It is possible to maintain with certainty that in Islam there are few other subjects which could muster so many related traditions as can be summoned concerning the existence of the Mahdi.
Let me elaborate. From the beginning of his mission until the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet had mentioned the subject of the Mahdi innumerable times. Following the Prophet, Imam ‘Ali, Fatima Zahra and other prominent members of the Family, had carried on the tradition of reporting about the future coming of the Mahdi. After all they were the carriers of the Prophetic knowledge. After the death of the Prophet in the year 632 CE, Muslims were counting the days for the Mahdi to appear. This led them to recognize the false pretenders who appeared from time to time in history. These traditions were reported by all schools of Islamic thought, such as the Sunnis, the Shi’is, the Ash’ari and Mu’tazili theologians, as related by the Arab, Persian, Meccan and Medinese narrators as well as those from Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, and so on. With all these traditions, which actually number more than a thousand, is it possible for any fair minded person to cast doubt in the matter of the future coming of the Mahdi by claiming that these traditions were fabricated by the extremist Shi’is and ascribed to the Prophet?
It was getting late at night and there was no time to continue the discussion any further. Hence, the decision was made to take up more discussion in the future session to be held at Dr. Fahimi’s residence.
1. Shahrastani, Milal wa nihal, Vol. 1, p. 232; Nawbakhti, Firaq al-shi’a, Najaf edition, p. 27.
2. Milal, Vol. 1, p. 256; Firaq, p. 62.
3. Milal, Vol. 1, pp. 273, 278; Firaq, pp. 67, 80, 83.
4. Muhammad Karim Khurasani, Tanbihat al-jaliyya fi kashf al-asrar al-batiniyya (Najaf, 1351), pp. 40-42.
5. Milal, Vol. 1, pp. 245, 279.
6. Mir Khwand, Tarikh-i Rawdat al-safa, Tehran edition, Vol. 4, p. 181.
7. Milal, Vol. 1, p. 284; Firaq, pp. 96, 97.
8. Firaq., pp. 47, 97.
9. Fusul al-muhimma, p. 274.
10. p. 164.
11. Dhakha’ir al-‘uqba, p. 206.
12. Ibid., p. 206. See also al-Sawa’iq al-muharriqa, p. 235.
13. Yanabi’ al-mawadda, Vol. 1, p. 57.
14. Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 7, p. 27.
15. Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 7, p. 34.
16. Ibid., Vol. 7, p. 28.
17. Ibid., Vol. 7, p. 242.
18. Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 7, p. 147.
19. This number is derived from the hadith collected in Safi Gulpaygani’s Muntakhab al-athar which deals with the subject under consideration here. We shall limit ourselves to only a few examples from this compilation. Readers interested in more of these traditions should consult this important work.
20. Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 2, p. 552. There are three more traditions here reported from Fatima Zahra.
21. Ibid., Vol. 2, p. 555. There are four other traditions reported from Imam Hasan.
22. Ibid., Vol. 2, pp. 333, 399; Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 133. There are thirteen more traditions reported from Imam Husayn.
23. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 135. There are additionally ten traditions reported on the authority of Imam ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.
24. Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 2, p. 559. Additionally, there are sixty-six traditions related on the authority of al-Baqir.
25. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 143; Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 2, p. 404. There are one hundred and twenty-three additional traditions reported on the authority of al-Sadiq.
26. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 151; Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 417.
27. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 52, p. 322; Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 420. There are additionally eighteen traditions reported on the authority of Imam ‘Ali al-Rida.
28. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 156; Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 419. There are five other traditions reported on the authority of Imam Muhammad Taqi.
29. Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 275. There are additionally five traditions related by Imam ‘Ali Naqi.
30. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 160; Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 427. In addition, there are twenty one traditions reported on the authority of Imam Hasan ‘Askari.

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