The Mahdi

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(1) Texts which describe the Mahdi

It is narrated in the saheeh ahaadeeth that at the end of time, Allah will send a khaleefah who will be wise and just, and will control the affairs of the ummah. He will be one of the family of the Messenger :saw:, descending from Faatimah. His name will be the same as the Messenger, and his father's name will be the same as the name of the father of the Messenger :saw:. The ahaadeeth describe him as having a wide forehead and a hooked nose. He will fill the earth with justice after it has been filled with injustice and oppression. Among the ahaadeeth that have been narrated concerning that are the following:

(i) It is narrated that `Abdullah ibn Mas'ood reported: "The Messenger of Allah :saw: said:

`This world will not pass away until the Arabs are ruled by a man from among my family, whose name will be the same as mine."

(Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood)

According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood, he said,

"Even if there were only one day left for this world, Allah would extend that day last, until Allah sent a man from me - or from among my family - whose name will be like my name and whose father's name will be like my father's name. He will fill the earth with justice just as it had been filled
with injustice and oppression."'

(Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/24. The editor of Al-Mishkaat said: its isnad is hasan and the report of Abu Dawood is described as saheeh in Saheeh al-Jaami` as-Sagheer, 6/70, hadith no. 5180).

(ii) It is narrated that Umm Salamah (radhiyAllaahu anha) said: "The Messenger of Allah :saw: said:

`The Mahdi will be of my family, from among the descendants of Faatimah."'

(Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Al-Haakim).

(Saheeh al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer, 6/22. Shaykh Naasir said: it is saheeh).

(iii) It is narrated that 'Ali (radhiyAllaahu anh) related: "The Messenger :saw: said:

`The Mahdi is one of us, from the ahl al-bayt (members of the Prophet's lineage). Allah will prepare him in one night."'

(Ahmad and Ibn Maajah).

(Ibid, 6/22. Shaykh Naasiruddin al-Albani said, it is saheeh).

(iv) Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawood further narrated from 'Ali: "The Messenger of Allah :saw: said,

`If even there were only one day left of time, Allah would send a man from among my family, to fill it with justice as it had been filled with injustice. '"

(This is a saheeh hadith. See Saheeh al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer, 5/71, hadith no. 5181).

(v) Abu Dawood narrated from Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri (radhiyAllaahu anh):

"The Messenger of Allah :saw: said:

`The Mahdi is from me. He will have a wide forehead and a hooked nose. He will fill the earth with fairness and justice, as it had been filled with injustice and oppression., and he will rule for seven years.'

(Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/24, hadith no. 5454. Its isnad is hasan as stated by the editor of Al-Mishkaat).

(vi) It is narrated that Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri related: "The Messenger of Allah :saw: said:

`The earth will be filled with injustice and oppression, when it is filled with injustice and oppression, Allah will send a man from me, whose name will be the same as mine, and he will fill it with justice and fairness, as it had been filled with injustice and oppression.'”

This is narrated by Al-Bazzaar and Ibn `Adiyy in Al-Kaamil, by Abu Na`eem in Akhbaar Isbahaan, and by Al-Haakim. It is also narrated by Imam Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan and Al-Haakim, and by Abu Na`eem in Al-Hilyah, from Abu Sa`eed who attributed it to the Prophet :saw:, with the wording,

"The Hour will not come until the earth is filled with injustice and oppression and aggression, then there will emerge a man from my descendants, or from the members of my family, who will fill it with justice and fairness, as it was filled with injustice and oppression."

Al-Haakim said concerning the isnad of this report, "It is saheeh according to the conditions of the two Shaykhs (Bukhari and Muslim)," and Ad-Dhahabi agreed with him. Abu Na`eem also indicated that it is saheeh.
This hadith is also narrated by Al-Haakim from Abu Sa`eed who attributed it to the Prophet :saw: with the wording,

"The Mahdi will emerge among my ummah, and Allah will grant him rain which will cause the earth to produce vegetation. He will be given wealth in abundance, livestock will increase and the ummah will become great. He will live for seven or eight - i.e., years."

This is classed as saheeh by Al-Haakim, Ad-Dhahabi and Ibn Khaldoon.
It is also narrated by the compilers of Sunan, and by At-Tabaraani in Al-Awsat al-Kabeer. It is classed as saheeh by Tirmidhi, Al-Haakim and Ibn Hibbaan. The version narrated by Abu Dawood says:

"If there was only one day left of this world, Allah would extend that day, until He sent a man from me or from the members of my family, whose name will be the same as mine and whose father's name will be the same as my father's name. He will fill the world with justice... "

(I have summarized the valuable comments made by Shaykh Naasiruddin al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him). For his full comments, see Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah, 4/38, hadith no. 1529. See also Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah, 2/336, hadith no. 711)


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(2) The degree of soundness of the ahaadeeth which speak of the Mahdi

Shaykh `Abd al-`Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

"The matter of the Mahdi is well known, and the ahaadeeth which speak of him are plentiful; indeed they are mutawaatir and support one another. More than one scholars have stated that they are mutawaatir. They are mutawaatir with regard to the meaning, because they have so many isnads, although the narrators and Sahaabah differed as to the exact wording. But they indicate that this person is real and that he will surely appear. He is Muhammad ibn `Abdullah al-`Alawi al-Hasani, from among the descendants of Al-Hasan ibn 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with them). This Imam will be a mercy from Allah towards the ummah at the end of time. He will emerge and will establish justice and fairness, and do away with oppression and injustice. By means of him, Allah will spread the banner of goodness, justice and guidance among the ummah and will guide the people aright.

I have examined many of the ahaadeeth about the Mahdi, and I saw, as did Al-Shawkaani and others, and as Ibn al-Qayyim and others said, that some of them are saheeh, some are hasan, some are da’eef (weak) but may be strengthened by other reports, and some are fabricated. It is sufficient for us to look only at those whose isnads are sound, whether they are saheeh li dhaatihi or li ghayrihi - saheeh in themselves or saheeh when corroborating reports are taken into account, whether they are hasan in and of themselves or hasan when corroborating reports are taken into account. By the same token, da’eef reports - if they strengthen one another - may also be regarded as evidence by the scholars. The truth is that the majority of scholars - in fact, it is like consensus - affirm that the Mahdi will come, and that he is real, and will emerge at the end of time. As far as this matter is concerned, no attention need be paid to the views of those scholars who hold different opinions."

(These are the words of Shaykh Muthbit in his book Ar-Radd ‘ala man kadhdhaba bil-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah al-Waaridah fil-Mahdi li ‘Abd al-Muhsin ibn Hamad al-‘Abbaad, p. 157).

Shaykh 'Abd al-Muhsin ibn Hamad al-`Abbaad listed the Sahaabah who narrated the ahaadeeth about the Mahdi; their number reached twenty-six. He also listed the books of Sunnah in which these ahaadeeth were narrated; they numbered thirty-six. It is narrated by the compilers of the four Sunans, Ahmad in his Musnad, Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, Al-Haakim in his Mustadrak, and others.

(Aqeedah Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Athar fil-Mahdi al-Muntazar by `Abd al-Muhsin ibn Hamad al-`Abbaad; it is published in the same volume as the book mentioned above, p. 166-168).

Many scholars compiled these ahaadeeth in books devoted to this topic, discussing their isnads. They include Abu Bakr ibn Abi Khaytham Zuhayr ibn Harb, according to what is mentioned by Ibn Khaldoon. They also include Al-Haafiz Abu Na' eem. Al-Haafiz as-Suyooti summarized what has been narrated by Abu Na' eem in his book Al-‘Urf al-Wardi fi Akhbaar al-Mahdi, and added to it. This book is published along with his book Al-Haawi lil-Fataawi. They also include Al-Haafiz ibn Katheer, who devoted a section to the topic of the Mahdi, as he stated in his book Al-Fitan wal-Malaahim. They also include Ibn Hajar al-Makki, who wrote a book called Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alaamaat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar." They also include Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, the author of Kanz al-Ummaal, and Mullah 'Ali Qaari, who called his book Al-Mashrab al-Wardi fi Madhhab al-Mahdi. They also include Mar`i ibn Yoosuf al-Hanbali, As-San'aani and others.

(Ibid, p. 168).

A large group of critics of hadith and their aaimmah (Imaams) stated that the ahaadeeth about the Mahdi are saheeh, such as Al-Haakim, Ad-Dhahabi, Abu Na'eem, Ibn al-'Arabi al-Maaliki, Al-Qurtubi, Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar al-`Asqalaani, Suyooti and others.

(Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah, 4/40-41).

Hence no attention should be paid to those who regard these ahaadeeth as da’eef or false, who are not competent in this field of knowledge.


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(3) The beliefs of the Muslim sects concerning Mahdi

1 - The belief of Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaa 'ah is in accordance with the saheeh ahaadeeth that we have quoted here, that the Mahdi will be a righteous and rightly-guided ruler whom Allah will send to renew and revive this religion, and Allah will make this religion supreme at his hands. Ibn Khaldoon said:

"Know that the prevalent view among all the people of Islam throughout the ages is that at the end of time there will inevitably appear a man from among the Ahl al-Bayt (the Prophet's lineage) who will support the religion (Islam) and cause justice to prevail; the Muslims will follow him and he will rule over the Muslim lands. He will be called Al-Mahdi. The emergence of the Dajjaal and subsequent signs of the Hour, proven in the saheeh reports, will happen after he appears. Eesa (Jesus) will descend afterwards and will kill the Dajjaal, or he will descend at the same time and help him (the Mahdi) to kill him (the Dajjaal), and he will be led by the Mahdi in prayer. "

(Al-Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldoon, p. 555. It is important to note here that Ibn Khaldoon regarded many of the ahaadeeth about the Mahdi as da' eef (weak), and he was not right in doing so. But we cannot say that Ibn Khaldoon did not believe in the Mahdi. He classed some of these ahaadeeth as saheeh. After quoting and commenting on the ahaadeeth he says (p. 574), "As you see, they are not free from weakness apart from a few of them." But these few are sufficient to establish belief in the Mahdi).

2 - The Imami Shiah - the twelvers - believe that the Mahdi is the last of their Imams, the twelfth Imam who is called Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-`Askari (Muhammad al-ghaa'ib - the invisible). According to them, he is descendent from Al-Husayn ibn 'Ali, not from Al-Hasan. They believe that he entered the tunnel of Saamuraa' more than 1100 years ago, when he was five years old. They believe that he is present but invisible. This is the Mahdi whose return they are awaiting. But there is no evidence or proof for their belief, whether from the narrated reports or in terms of common sense. It is contrary to the laws of Allah which govern human beings, and it is illogical. What is the point of being hidden or occulted if he is alive? On the contrary, he should emerge and enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.

3 - Those who deny the existence of the Mahdi are individuals who claim to belong to Ahl as-Sunnah. But they do not have much experience in examining the texts and investigating isnads (chains of transmitter). Many scholars have refuted their specious arguments in books devoted to that purpose, the last of which that we have seen was written by Shaykh al-`Allaamah `Abd al-Muhsin al-`Abbaad, entitled Ar-Radd `ala man kadhdhaba bil-Aaadeeth as-Saheehah al-Waaridah fil-Mahdi.

(Published by Ar-Rasheed Press in Madeenah)

There is also a book by Shaykh Hamood ibn `Abdullah ibn Hamad at-Tuwaijri, entitled Al-Ihtijaaj bil-Athr `ala man ankara al-Mahdi al-Muntazar.

4 - There have been rulers in the past who claimed to be the Mahdi, or whose people made this claim for them. Some of them were righteous men who were given the title of Mahdi as a nickname, with no intention of claiming that this was the Mahdi of whom the Messenger :saw: spoke; the name was given in the hope that they would be among the rightly-guided leaders who would speak the truth and rule accordingly. Among these was the `Abbaasi (Abassid) khaleefah al-Mahdi. Some of the rulers who claimed to be the Mahdi or whose people called them the Mahdi were evildoers, such as the heretic `Ubaydullah ibn Maymoon al-Qaddaah (259 - 322 AH). His grandfather was a Jew who claimed to belong to a Magian family, but he falsely claimed to belong to the family of the Messenger of Allah :saw: and claimed to be the Mahdi of whom the Prophet :saw: had spoken. He seized power and became strong, and his evil became widespread. His dynasty ruled over the Maghreb (North Africa), Egypt, the Hijaaz and Syria. True Islam became alienated and was sorely tested by them. They claimed to be divine, and that the shari’ah had both a hidden (baatin) an apparent (zaahir) aspect.

They were the baatini Qaraamiti Raafidi kings, the enemies of Islam, who claimed to be Raafidis (rejectionists: those who reject the right of the first three caliphs to the caliphate) and claimed to be descending from the Prophet's family, but they followed a heretic religion which they propagated. They prevailed until Allah rid the ummah of them by means of Salaah ad-Deen al-Ayyoobi, who destroyed them. Among them was the "Mahdi" who emerged in the Maghreb (North Africa), named Muhammad ibn Toomart (485 - 524 AH). He was a liar and an oppressor who took power by force. He claimed to be the promised Mahdi. He would put some of his followers inside graves and order them to tell the people that he was the Mahdi, then he would destroy the graves at night whilst they were still inside, burying them alive so that his secret would not be discovered.

(Al-Manaar al-Muneef fis-Saheeh wad-Da’eef by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 153).

5 - There was also a Mahdi sect called Al-Keesaaniyyah. They claimed that the Mahdi was Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, and that he is alive, living in Jabal Ridwaa. They say that he is between two lions who guard him, and that there are two springs there, flowing with water and honey. They claim that forty of his companions met him and are with him, and that no one has found any trace of them, but they are alive and have provision. They say that he will return after his occultation and that he will fill the earth with justice as it was filled with injustice. They say that he was punished with this imprisonment for going out to meet `Abd al-Malik ibn Marwaan, or it is said Yazeed ibn Mu`aawiyah. This belief is referred to by (the poet) Katheer `Izzah when he said:

"A grandson who will never taste death until he leads the cavalry, carrying the banner.

He disappeared and no one saw him for a long time, in Ridwaa, and he has honey and water."

As-Sayyid al-Humayri also followed this belief. He said:

"But say to the Imam, 'May my soul be sacrificed for you. You have stayed in the mountain for too long. "'

(Lawaami’ al-Anwaar al-Bahiyyah by As-Safaareeni, 2/85).

How foolish these people are, and how little they understand. They believe things for which there is no proof, whether from common sense or from the narrated reports.


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(4) The time when he will emerge

Shaykh `Abd al-`Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

"Ibn Katheer said in al-Fitan wal-Malaahim I think that it will be at the time when the Messiah descends. The hadith narrated by Al-Haarith ibn Abi Usaamah -

(The hadith of Jaabir says, “Eesa ibn Maryam will descend, and their leader the Mahdi will say, ‘Come and lead us in prayer.’ He will say, ‘No, your leader is from amongst you, as an honour from Allah to this ummah.’” Ibn al-Qayyim said, after narrating this in Al-Manaar al-Muneef, “This is a jayyid isnad.”)
- indicates that, because it says that their leader will be the Mahdi. This indicates that he will be present when Eesa ibn Maryam descends, as is also indicated by some of the reports of Muslim and some other reports, but it is not clear. It is apparent and makes sense, but it is not definite.

(Ar-Radd ‘ala man kadhdhaba bil-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah al-Waaridah fil-Mahdi, p. 160).

Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from three of the Mothers of the Believers - Umm Salamah, Hafsah and `Aa'ishah - that the Messenger of Allah :saw: spoke of an army pursuing a fugitive who would seek refuge in the House (the Ka`bah), and Allah would cause that army to be swallowed up by the earth on a plain.

According to one report, Umm Salamah said, "The Messenger of Allah :saw: said,

`A fugitive will seek security in the House, and an army will be sent after him. When they reach a field the earth will swallow them up.' I said, 'O' Messenger of Allah, what about one who was forced to join them?' He said, 'He will be swallowed up with them, but on the Day of Resurrection he will be raised according to his intention. '"

(Muslim, 4/2208, hadith no. 2882).

According to another report, Hafsah (radhiyAllaahu anha) said: "I heard the Prophet :saw: say,

`They would seek protection in this House against the army heading to attack it. When the army will be on a plain ground, the earth will swallow up the middle of the army, and the first of them will call out to the last of them. There will be none left but those who were on the edges of this army, who will tell others what happened to them.'" According to another report, "Some people who have no one to protect them and who are few in number and have no weapons, will seek refuge in this House... "

(Ibid, 4/2209, hadith no. 2883).

According to the report of `Aa'ishah (radhiyAllaahu anha), the Prophet :saw: was startled in his sleep. She reported:

"We said, 'O' Messenger of Allah, you did something in your sleep that you have never done before.'

He said,

'Strange it is that some people from my ummah will attack the House (with the intention of killing) a man from Quraysh who will try to seek protection in the House. When they (the army) will be on a plain they will be swallowed up by the earth.'

We said,

'O' Messenger of Allah, there may be people on the road.'

He said,

'Yes, there may be those who are following the army because of certain intentions, and others who come under duress, and wayfarers. They will all be destroyed together, but they will be resurrected in different states. "'

(Muslim, 4/2210, hadith no. 2884).

Is this man who will seek refuge in the House, whom Allah will support and help, and for whom Allah will destroy those who seek to harm him, will be the Mahdi who is mentioned in the ahaadeeth quoted previously? We have no clear evidence to that effect, as far as we know. Allah knows best


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(5) Is the Mahdi the khaleefah who will scoop up handfuls of wealth? (END)

The ahaadeeth mention a khaleefah in whose time wealth will increase so much that he will scoop up handfuls of money, without counting it. Is this the Mahdi or someone else? Allah knows best.

Muslim narrated in his Saheeh that Jaabir ibn 'Abdullah said: "The Messenger of Allah :saw: said,

`At the end of my ummah, there will be a khaleefah who will scoop up handfuls of wealth."'

(Ibid, 4/2234, hadith no. 2913).

And he also narrated that Abu Sa`eed said: The Messenger of Allah :saw: said,

'Among your khulafa' (rulers) will be one who will scoop up p handfuls of wealth, and will not count it."'

(Opt, cit, 2235, hadith no. 2914).
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