Category Archives: Muḥammad al-Mahdī (born 868) (Arabic: محمد ال


Peace Be Upon Him

By: Allama Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi
Translated by: Sayyid Athar Husain S.H. Rizvi


Message On Birth anniversary Of Imam Al-Qaem(A.J)

Message On Birth anniversary Of Imam Al-Qaem(A.J)

On this auspicious Birth anniversary of Our Living Imam mahdi (AJ ).I offer my sincere greetings to all those who love our beloved twelfth h Imam Mahdi (AJ) and work for his coming, asking the Almighty (swt) to keep you all always happy in this life under the flag of the awaited one, and in the hereafter through his intercession (ameen).

When Imam Mahdi reappears, he will rule with justice, and no one will be able to discriminate against another. Roads and paths will become secure, the Earth will bring out its bounties, all rights will be returned to their rightful owners, and no follower of a religion will remain until he becomes a Muslim and professes his faith.” Bihar al-Anwar

Islamic scholars, based on the infallible sayings, are of the opinion that the sign of Mahdi (AS) is that he shall be harsh with rulers, generous with people in distributing wealth, and gentle with the helpless in easing their pain.

Hence, not only Shia people but all people throughout the world expect him day and night.

al-Mahdi (AS) will come in the last days to make a universal Government. Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v2, p86, v9, pp 74-75

The Messenger of Allah said: “The world will not perish until a man among the Arabs appears whose name matches my name.” Sunni reference: Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v9, p74

Of all the various ways and methods to prepare for his appearance, the author as a sociologist is of the opinion that “supplication” or “dua” is the most important way.

One of these treasures which believers and those anxious for the reappearance of the righteous and universal government of Imam Mahdi (AS) have set their hearts upon is the glorious “Nudba” supplication. They renew their allegiance with their Master during fixed occasions and hold emotional gatherings where it is recited.

Lamentation (Nudba) and waiting for the meeting with His Holiness and the end of his occultation, praying to hasten his reappearance and expressing regret about the turbulent and oppressive conditions of the modern world (the period of the major occultation) are lessons which the Shia have learned from their infallible Imams (AS) and their behavior is a pattern for their partisans.

According to Shia scholars, recitation of this supplication is recommended as mustahab (highly advised) on four Islamic major festivals (ids): Friday, Fitr (holiday marking the end of Ramadan), Adha, and Ghadir (the day on which Imam Ali {AS} was appointed to be the real successor of the Holy Prophet {S}).

Quran proclaims ‘O you who believe! Be patient and excel in patience and maintain contact, and be careful of your duty towards Allah, that you may be successful.’(Surah Ale Imran, Verse 199)

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) by way of elucidation of the above verse narrates,‘Maintain a special affinity with your Imam.’(Noorus Saqalain, vol. 1 pg. 426)

What is a duty of a Shi’ite? What responsibilities does he have? Truly, are we reckoned among the real followers of His Eminence (Imam al Mahdi)? If we study the lives of the devout Shi’ites (followers) of the Holy Imams before the Twelfth Imam, and consider their sacrifices without the slightest hesitation, we shall at once awake from our neglectful slumber and realize our weakness and guilt.

How long must I wait for you, O my Master! And how long and with which word should I praise you, and what secret talk should I use with you? Is there any helper with whom I may prolong my lamentation and weeping? Is there a way, O Son of Ahmad (S), through which you may be met? Will you see us gathered around you and you are leading all the people? So, convey to him our greetings and salutations, and increase his honor because of this (greeting), O Lord.”

Imam is a confidant, an aide, a sympathetic father, an affectionate brother, and a caring mother who nurtures her infant.” (Al-Kafi vol. 1, pg. 200)

Imam (a.s.) asserts,

‘We are never neglectful of your guardianship nor are we ever unmindful of your remembrance.’(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 53, pg. 176)

O Allah! I ask You for the sake of Your representative and Your Proof, Master of Time, that You help me through him in all my affairs. And Protect me through him from the difficulties of every torturer, dissident and rebel. (Please) help me through him for my efforts are exhausted. And Protect me from every enemy, grief, sorrow, debt, my children and all my family members, my brothers and my close ones, whose deeds do harm unto me. Aamin, Lord of the Worlds.(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 94, pg. 34)

O Inheritor of Hasan, Successor, Proof! O awaited Qaim, Mahdi! O son of God’s Messenger! O proof of God over His creatures! O our Lord and Master! We turn to thee, ask thy intercession, and seek access through thee to God. We place before thee our needs. O thou who has standing with God! Intercede for us with God!’

May Allah hasten his reappearance.

Complete Amaal 15 Shabaan


Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,
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If Imam Mahdi Appears

If Imam Mahdi Appears

Written by Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

Translated By Sayyid Baqir Imrani


Being that the day of Imam Mahdi’s (may Allah hasten his reappearance) birth anniversary is close, it is important to remember His Eminence and mention some matters about him that will help us improve and grow. Allama Majlisi has related the following narration about Imam Mahdi in Bihar al-Anwar: “When Imam Mahdi reappears, he will rule with justice, and no one will be able to discriminate against another. Roads and paths will become secure, the Earth will bring out its bounties, all rights will be returned to their rightful owners, and no follower of a religion will remain until he becomes a Muslim and professes his faith.”


Seven programs have been mentioned for His eminence in this narration:

1 & 2. A just government and elimination of discrimination: The first part of the tradition states that when Imam Mahdi reappears, he will rule with justice and wipe out discrimination.

The antonym of justice (‘Adl) is injustice (Dhulm). And the word equity (Qist) is the opposite of discrimination (Jawr). The difference between justice and equity is that justice means that another’s right is not taken, and equity means that discrimination does not take place. Thus, injustice means to take one’s right for one’s own benefit, and inequity means to give one’s right to another. For example, if I take John’s house for myself, it is injustice. And if I take his house and give it to someone else, it is inequity. The opposite of the first example is that I don’t take John’s house for myself; this is justice. And the opposite of the second example is that I don’t take his house and give it to someone else; this is equity. Therefore, equity is the lack of discrimination, and justice is the lack of injustice.

3. Security of paths: The third part states: “And the paths will become safe and secure by him.” This means that all the paths and roads will become safe because of him.

4. Nature will blossom: The next part says, “The Earth will bring out its blessings.” The Earth will bring out its bounties and blessing, whether they are agricultural, mineral or other energy sources which are hidden from us.

5. The affairs will be placed in the hands of those who are qualified: The fifth part states: “All rights will be returned to their rightful owners.” He will return the affairs and positions to those who are qualified, in contrast to our time, where many positions and affairs are entrusted to unqualified individuals because connections precede rules.

6. Rule of Islam: The next part states, “And there will not remain a person of religion but that he will become a Muslim.” No other religion will remain. All religions will become one religion, Islam.

7. Hearts will be attracted to Islam: And finally, the tradition concludes by saying, “And they will profess their faith.” This has two meanings. Possibly it refers to the fact that everyone will follow the Prophet’s household, or that in addition to having faith in appearance, they will also have faith in their hearts.

The difference between submission (Islam) and faith (Eimaan) have been stated in Islamic narrations. Some narrations say that Islam is that thing that if a person professes, his life is protected and the meat he slaughters is permissible to eat, whereas faith is the source of salvation in the hereafter. In some narrations it is stated that Islam is like the Sacred Mosque, and faith is the Ka’ba.

It is possible that this wording in the hadeeth refers to the verse: “And the (Bedouin) Arabs said ‘we believe’; say, ‘you do not believe, but say that we submit and faith has not yet entered your hearts'” (49:14).

The main tasks that His Eminence will carry out – which can be seen from Islamic narrations – can be summarized in four spheres:

1. Correcting beliefs: A well-known tradition in Tafseer al-Qurtubi states, “There is not a house made of stone or mud but God will enter in it Islam.”

2. Perfecting minds: An intellectual and scientific movement will occur. Allama Majlisi records in Bihar al-Anwar, “When Imam Mahdi reappears, he will place his hand on people’s heads and complete and perfect their thoughts and intellects.” Perhaps the phrase “place his hand on people’s heads” means that they will be trained by him.

3. Justice and equity: It has been stated in numerous narrations in Bihar al-Anwar that he will fill the Earth with justice and equity, just as it was filled with injustice and inequity.

4. Correcting morals: His fourth task is to wipe out moral decay and revive Islamic values. This can be seen from narrations about the signs of the reappearance. There are narrations which say that before the Mahdi’s reappearance, moral decay such as fornication, theft, bribery, cheating in sales, drinking alcohol, and murder will increase. What they intend is that the Mahdi will rise in order to wipe out these moral decays. The system of values has been completely corrupted and Imam Mahdi will fix it.


Imam Mahdi has an army, assistants, and helpers, as we read in Ziyarat Aale Yaseen: “O Lord, appoint me as one of his devotees, followers, and helpers.”

In some narrations, it adds, “And appoint me as one who strives to defend Truth along with him.”

Those who want to be of his helpers must work within the framework of these four principles. The prayers of one who does not have any of these principles and prays to God to make him a helper of Imam Mahdi will not be answered.

If the clerics establish this program, a character-building class will be formed. Prayer is good in its own place, but praying to be his devotee, follower, and helper will not come about only with prayer. Rather, one must become a pure monotheist and remove all forms of polytheism from his heart. He must act according to justice and equity among people and his household. We must revive moral values within ourselves.

If the purpose for his rising is properly proclaimed, it will change the face of society. One cannot be among his ranks without having any of these principles. It is good to turn people’s attention to the purpose of his program during these days of his birth anniversary so that they follow it.

Also, beware that there are forces at work who want to use these religious celebrations and processions in order to wipe out moral and religious values, just as those who wanted to build Masjid Dharar wanted to wipe out the root of the mosque with a mosque. These values must be properly revived so that the enemy cannot destroy them.

It is hoped that God will answer this prayer in relation to all of us: O Lord, appoint us as his helpers, assistants, followers, devotees, and as the defenders of Truth along with him.

Is Imam (a.t.f.s.) Observing Us?

Is Imam (a.t.f.s.) Observing Us?

The belief in the Imamat of Ahle Bait (a.s) is the basis of all (other) Islamic beliefs and laws. It is on the basis of this belief that one can comprehend the accurate and genuine concept of Tauheed. The real grandeur and magnificence of Prophethood (Nabuwwat) is reflected only in the mirror of this belief. Actions are correctly performed under the guidance of this doctrine and it forms the basis of acceptance of all actions. The one whose heart is devoid of this belief will be in a great loss on the Day of Judgment. Salvation and entry in paradise is restricted to those who subscribe to this belief.

However, this belief does not imply that we only believe in the existence of our twelve Imams (a.s) and don’t consider them as our guides and role models. The very fact that we consider these venerable personalities as our Imams (a.s) signifies that we accept them as our guides at every step and tread on their path without any questions. In all facets of our lives- individual or social, commerce issues or complex personal relations, or those dealing with family life and the worship of Allah and gaining His proximity- we should adopt those principles which are enumerated by these honorable personalities as the aim of our life and try to emulate them.

This belief also demands that we acknowledge and are convinced that our Imams (a.s) are observing our actions and none of our deeds are concealed from them.

Witness to our actions

Imam Sadiq (a.s) was asked about the meaning of the following Quranic verse:

‘How will be the condition on the day of judgment when We shall bring forth a witness from every nation and We will make you (O Prophet) as a witness upon them.’

(Surah Nisa, Verse 41)

Imam (a.s) replied,

‘This verse refers particularly to the nation of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). In every era an Imam from among us is a witness upon them and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is a witness upon us.’

(Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p.190, tradition 1)

Another person asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about the following Quranic verse in which Allah says:

‘In this way have We made you as the middle nation so that you be a witness on the people.”

(Surah Baqarah, Verse 143)

Imam (a.s) replied:

“We are the ‘middle nation’. We are the witnesses of Allah upon the creation and His Proof upon them.’

(Ibid, tradition 2)

From these traditions, it becomes clear that our Imam (a.s) witnesses our deeds. In order to become a witness, it is necessary that the person should have comprehensive knowledge about the thing that he witnesses. Hence when we say that our Imam (a.s) is a witness to our actions, it means that he has encompassing knowledge of all our actions.

Deeds presented before Imam (a.s.)

A person by the name of Abdullah bin Aabaan az-Ziyaat was in the presence of Imam Reza (a.s). He requested Imam (a.s) that he (a.s) should pray for his well being and that of his family. Imam (a.s) replied, ‘Am I not doing like that? I swear by Allah that your deeds are presented to us every morning and evening.’ Abdullah says ‘I was surprised (to hear that our deeds are presented before Imam (a.s). Imam (a.s) is at one place while he has the information of the entire world!)’ Imam (a.s) replied:

‘Have you not read the verse of Quran which says

‘Then do your (good) deeds. Allah and His prophet and the believers are a witness to your actions.”

(Surah Taubah, Verse 105)

I swear by Allah (the word) ‘believers’ (in the verse) refers to Ameerul Mo’mineen (a.s).”

(Al – Kafi, vol.1 p. 219, tradition 4)

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) used to say,

‘Why are you people troubling the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?’

One person asked, ‘How is it that we are troubling the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?’ (i.e. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is not amongst us, then how can we hurt or upset him). Imam (a.s) replied,

‘Are you not aware that your actions are placed before him (s.a.w.a.)? When he (s.a.w.a.) witnesses a sin among your deeds then he (s.a.w.a.) gets distressed and sorrowful. Don’t make the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) unhappy. Instead, try to make him (s.a.w.a.) cheerful.’

(Ibid., tradition 3)

Imam (a.s.) recognizes each one of us by our names

People are familiar with only those individuals whom they see and recognize and the majority consists of those individuals whom we don’t recognize. Therefore a smart and cunning person can deceive others who don’t really know him very well. However, none can deceive the Imams (a.s), because the Imams (a.s) recognize each and every one of us by our names.

Imam Reza (a.s) once wrote in one of his letters,

‘Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) is the Trusted One (Ameen) of Allah among His creatures. After his (s.a.w.a.) demise, we are his inheritors and are the trusted ones of Allah on this earth. We know who among you will be involved in which examination and calamity and where you will die. We know the lineage of the Arabs. We also know who will be born on the religion of Islam. If we see someone then we immediately recognize how strong is his faith and the amount of hypocrisy in him. And we have the names of our every Shia along with the names of his father.’

(Ibid., p. 223, tradition 1)

Thus simply calling ourselves as Shias is not sufficient. Instead we should beseech Allah that our names should be included in the list of those Shias who are with our Imam (a.t.f.s.)

Imam (a.t.f.s.) has information of each and everything

Janabe Mufazzal (r.a) once asked Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) ‘May I be sacrificed for you! Is it possible that Allah makes the obedience of a person obligatory on everyone but conceals from that person the knowledge of the heavens?’

Imam (a.s) replied,

‘No. Allah is more kind, sympathetic and generous upon His servants than that He should make the obedience of an individual obligatory on everyone but should conceal the news of the heavens from him’.

(Ibid., p. 261, tradition 3)

In another tradition, Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s) declares,

‘Allah is much higher and greater than this that He makes the obedience to someone as obligatory on everyone else, but conceal from that person the knowledge of the heavens and the earth’.

(Ibid., p. 262, tradition 6)

In the light of these traditions it becomes clear that every morning and evening, the news of the heavens and the earth is presented before our Imam (a.s). In this way, he is aware of the minutest details of our actions.

Imam (a.s.) is more compassionate and tender than our father

Not only are our Imams (a.s) aware of all our deeds and actions, but they are also affected by our pains and sufferings. The following incident underlines this fact and shows us how much our Imams (a.s) value and cherishes their Shias.

A person by the name of Rumailah narrates: ‘In the days of Hazrat Ali (a.s) I was severely ill. On Friday I recovered a bit. I thought to myself – how nice would it be if I have my bath today and recite namaz behind Ali (a.s). Hence I got up and after taking a bath, went to the mosque. While Ali (a.s) was delivering the Friday sermon, my condition again deteriorated. After namaz Ali (a.s) went to a place by the name of ‘Qasr’, I too accompanied him. He (a.s) said to me,

‘O Rumailah! Why are you restless?’

I narrated to him (a.s) about my illness and explained to him my condition. Then Imam (a.s) said,

‘O Rumailah! When a believer becomes ill then we too are affected by his illness. If someone becomes sorrowful and distressed then we too become sorrowful. If someone prays then we say ‘Aameen’ for his supplication. And when he becomes silent (i.e. he stops praying) then we pray for him.’

Rumailah asked Imam (a.s) “My master! Are you referring about those believers who are staying in this place of ‘Qasr’? What about those who stay in the different corners of the earth?’ Imam (a.s) replied,

‘O Rumailah! There is no believer – in the east or in the west – who is hidden from us’.

(Basaaer al-Darajaat; part 16, tradition 1)

Through this incident it becomes evident that our Imams (a.s) hold their Shias dearer than a father holds his son. Thus when Imams (a.s) love us so much, then the least that we can do is perform such actions that are a cause of happiness for them and refrain from those deeds which anger and upset them.

A signed letter (Tawqee) from Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

Now let us pay attention to this tawqee (a ‘Tawqee’ is a letter signed by Imam (a.s) himself in the time of his occultation) through which we learn that Imam’s (a.s.) knowledge encompasses all our actions.

Every word of the blessed Tawqee addressed to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a) spells out this fact. Those people, who in the time of major occultation are serving the religion of Islam, are defending the laws and beliefs, are taking care of the weak and helpless Shias have been addressed by the one who is the cause of the existence of this Universe , Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) – as “the brother with an upright character and a learned and intelligent friend”. This form of address itself is a proof that our Imam (a.t.f.s.) is aware of our deeds and our character. Imam (a.t.f.s.) (may our lives be sacrificed for him ) states,

“Even though we are residing away from the settlements of oppressors – as Allah has destined this in the best interest of the Shias – yet our knowledge encompasses all your information. Nothing is hidden from us. We are conscious of the problems and the degradation which all of you are enduring right now. The reason for all this is that you are indulging in all those (prohibited) things from which your elders used to abstain and you have abandoned the promise and the pledge that was taken from you as if you have never ever known this promise.”

(These words of Imam (a.t.f.s.) reflect his remorse on our heedlessness, negligence and disgraceful actions. But the words that follow are an indication of his fatherly love and his compassion.) Imam (a.t.f.s.) continues

“We are not negligent of your affairs and neither do we forget your remembrance. If it would have been so, then calamities and difficulties would have encircled you and the enemies would have annihilated you.”

At the end of this Tawqee, Imam (a.t.f.s.) continues,

“Then each one of you should perform such actions which will bring you close to our love and should abstain from those deeds which are a cause of our displeasure and anger. This is because our reappearance will occur unexpectedly and at that time your repentance will serve no purpose. Your remorse and your regret will not protect you from our chastisement.”

(Al-Ehtejaaj of Sheikh Tabarsi, vol. 2, p. 497, 498)

Another Tawqee

In another Tawqee to Janab Sheikh Mufeed (r.a), Imam (a.t.f.s.) declares,

“May Allah grant the ‘Taufeeq’ (grace) to our Shias for His obedience. If our Shias would have remained united and would have been steadfast in fulfilling their pledge, there would not have been any delay in our meeting with them. They would have been blessed with our meeting and our presence through their recognition and their truthfulness. But the thing which has delayed our reappearance and has distanced us from them is the news that we get about their deeds which we dislike and don’t expect from them.”

(Ibid., p. 499)

There is one very important thing that is highlighted from the above discussion – the Imams (a.s.) (particularly the Imam (a.s.) of our time) are aware of our each and every movement. Nothing in this world is concealed from their divine eyes. In the supplication on Fridays related to Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) we recite:

“Peace be upon you, O the eyes of Allah among His creation!

In the presence of an Emperor

If a blind individual stands in the presence of a king then he will observe the same etiquette of honor and respect due to a king, which are applicable to the one who is actually seeing the king (even though the blind man is unable to see the king.) This is because the blind man perceives the presence of the king and realizes that he is standing before a king. He himself is unable to see the king, but he is convinced that the king is observing him.

The situation is similar during the time of the major occultation. A believer is unable to see his Imam (a.t.f.s.) but he is certain that Imam (a.t.f.s) is observing him. Due to his conviction, he is always aware of the fact that he is standing in Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) presence. He considers Imam (a.t.f.s.) to be a witness to his each and every action. In Dua-e-Nudbah we recite

“May I be sacrificed for you! You are that concealed one who is constantly present in all our gatherings!”

True faith and certainty demands that we always realize that we are in the presence of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and hence maintain the decorum of honor and respect.

O Allah! For the sake of Your immaculate, infallible friends (a.s) and their sincere followers, grant us such upright faith and perfect certainty. Aameen!

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Halai Gham Sunyain Gain Jab Imam Aayain Gae

Jab Imam Ayega

Halai Gham Sunyain Gain Jab Imam Aayain Gai
Zakam-e-Dil Dikhaiyain Gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

Mehfilain Jamayain Gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain
Bam-o-Dar Sajayain Gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain
Jashan ham manayain gai Jab Imam Aayain Gain

1) Zakahm hain abhi taza Makkah aur Medina kai
Shaam-o-Kufa Kerbobala Ham Bhula Nahi Saktai
As-Saqifa Taayai Dam Ghair sai nahi ponchain
Jitnai dukh uthayain hain ham na Kalama goyon sai
Aik aik chukahain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

2) Shak hai jin ko Allah kai adal aur adalat per
Mansabai Nabuwat per Syeda ki ismat per
Murtaza ki Ahmed sai muntasil niyabat per
Jin ko shak hai bara per baravai ki ghaibat per
Sab hi maar khayain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

3) Naam per sahaba kai kaam Kafiron jaisai
Naam per sahaba kai kaam Fasiqon jaisai
Naam per sahaba kai kaam Munkiron jaisai
Naam per sahaba kai kaam Mushrikon jaisai
Sab hi mun churayain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

4) Dava-e-Muhabbat jo subho shaam kertai hain
Un kai dushmano sai bhi raho rasam rakhtai hain
Khums bhi nahi daitai Gheebatain bhi kertai hain
Momino sai bhi bughzakeena rakhtai hain
Kis tera nibhayain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

5) Jhoot bolnai ko ham mashghala samajtai hain
Baat baat per bai-ja maslihat barastai hain
Aur munafiqat ko bhi maslihat hi kehtai hain
Lehbo laab ka samaan ham gharaon main rakhtain hain
Kis tera chupayain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

6) Naimatain shariyat ko boj hi samajtai hain
Lehbo laab hi ko ham zindagi samajtai hain
Sahiban-e-Zar ko bara adami samajtai hain
Tang dast momin ko bas yun hi samajtai hain
Kiya maqaam payain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

7) Yeh hamarai maqr-o-riya shatirana ayari
Kiya hamarai nohon salam aur yeh azadari
Kitna hai khaloos un main kis kadar riyakaari
Kiya Imam ki khatir ham nai ki hai tayari
Kaisai mun dikhayain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

8) Al Ajal jo kehtai hain aagayai to kya ho ga
Kiya hai apni tayari pesh ham karain gai kiya
Sibt-e-Jafar apna to kul yehi hai sarmaya
Hamd-o-naat-o-sozo salam aur manqabat noha
Ham yehi sunayain gain Jab Imam Aayain Gain

Jab Imam Ayenge!

The Role of Traditions in the Occultation of the Twelfth Imam

The Role of Traditions in the Occultation of the Twelfth Imam

By: Jassim M. Hussain

Taken From
After the martyrdom of al-Husayn, the Imamite Imams from `Ali b. al-Husayn to al-Hasan al-`Askari followed a quiescent policy towards the Umayyads and the `Abbasids. But they expected that all their suffering would be terminated by al-Qa’im, whose rising in arms they were awaiting. The Imamites based their expectations on their interpretation of certain Qur’anic verses and on numbers of traditions attributed to the Prophet concerning the political and religious role of al-Qa’im. So it is essential to discuss some of these Qur’anic verses and traditions in order to see their effect upon the attitude of the `Abbasids towards the Imamites, and consequently their reactions to the question of the occultation (al-Ghayba) of the Twelfth Imam.

1. The early usage of the term al-Mahdi
The term al-Mahdi, which means “the one who is guided by Allah”, is the passive participle of the stem hada, “to guide”. A term that occurs twice in the Qur’an is the active participle of the same stem, al Hada, the Guide. The first verse states, “Allah is surely the Guide of those who believe” (XXII, 53), while the second states, “But the Lord is a sufficient Guide and Helper” (XXV,33). In the usage of the Qur’an the eighth form of the same stem, ihtada, “he accepted the guidance for himself”, is used strictly as a reflexive passive, whose participle is Muhtada.So Man, who is guided by Allah, is not simply guided, but reacts himself to the divine guidance (hidaya)[23], either by instinct or intellect. Through these two means he can acquire knowledge of Allah, which leads him to worship Him by following His laws on earth. However, Allah’s laws cannot be discovered through these two sources of knowledge, so throughout the course of history Allah has revealed His knowledge and laws to a group of people who have been divinely guided to lead mankind towards His straight path. These people are called “Prophets” and possessed charismatic qualities which enabled them to implement the commands of Allah and to lead the people without error. Hence they are called in the Qur’an al Hudat (sing. al-hadi), because they were already rightly guided (muhtadin) by Allah[24].
The term al-Mahdi (the guided one) has the same meaning as al-Muhtadi. However, it has been applied to certain individuals in the early Islamic period as an honorific title, while also being applied to al-Qa’im. Many examples can be cited showing that the term al-Mahdi was used in these two senses. For example the poet Hassan b. Thabit (d. 54/673) applied the term al-Mahdi to the Prophet in a qasida when he says[25]:
Sorrow for the Mahdi who is buried!
O best of those who walked on Earth, be not far!
The poet Jarir applies this term to Ibrahim, the prophet[26].
The Sunnites often applied it to the four caliphs after the Prophet, who were called al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun al-Mahdiyyun, the divinely guided caliphs.[27]’ Sulayman b. Surd called al-Husayn, after his martyrdom, Mahdi b. al-Mahdi[28].
As for the theological usage of this term, according to Rajkowski, Abu Ishaq Ka’b b. Mati’ b. Haysu` al-Himyari (d. 34/654) was the first individual to speak of al-Mahdi as the Saviour[29]. But it is worth mentioning that the second caliph, `Umar b. al-Khattab, had spoken of occultation before Ka’b. When the Prophet died in 11/632, ` Umar contended that Muhammad had not died but had concealed himself as Moses did and would return from his occultation. `Umar’s claim, however, was refuted by Abu Bakr, who reminded him of the Qur’anic verse revealing the death of the Prophet[30] which states: “Surely you shall die and they [too] shall surely die. Then surely on the Day of Resurrection you will contend with one another before your Lord” (al-Zumar, XXXIX, 30-1).
The follower of Ibn al-Hanafiyya (d. 81-4/700-3)[31], al-Mukhtar, who was in revolt in Kufa in 66/685, named him as claimant to the Imamate and called him al-Mahdi in the messianic context[32].
Later the name of Ibn al-Hanafiyya became associated with the Kaysaniyya sect, which denied his death and held that he was the promised Mahdi, who had concealed himself in Mound Radwa, and who would rise in arms to eliminate injustice[33].
The Kaysaniyya dogma played an important role in Islamic political history during the Umayyad period, since the `Abbasid propaganda, which brought about the collapse of the Umayyads, was in fact derived from this sect[34].
The dogma of al-Kaysaniyya can be seen in the poetry of Kuthayyir (d. 105/723) and al-Sayyid al-Himyari (d. 173/789). The latter had followed this sect, but it is said that he became an Imamite after a discussion with al-Sadiq, who clarified for him that the concealed Imam mentioned by the Prophet was not Ibn al-Hanafiyya but the Twelfth Imam from the progeny of al-Husayn[35].
The Zaydites also applied the term al-Mahdi in its eschatological sense to their leaders who rose in arms against the `Abbasids, such as Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (d. 145/762), Muhammad b. Ja`far al-Sadiq (d. 203/818), and Muhammad b. al-Qasim al-Talqan, who disappeared in the year 219/834.'[36]
An example of the Zaydite usage of this term is recorded by Ibn Tawus[37], who states on the authority of Ibrahim b. `Abd Allah b. al-Hasan, the brother of al-Nafs al Zakiyya, that the latter had rebelled hoping that Allah might make him the Mahdi promised by the Prophet:
As for the Imamites, a considerable body among them applied the title of al-Mahdi in its messianic sense to each Imam after his death. This can be seen in the claim of al-Nawusiyya, al-Waqifa and the followers of al- `Askari, the eleventh Imam. After the death of al-Sadiq in the year 148/765 the Nawusiyya group held that he was al-Qa’imal-Mahdi and that he did not die but went into occultation[38].
The Waqifa group applied this title to the seventh Imam Musa alKazim (d. 183/799) and denied his death, contending that he was al-Qa’im al-Mahdi and that he would rise to fill the earth with justice after it had been filled with tyranny[39].
Other Imamites held that the eleventh Imam al- `Askari was al-Qa’imal-Mahdi,[40] whereas the last important usage of this term was given to the Twelfth Imam, who became the magnate of the Imamites’ hope in their struggle for justice and equity.
It is worth mentioning that all these claims relating to the eschatological usage of the term `al-Mahdi’ were based mainly on Prophetic traditions concerning a future restorer of Islam. Hence it is essential to discuss the traditions of the Prophet and the Imams, especially these traditions which concern the Twelfth Imam, so as to see their role in the question of his occultation.

2. The Occultation of al-Qa’im al-Mahdi in the Qur’an
In Shi’ite exegesis many Qur’anic verses are regarded as references to the role of al-Qa’im and his occultation.
The most important is the following verse: O, but I call to witness the planets, the stars which rise and set [al-Takweer, LXXXI, 15-6]
According to Imam al-Baqir, this verse means that an Imam would go into occultation in the year 260/847; then he would reappear suddenly like a bright shooting star in the dark night[41].
Ibn al-Furat, al-Kafi and al-Saduq interpret the following Qur’anic verse: “Say: Have you thought: If (all) your water were to disappear into the earth, who then could bring you gushing water” [al-Mulk LXVII, 30]
They maintain that this verse is a metaphor for the concealment of the Imam, whose presence among people is like the water they need to drink[42].
The Isma’ili writer Mansur al-Yaman (ca. 4th century A. H.) agrees with al-Kulayni that some Qur’anic verses which apparently deal with the Day of Judgement actually concern the appearance of al-Qa’im after his occultation. According to al-Kulayni the verse “And those who sincerely believe in the day of Judgement” [al-Mi`raj, LXX, 26] refers to those who believe in the reappearance of al-Qa’im[43]. Mansur al-Yaman gives a similar esoteric interpretation of another verse:
And of mankind are some who say, we believe in Allah and the Last Day, when they believe not. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, but they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not. [al-Baqara, II, 8-9]
Mansur al-Yaman states that the Last Day (al-Yawm al-Akhir) in this verse is the “Commander of the Age” (Sahib al-Zaman), that is al-Qa’im al-Mahdi[44].
Al-Kulayni interprets many Qur’anic verses with the same kind of approach and links them to the future role of al-Qa’imal-Mahdi.’ In his view, when al-Qa’im reappears he will establish the political state of the “People of the House” (Ahl al-Bayt) that is, the Imams, upon the ruins of the state of inequity. This is al-Kulayni’s esoteric commentary on the verse: “And say: The truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Surely falsehood is a vanishing thing.” [Banu Isra’il, XVII, 81][45]
Al-Tusi follows in al-Kulani’s footsteps in commenting on certain Qur’anic verses. Take, for example, this passage:
And We desired to show favour unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them Imams and to make them the inheritors. And to establish them in the earth, and to show Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts that which they feared from them. [al-Qasas XXVIII, 5-6]
Al-Tusi holds that the above verses predict the establishment of the state of Justice by al-Qa’im al-Mahdi, who would inherit what had been in the possession of the wrong-doers[46].
Other Imamite scholars maintain that the fifth Imam, al-Baqir, said that Allah’s promise of victory to an Imam from the People of the House is mentioned explicitly in the following verse:
And verily We have have written in the scripture (al-Zabur), after the Reminder My righteous slaves will inherit the earth. [al-Anbiya’, XXI, 105][47]
Other verses have also been interpreted by the Imamites to be connected with the role of al-Qa’im, after his rising from occultation, such as the verse:
Allah has promised such of you as believe and do good works that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who were before them to succeed (others); and He will surely establish for them their religion which he has approved for them, and will give them in exchange safety after their fear. They serve Me. They ascribe nothing as a partner unto Me. Those who disbelieve henceforth, they are the wrong doers. [al-Nur, XXIV, 55]
Al-Qummi and al-Tusi report that the People of the House mentioned that this verse concerns the Mahdi because he would live during his concealment in a state of fear, would appear after the removal of fear, and would certainly become victorious[48].

The traditions concerning the Twelfth Imam and his occultation

The traditions concerning al-Qa’im al-Mahdi
There are many traditions attributed to the Prophet in the books of tradition concerning the identity of al-Mahdi, his family, his epithet (kunya) and his character. The conclusion of these numerous traditions is that al-Mahdi is a descendant of the sons of Fatima[49], the daughter of the Prophet; and more particularly, that he is of the progeny of her son al-Husayn. His colour is similar to that of the Arab, and his body is like the Israelite, and his name and kunya are similar to,the name and kunya of the Prophet[50].
Moreover some traditions claim that the Prophet said that al-Mahdi’s father’s name is like the name of the Prophet’s grandson, al-Hasan. Below are a number of these traditions.
i) We, the family of `Abd al-Muttalib, are the Masters of the inhabitants of Paradise: I, Hamza, Ja’far, `Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and al-Mahdi[51].
ii) Al-Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is similar to mine and his epithet is similar to mine. In his physique and character he looks exactly like me. He will be in a state of occultation and there will be confusion (Hayra) in which people will wander about. Then he will come forth like a sharp, shooting star to fill the earth with justice and equity as it was filled before with injustice and inequity[52].
iii) Al-Mahdi is from my family (`itra) from the sons of Fatima. It is worth mentioning that this tradition was reported on the authority of Umm Salama by `Ali b. Nufayl, who died in 125/742.[53]
iv) On the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, the Prophet is reported to have said, “How shall Allah destroy a nation whose beginning is myself, whose end is Jesus and whose very centre is al-Mahdi, who will be from my family?[54]
v) The name of al-Mahdi’s father is similar to the name of my son al-Hasan[55].
The conclusion of Osman concerning these traditions seems to be rather forced. “All these hadiths are weak and contradictory (mutadarib), therefore their attribution to the Prophet Muhammad is to be very much doubted[56].
For the use of the epithet al-Mahdi by numerous Islamic groups, particularly the Zaydites, in their struggle for power during the Umayyad period shows that these traditions were well-known among the Muslims of that period. Moreover, many traditionists from different Islamic sects transmitted these traditions before the downfall of the Umayyads in 132/749, and later they were collected in the books of tradition (hadith).
The earliest of these books was Kitab Sulaym b. Qays, attributed to Sulaym b. Qays al-Hilali, who died between the years 80-90/699-708. He reports many Prophetic traditions concerning al-Mahdi, his occultation and his reappearance[57].
It appears from these two points that Osman’s judgement is somewhat hasty, particularly if one takes into account the fact that Prophetic traditions regarding al-Mahdi were narrated by twenty-six companions of the Prophet. On their authority thirty-eight traditionists recorded these traditions in their collections of hadith[58].
The evidence suggests that from the earliest times in Islam there was a belief that the Prophet had given his followers a promise about a man from the progeny of al-Husayn, who would rise in arms in the future to purify Islam from innovation. But political rivalry amongst the Muslims encouraged some people to exploit this hope and to distort these Prophetic traditions in order to use them in their struggle for power[59].
These traditions only mention that al-Qa’im al-Mahdi will be from the progeny of the Prophet. But there are also other traditions attributed to the Prophet which state that al-Mahdi will, in fact, be the Twelfth Imam.
It is true that Montgomery Watt objects that,
Until al-`Askari died on 1st Jan. 874, there was nothing to make people expect that the number of the Imams would be limited to twelve or that the Twelfth would go into occultation. It follows the theory of the twelve Imams was worked out after 874.[60]
Nevertheless, there is ample proof that traditions claiming a-lQa’im would be the Twelfth descendant of the Prophet were in circulation before 874. It is thus necessary to throw light upon these traditions, which were,transmitted by Sunnites and Zaydites as well as Imamites, so that one can see to what extent these traditions were used by the Imamite scholars to support the belief that the Twelfth Imam had not died but was in a state of occultation.

The traditions of the Sunnites (Ahl al-Hadith)
The Sunnite books of tradition report three Prophetic traditions pertaining to the twelve Imams who would be the successors of the Prophet. These were narrated on the authority of seven companions of the Prophet, namely Jabir b. Samura, `Abd Allah b. Mas`ud, Anas b. Malik, `Umar b. al-Khattab, Wa’ila b. Asqa’, `Abd Allah b. `Umar and Abu Hurayra.
i) Jabir b. Samura narrates that he heard the Prophet say, “There will be after me twelve Amirs. “Then he mentioned something which I did not hear, so I asked my father, who was sitting beside me, who said, “All of whom will be from Quraysh.[61]’’
ii) `Umar b. al-Khattab reports that he heard the Prophet say, “The Imams (al-A’imma) after me will be twelve, all of whom will be from Quraysh.[62]”
iii) `Abd Allah b. Mas’ud was once reciting the Qur’an in the mosque in Iraq, when a young man came and asked him if the Prophet had informed them about the number of his successors. Ibn Mas`ud replied, “The Prophet informed us that his successors will be twelve caliphs, whose number is similar to the number of the leaders (al-nuqaba) of Banu Isra’il.[63]”
These traditions have been related by the traditionists and considered authentic. Ibn Hanbal narrates the first with thirty-four chains of transmitters (sanad), all of which are on the authority of Jabir b. Samura[64], although there are slight differences in the versions. Some of the narrators used the words Ami’r and Khalifa instead of Imam. But these traditions, as reported by the Sunnites, indicate only that the Prophet would be succeeded by twelve successors; none reveals that the Twelfth would go into occultation, nor that he would be al-Qa’im al-Mahdi. But the Zaydite and the Imamite narrators relate the same traditions with phrases which indicate that the Twelfth Imam would be al-Qa’im al-Mahdi[65].

The Twelfth Imam in the Zaydite traditions
The Zaydite sect, the Jarudiyya, narrate many traditions attributed to the Prophet and al-Baqir concerning the political role of the Twelfth Imam. One of their distinguished scholars in Kufa was Abu Said `Abbad b. Ya’qub al-Rawajini al-`Asfari (d. 250/864)[66]. He wrote a book entitled Kitab Akhbar al-Mahdi[67].
Al-Dhahabi reports that `Abbad was a Rafidite propagandist, and was awaiting the rise of al-Mahdi in the near future. He used to carry a sword, and once said that he kept his sword ready in order to fight for al-Mahdi[68]. It is worth mentioning that `Abbad held this view before the occultation of the Twelfth Imam in 260/874, since he died in 250/864.[69] He reports three Prophetic traditions concerning the Twelfth Imam. Below are two of them:
i) The Prophet is believed to have said, “From my descendants there will be eleven leaders [who will be] noble, receivers of tradition [and] possessed of knowledge, the last of whom will be `al-Qa’im bil-Haqq’ who will fill it [i.e. the world] with justice, just as it was filled with tyranny[70].
ii) The Prophet is reported to have said: “I and eleven of my descendants and you, O ‘Ali, are the axis of the earth, that is, its tent pegs and its mountains. By us Allah has secured the world so that it will not sink with its people. For when the eleventh of my descendants has died the world shall sink with its people without warning[71].
These traditions along with other sayings predicting the historical circumstances and the signs which would precede the rise of al-Qa’im al-Mahdi were used by the Shi’a in their struggle for power. This can be seen in the events of the general `Alid uprising which occurred in 250-1/864-5, when many Shi’ites applied the Prophetic traditions concerning the signs of the rise of al-Qa’im al-Mahdi to the historical circumstances surrounding this revolt. Ibn `Uqda (d. 333/944) reports that al-Sadiq said:
A man from the People of the House of the Prophet will rise in arms in Mecca holding a white standard in his hand: the Euphrates will become dry, and, at the same time, a group of people, whose eyes are small, will advance towards you from the East and will force you to leave your houses. Moreover, the graves of your dead will be opened and predatory animals will attack your houses. Afterwards a fair-complexioned man will install a chair in Mecca calling people to curse `Ali b. Abi Talib, and killing many people, but he will be killed on the same day.[72]
According to `Ali b. al-Husayn b. al-Qasim al-Kharraz (d. ca. 250/864) all these signs occurred during the revolt of Yahya b. `Umar in 250/864. As a result, some Shi’ites, particularly the Jarudiyya, believed that the leader of this revolt, Yahya b. `Umar, was himself al-Qa’imal-Mahdi[73].

The Twelfth Imam in the Imamite traditions
The Imamite traditionists are distinguished from the Sunnites and the Zaydites by their claim that the Twelfth Imam mentioned in the Sunnite and the Zaydite traditions is in fact Muhammad the son of the eleventh Imam al- `Askari, and that he is al-Qa’im al-Mahdi. Moreover they have written in more detail about his occultation, and his political role, the signs which would precede his reappearance and the social and political conditions which might pave the way for it.

The traditions concerning the Twelfth Imam
The Prophetic traditions concerning the twelve Imams related by the Sunnite and the Zaydite traditionists were also narrated by the Imamites[74].
They applied these traditions to their twelve Imams and added traditions of the Imams themselves which indicate explicitly that the successor of the eleventh Imam was al-Qa’im. The traditions attributed to the Prophet do not indicate explicity that al-Qa’im would be the successor of al-`Askari, the eleventh Imam, whereas the sayings of the Imams do.
The earliest reference to a Prophetic tradition concerning the Twelfth Imam is recorded by the Imamite traditionists on the authority of Sulaym b. Qays al-Hilali. He was a companion of five Imams, ‘Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, `Ali b. al-Husayn and al-Baqir, and died in 90/701.[75] The Imamites regard his work as the first Shi’ite collection of Hadith[76]. He reports numerous narrations concerning the twelve Imams and the political role of the last Imam. The first of these narrations is attributed to a Christian monk who met `Ali after his return from the battle of Siffin. He informed him that he had found in the Gospels that the successors of the Prophet Muhammad would be twelve; the last of them would fill the world with justice, and Jesus would perform the prayer behind him[77].
All the other narrations in Sulaym’s work are attributed to the Prophet. The most important of these is quoted on the authority of the companions `Ali, `Abd Allah b. Ja’far al-Tayyar, Salman al-Farisi, Abu al-Haytham b. al-Tayhan, Khuzayma b. Thabit, `Ammar b. Yasir, Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad and Abu Ayyub. They narrated that the Prophet gathered his companions together at Ghadir Khumm and said to them:
O people, the legal power (al-wilaya) is granted only to `Ali b. Abi Talib and the trustees from my progeny, the descendants of my brother `Ali. He will be the first, and his two sons, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, will succeed him consecutively. They will not separate themselves from the Qur’an until they return to Allah.[78]
Sulaym adds that the Commmander of the Faithful, ‘Ali, told him, “O brother, son of Hilal, the Mahdi of my nation is Muhammad, who shall fill the earth with justice and equity as it was filled with tyranny and injustice. I know who will pay the oath of allegiance to him.[79]”
Sulaym states that he met al-Hasan and al-Husayn in Medina after the assassination of their father, ‘Ali, and related to them this tradition on ‘Ali’s authority. They confirmed that they had also heard it from the Prophet. Sulaym adds that he informed `Ali b. al-Husayn, the fourth Imam, in the presence of his son al-Baqir about this tradition, and they also confirmed its authenticity. Moreover Abban b. Abi `Ayyash reports that he met al-Baqir during the rite of pilgrimage and mentioned Sulaym’s tradition to him, and that he confirmed its authenticity[80].
But al-Mas`udi doubts the authenticity of this tradition claiming that this tradition was transmitted only through Sulaym[81].
Despite the fact that this tradition is related on the authority of Sulaym b. Qays by many Imamite scholars, such as al-Kulayni, al-Nu`mani, and al-Tusi[82], it was related and confirmed by others as well[83]. In addition al-Saduq relates the above tradition on the authority of `A1i[84],and he narrates another prophetic tradition on the authority of Abd Allah b. `Abbas:
I am the master of the Prophets and ‘Ali the master of my trustees, of whom there will be twelve; the first one is `Ali, and the last is al-Qa’im.[85]
Moreover the Imamite scholars relate numerous traditions attributed to their Imams, which confirm that the Twelfth Imam will be al-Qa’im al-Mahdi[86]. It is worth noting that al-Hadrami (fl. 3rd/9th century) reports a tradition which gives the Imam who will rise in arms the epithet al-Qa’im[87].
At the same time other narrations employ the epithet al-Mahdi, particularly in the works of al-Saffar (d. 290/902)[88].
The use of these two terms caused such confusion amongst the followers of al-Jawad that some were not sure whether al-Qa’im and al-Mahdi were the same individual or not. Therefore, according to al Saduq, al-Jawad was reported as having said that al-Qa’im is from “us” and that he would be al-Mahdi; he must be awaited by his followers during his occultation and obeyed at his rising and that he would be his descendant in the third generation[89]. The Imamites of the fourth/ninth century called the Twelfth Imam al-Qa’im al-Mahdi. Al-Mufid states that he was called al-Mahdi because he would guide people to a forgotten dogma and law[90].

The political role of al-Qa’im
It has already been pointed out that the Imams from `Ali b. alHusayn onwards adopted publicly a quiescent policy towards the Umayyads and the `Abbasids. Accordingly, they stressed the propagation of their teachings, which they expected, would result in religious and political awareness among the people and would prepare the ground for the task of al-Qa’im.
Al-Nu`mani reports that al-Baqir advised his partisan Abu al-Jarud to keep quiet at home, and not to implicate himself in the militant activities of some `Alids against the Umayyads, since the Umayyad state had a natural lifespan and the moment of its downfall had not yet come[91]. He added that any `Alid who rebelled against tyranny before the rise of al-Qa’im would inevitably fail[92].
Al-Sadiq and the later Imams followed the same policy. They ordered their followers not to allow despair to find a place in their hearts and to wait for the rise of al-Qa’im in the near future[93]. This policy enabled the Imamites to spread their doctrine and at the same time to organize themselves – during the period between 132-260/749-874 – into a well-established political and financial organization (al-Wikala). It seems probable that this underground organization was preparing for the rise of al-Qa’im. For they expected his rising[94] and placed important political and relgious duties upon his shoulders.
Several narrations suggest that the quiescent policy of the Imams was established after their followers caused two abortive rebellions. According to al-Kulayni, al-Sadiq once said:
This matter (al-Amr), that is, the endeavour to reach power, was hidden until it reached the hands of the Kaysaniyya. They revealed it on the roads and circulated it among the villagers of al-Sawad[95].
According to al-Numani the Imamites endeavoured to rise in arms twice, first in the year 70/689 and second in the year 140/758, but their followers spoiled their plans by revealing the name of their leader to their foes[96], an act which resulted in the arrest or the assassination of the Imams. In this connection a conversation between al-Baqir and his partisan `Abd Allah by `Ata al-Wasiti is revealing. Al-Wasiti said to the Imam:
You have many followers in Iraq and there is no one among your family who has the merit for leadership but you. So why do you not rise in arms? Al-Baqir replied: O `Abd Allah, do not listen to the masses, because none of us has his name mentioned by the people nor a hand pointing at him as the Imam, without soon facing inevitable death. So search for him whose birth is concealed from the people, because he will be the one who will manage such an affair.[97]
Moreover al-Sadiq was reported to have said:
This matter (the rising in arms) was vested in me, but Allah delayed it; He shall do with my progeny whatever He wants[98].
These sayings indicate that the Imams had suffered the consequences of revealing the fixed dates of their militant endeavours to reach power. Hence the later Imams did not reveal explicitly to their followers which Imam would be al-Qa’im with the sword. At the same time they encouraged their followers to follow their instructions[99], for this would pave the way for one of the Imams to reach power under the title of al-Qa’im.
Several traditions reveal that the establishment of al-Qa’im’s political state will occur through the “natural” course of events. A Prophetic tradition states that a group of people from the east will start underground activities and pave the way for the installation of al-Mahdi by military means[100].
The latter will struggle for power without any miraculous aid and will face difficulties and opposition against the propogation of his teachings, similar to the opposition which the Prophet faced with Quraysh[101]. Furthermore he will not take any militant action unless he has at least 10,000 partisans[102].
According to al-Baqir the main goal of al-Qa’im will be to establish an Islamic state and to apply Islamic law as it was revealed to the Prophet. Al-Sadiq asserts that he will follow the Prophet’s policy by eliminating and demolishing all the innovations which derive from a situation of ignorance (al-Jahiliyya) and apply Islam in a new form[103].
Other narrations indicate that he will apply the law of David and Solomon along with the Islamic law[104] and apply the rules of the Torah to the Jews and the rules of the Gospel to the Christians. According to al-Nu’mani, his state will include, in addition to the Islamic lands, the territories of Rum, Sind, India and China[105].
Some functions attributed to al-Qa’im indicate the unrest and disappointment felt by the Imamites in the face of the political and economic situation of the time. Al-Fadl b. Shadhan (d. 260/873) and al-Kulayni report that al-Qa’im will rise with the sword as God’s avenger against those who caused troubles to `Ali and his wife Fatima. He would also take vengeance against those who were responsible for the suffering of the Imams and their followers[106], particularly against those who assassinated al-Husayn. Al-Sadiq considered al-Husayn’s assassination the main reason for the rise of al-Qa’im as an avenger[107].
Other functions of al-Qa’im depict the political annoyance of the Imams towards the allegiance of the Arabs, and especially towards the clan of Quraysh who had monopolized political authority since the death of the Prophet. Al Nu`mani mentions a tradition attributed to Imam al-Sadiq: “When al-Qa’im rises he will deal with the Arabs and Quraysh only by the sword[108].
The Imamites also vested al-Qa’im with another task which reveals their dissatisfaction with the economic system of the `Abbasid state. According to al-Himyari, al-Baqir stated that when al-Qa’im rose allthe feudal systems would be abolished[109].
Al-Kulayni agrees with al Himyari and adds that al-Qa’im, after carrying out this operation, may allow his partisans to administer and cultivate the lands with the condition that they pay the legal land-tax[110].
In the light of these hopes and the repeated failure of the Zaydite uprisings, as had been expected by the Imams, the Imamites concentrated all their hopes on the uprising of al-Qa’im, whose state had been awaited since the time of al-Baqir[111]. Al-Nu`mani reports that when tie `Abbasid revolution broke out in Khurasan and black baners were raised, Abu Bakr al-Hadrami and Abban went to the Imam al-Sadiq, and asked his opinion about participating in the revolution. He warned them against it saying: “When you see us follow a man, then you must join us with weapons.”[112]
Although the Imam did not reveal the identity of the man to be followed, he confirmed that he would struggle for power by militant means and eliminate the rule of his opponents[113].
It appears that because of the militant role of al-Qa’im the Imams refrained from giving any explicit statement of his identity. However, they did indicate that since the rulers, first the Umayyads and then the `Abbasids, had reached power by “natural” means, their fall would also occur by “natural” means.
There is a good deal of evidence to indicate that some of the Imams would have taken militant action if they had had strong and faithful partisans. But they delayed this task indefinitely until the intellectual activites of their followers could bear fruit and be converted into a political awareness which might enable one of the Imams to gain power by militant means.
The Imams also wanted their partisans to be more optimistic in gaining immediate success, and not to leave the task of propagation of their teachings to al-Qa’im, whose military uprising relied on the outcome of the activities of the Imamites themselves. Finally, it seems most likely that the uprising of the Imam who would be al-Qa’im, was later attributed to the Twelfth Imam, because the Imamite propaganda reached a developed, political stage during the life-time of the Tenth and the eleventh Imams, and this might have enabled the Twelfth Imam to reach power.

The signs of the rise of al-Qa’im
The early Imamite traditionists delineated five signs which would precede the rise of al-Qa’im al-Mahdi: first, the rise of al-Yamani, then the rise of al-Sufyani, thirdly the assassination of the Pure Soul (al-Nafs al-Zakiyya) in Mecca only fifteen days before the rise of alQa’im, fourthly an outcry in the morning from the sky in the name of al-Qa’im, and finally the sinking of an army into the earth (al-Bayda’) during its march on Mecca[114]. Despite the fact that al-Nu`mani, al-Saduq and al-Tusi differ as to the chronological occurrence of these signs, they all agree that they will occur in the same year[115].
It seems that the delineation of these signs along with the expectations of the Imamites and al-Jarudiyya that al-Qa’im al Mahdi would rise in the near future[116] caused the `Abbasid authorities to be suspicious, since some of these signs were connected with their regime and indicated that al-Qa’im’s uprising was directed mainly against them. The fact that the Imams had the `Abbasids in mind can be seen in the discussion between al-Riďa, the eighth Imam, and his adherent al-Hasan b. al-Jahm[117], who said to him:
“May Allah make you prosper! The people are saying that al Sufyani will rise after the fall of the `Abbasids.” Al-Riďa said: “They lie. He will rise while they are still in power.[118]”
This statement has been confirmed in other traditions attributed to al-Sadiq. For example his companion Ya`qub b. al-Sarraj asked him:
“When will your Shi’a gain their release from suffering?” He replied, “When conflict occurs amongst the `Abbasids, and their power begins to decline. Then their partisans and their subjects will be encouraged to threaten the authorities. Thereafter al-Sufyani will rise from the West, while the Yamani will advance from the East, until they both reach Kufa, where they will destroy the `Abbasids. At the same time the Hasani will start his rebellion. Then the Master of this matter, al-Qa’im, shall advance from Medina towards Mecca to rebel.[119]”
According to al-Nu`mani, al-Sadiq added that because of these events, the fall of the `Abbasid regime was inevitable. Its fall would be similar to a piece of crockery dropped from the hand of its possessor, which then splits into pieces.”[120]
In the light of these statements attributed to the Imams it is clear that from the time of al-Sadiq onwards, the Imamites awaited the political uprising of one of their Imams, called al-Qa’im while the `Abbasids were still in power[121].
Indeed the spread of these traditions caused the `Abbasids to fear the Imams, who might have been behind some `Alid revolts. Perhaps this is why the `Abbasid caliphs became suspicious of the Imams. Even the caliph al-Mansur himself related a tradition on the authority of al-Baqir stating that al-Qa’im would be from the progeny of ‘Ali[122].
He restricted the movements of al-Sadiq and his followers and made it a policy to discriminate against them. Moreover he invested his sucessor Muhammad with the epithet “alMahdi” (158-169/775-785) in order to turn the attention of his subjects from the `Alid family toward the family of `Abbas[123].
Despite the fact that the movements of the seventh Imam, Musa al-Kazim, were also restricted by the authorities, so that he died in prison[124], the Shi’ite propaganda for the rise of an Imam in the name of al-Qa’im and al-Mahdi spread on a wide scale, particularly after the rebellion of Ibn Tabataba in 199/814.
Probably because of this situation the caliph al-Ma’mun devised a new policy towards the eighth Imam al-Riďa. He made overtures to him asking him to be his heir apparent. By this means he hoped to split the `Alids some of whom were in rebellion and to keep al-Riďa within the `Abbasid palace under close watch[125].
Al-Ma’mun followed this same policy with the ninth Imam, al-Jawad, marrying him to his daughter Umm al-Fadl, and keeping him under house-arrest[126]. Thereafter housearrest became the cornerstone of the policy of the caliphs towards the Imams. It obliged the Imams to stress the idea of the occultation as the means the Imam would employ to avoid the `Abbasid restriction, which increased from the time of al-Mutawakkil onwards.
Because his agents discovered connections between the underground activities of the Imamite agents in Baghdad, Mada’in and Kufa and the Imam al-Hadi, al-Mutawakkil followed the policy of al-Ma’mun. He wrote to al-Hadi a letter full of kindness and courtesy asking him to come to Samarra where they could meet. Afterwards al-Hadi was summoned to the capital in 233/848,[127] where he spent the rest of his life under surveillance. As a result he was prevented from meeting most of his adherents. He was only able to meet a few of his associate agents (wukala) in secret[128].
In fact al-Mutawakkil’s policy managed to prevent the `Alids from rising in arms against his regime. However it failed to destroy the system of the Wikala or to end the underground activities of the Zaydites and the Imamites. These spread throughout the empire to the extent that they were capable of causing a revolt.
Between the years 245-260/859-874 the Imamite and Zaydite traditionists were relating traditions stating that al-Qa’im would be the Twelfth Imam and urging people to join his side when he rose. The Zaydite al-`Asfari (d. 250/864)[129] and the Imamite Ahmad b. Khalid al-Barqi (d.274-80/887-93) both related such traditions. For example, in 250/864 al-Barqi passed on a narration attributed to `Ali b. Abi Talib and the Prophet al-Khidr, which states explicitly that al-Qa’im al-Mahdi would be the Twelfth Imam[130].
The spread of such narrations encouraged the Imamites to expect the rise of al-Qa’im in the near future and to link his rising with `Abbasid rule. Some of them applied these traditions along with others concerning the signs of the rise of al-Qa’im to the circumstances surrounding the `Alid revolt which broke out in 250/864. Ibn `Uqda relates that the leader of the rebellion, Yahya b. `Umar, was expected to be al-Qa’im al-Mahdi, since all the signs concerning the rise of al-Qa’im al-Mahdi related by al-Sadiq occurred during the revolt[131].
Although Yahya b. `Umar died in 250/864, the `Abbasids’ fear increased because of the continuation of this revolt and al-Hasan b. Zayd’s .(250-270/864-884) success in establishing a Shi’ite state in Tabaristan. This fear is not surprising if one bears in mind the fact that there was a well-known Prophetic tradition which stated, “A people will appear in the East who will pave the way for the Mahdi’s rise to power.”[132]
This tradition, at that time, might seem to refer to the establishment of the `Alid state in Tabaristan, which would prepare the way for the rise of al-Qa’im al-Mahdi. Other factors supported the `Abbasid fears. According to al-Tabari, `Abbasid spies discovered secret correspondence between the founder of the `Alid state in Tabaristan, al-Hasan b. Zayd, and the nephew of Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. Khalaf al- `Attar,[133] a follower of the tenth Imam al-Hadi. Moreover many pure Imamites took part in the `Alid revolt of 250/864, such as Muhammad b. Ma`ruf, who held the banner of the rebels in Mecca,[134] and `Ali b. Musa b. Isma`il b. Musa al-Kazim, who joined the rebels in al-Rayy and was arrested by the caliph al-Mu`tazz[135].
It seems that the `Abbasid authorities linked these factors with the activities of al-Hadi. Therefore they imposed tight restrictions upon al-Hadi and his followers, and arrested prominent figures in Baghdad, such as Abu Hashim al-Ja`fari, and Muhammad b. `Ali al-`Attar, and sent them to Samarra[136].
This campaign of arrest also included al-`Askari and Ja’far, al-Hadi’s two sons[137].
Another reason the `Abbasids’ feared the position of al-Hadi and his successor, al- `Askari, is the traditions of both the Prophet and the Imams concerning the series of the twelve Imams, the last of whom would be al-Qa’im al-Mahdi. This series could only be interpreted as applying to the Imamites’ tenth Imam, al-Hadi, and his successor al`Askari. So it was plausible that the successor of the latter would be the Twelfth Imam, about whom so many traditions were being related. Moreover further traditions, attributed to al-Hadi and al`Askari, themselves appeared around this period emphasizing the important political and religious role of al-`Askari’s son[138].
For example, Abu Hashim al-Ja’fari (d. 261/875), the associate and follower of al-Hadi, reports the latter as having said,
“The successor after me is my son al-Hasan but what will you do with the successor of my successor?” Al-Ja`fari said, “May Allah make me your sacrifice! Why?” The Imam said, “Because you will not see his physical body and it is not permissible for you to reveal his name.” Al-Ja’fari said, “How shall we mention him?” Al-Hadi said, “Say `The proof [al-Hujja] is from the family of Muhammad.'[139]
It seems from al-Kulayni’s report that the Imamites considered al-Hadi’s statement as applying to al-Qa’im. Moreover, they felt it explained a statement by the eighth Imam, al-Riďa, who had said that the body of al-Qa’im would not be seen and his name would not be revealed.[140]” Perhaps al-Baqir and al-Jawad’s interpretation of a Qur’anic verse, referred to on page 15, may be linked with the above two statements. For as we have seen, he stated that an Imam would go into concealment in 260/874, and would later rise like a bright, shooting star in the dark night[141].
On account of the spread of these Imamite traditions and the `Alid underground activities, the eleventh Imam, al-Hasan al- `Askari, was forced to stay in the capital under house-arrest and had to report to the `Abbasid court twice a week[142].
The authorities hoped that through these measures they would be able to prevent the appearance of any danger from the Twelfth Imam.
[23]EI1, art. “al-Mahdi”, 112.
[24]Sachedina, op.cit., 6-7.
[25] Ibn Hisham, Das Leben Muhammads (Wustenfeld, Gottingen, 1859), II, 1024.
[26] Goldziher, al-`Aqida wa-l-Shari’a, tr. Muhammad Yusuf (Cairo, 1378/1959), 327-8, 376-8.
[27] D.Sunan, IV, 201; Ibn Maja, Sunan, I, 16; Ibn A`tham al-Kufi, Kitab al-Futuh (Hyderabad, 1972), V, 31, 34.
[28]Tabari, II, 546. Ibn A`tham reports a letter attributed to the Kufans, sent to al-Husayn b. `Ali encouraging him to rebel against the Umayyads, in which they used the title al-Mahdi for al-Husayn as an honorific adjective:
Ibn A`tham, op. cit., V, 47.
[29] Rajkowski, op. cit., 166-7. There is evidence which supports the claim that Ka`b narrated traditions attributed to the People of the Book which predict the rise of al-Mahdi It is obvious from a line of poetry attributed to the poet Kutayr that those who applied this term to Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya were influenced by Ka’b. This can be noted in Kuthayyir’s saying: Huwa al-Mahdi Akhbarnahu / Ka`bun Akhu al-Akhbar fi al-Huqab al-Khawali; al-Zubayri, Nasab Quraysh (Beirut, 1953), 41.
[30] Kama’l, 30-2.
[31] Al-Nawbakhti thinks that Ibn al-Hanafiyya died in 81/700 (Firaq, 24), whereas al-Saduq puts his death in 84/703; Kama’l, 36; Ikhtiyar,126.
[32] B. Firaq, 33-4.
[33] N. Firaq, 25-6; Milal, 111-2; B. Firaq, 17,27-8,38.
[34] N. Firaq, 29-30, 42-3. For a full account of the fact that the `Abbasid propaganda was the outcome of a branch of the Kaysaniyya movement, see al Ansari, Madhdhib ibtada`atha al-Siyasa fi al-Islam (Beirut, 1973), 152-8,199-214.
[35]Kama’l, 32-4; al-Zubayri, op.cit., 41-2.
[36]N. Firaq, 54; `Uyun, 155; Maqatil, 359; B. Firaq, 44.
[37]Ibn Tawus, al-Iqbal, 53.
[38]N. Firaq, 57; Kama’l, 37.
[39] al-Hasani, Sirat al-A’imma al-Ithna `Ashar (Beirut, 1977), 370.
[40] Kama’l, 40.
[41]al-Kafi,I,341;Kama’l, 325,330; N. al-Ghayba, 75.
[42] Ibn al-Furat, al-Tafsir, quoted by al-Majlisi in Bihar, LI, 50; Kama’l, 351.
[43]al-Kafi, VIII, 287.
[44]Ibn Hawshab, Kitab al-Kashf (London, Cairo, Bombay, 1952), 6.
[45]al-Kafi, VIII, 287.
[46] al-Tusi, al-Tibyan, VIII, 114-6.
[47] al-Tusi al-Tibyan, VII, 250; Sadr al-Din al-Sadr, al-Mahdi, (Tehran, 1358),11.
[48] `Ali b. Ibrahim al-Qummi Tafsir al-Qummi (Najaf, 1387), II, 68, 84, 205-6; T. al-Ghayba, 120; al-Tusi, al-Tibyan, VIII, 404
[49] Ibn Maja, Sunan, II, 519; Abu Dawud, al-Sunan, II, 208.
[50] al-Tirmidhi, IX, 74, 75; and the Cairo edition, IV, 505-6
[51] Ibn Maja, Sunan, II, 1368.
[52] Kama’l, 286-7. Al-Tirmidhi mentioned the same tradition on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud without any details concerning the occultation of the Mahdi. Al Tirmidhi, IV, 505-6; al-Darimi, Sunan, IV, 151.
[53]Mizan, III,160; Ibn Maja, Sunan, II, 1368; al-Musannaf, XI,372.
[54] al-Thalabi, `Ara’is al-Majalis, 363; al-Kanji, op.cit., 327.
[55] al-Haythami, al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqa, 100.
[56] Osman, Mahdism in Islam, Ph.D. Thesis (Edinburgh, 1976), 204.
[57] Sulaym b. Qays al-Hilali, Kitab Sulaym b. Qays (Najaf, n.d.), 56, 159-62. Although this book has received some criticism with regard to its authenticity, a careful examination of its contents which show that it was regarded as a source by such writers as al-Kulayni in al-Kafi, al-Mas`udi in al-Tanbih wa-l-Ishraf and al-Nu’mani in Kitab al-Ghayba.
[58] `Abd al-Muhsin al-`Abbad, `Aqidat Ahl al-Sunna wa-l-Athar fi al-Mahdi al Muntazar, al-Hadi (Qumm, 1971) I, part 1, 33-5; al-Tabsi, al-Shi`a wa-l-Raja(Najjaf, 1966), 36-54.
[59] For the Umayyad and the `Abbasid use of the epithet al-Mahdi so as to gain political success, see al-Ishfahani, al-Aghani, XVI, 88; al-Darimi, Sunan, IV, 152.
[60] Watt, The Majesty that is Islam, 169-170.
[61] al-Bukhari, al-Sahih (Cairo, 1355), IV, 175; M. Sahih, III, 190-3; al-Tirmidhi, IV, 501; Ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad (Cairo, 1313), V, 294.
[62] al-Kharraz, Kifayat al-Athar, quoted by al-Galbaygani, Muntakhab al-Athar, 28.
[63] Ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 398; al-Karajuki, al-Istibsar, 12.
[64] Ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad, V, 86-90, 92-101, 106-8.
[65]N. al-Ghayba, 48-9; Kama’l, 270-3.
[66] For the biography of `Abbad and his Shi’ite sympathies see Ibn Hibban, al Majruhin, II, 172; Mizan, II 379-80, IV, 149; al-Najashi, 225.
[67] al-Hilli, al-Idah, 176; al-Galbaygani, op. cit., 5
[68] Mizan, II, 379-80
[69] Ibn Hibban, al-Majruhin, II, 172.
[70] al-`Asfari, Asl Abu Said al-`Asfari, Ms. f. 1-2.
[71] al-`Asfari, Asl Abu Said al-`Asfari, f. 2. Al-Kulayni includes these traditions in his work al-Hujja but, according to his transmission, the Prophet mentioned twelve Imams from his descendants and not eleven. Thus the number of the Imams along with `Ali would-be thirteen. Because al-Kulayni transmitted his narration on the authority of al-`Asfari, it appears that the latter’s version is more accurate. al-Kafi, I, 533-4.
[72] Ibn `Uqda, Kitab al-Malahim, f. 74-5.
[73]EI1, art. “al-Mahdi”, 112.
[74]N. al-Ghayba, 7,48,57-61, 31, 45; al-Saduq, Khisal, 436-45; `Uyun, 323, al Karajaki, al-Istibsar, Ms. f. 11-12; al-Kafi, I, 534; al-Tabsi al-Shi’a wa-l-Raja (Najaf, 1966), 129-30; Kama’l, 279.
[75] al-Barqi, Kitab al-Rijal, 4,7,8,9.
[76] Ibn al-Nadim, al-Fihrist, I, 535; N. al-Ghayba, 47.
[77] al-Hilali, Kitab Sulaym b. Qays, 135-7.
[78]Ibid., 109-10, 124-5, 165-6, 201, 204-6.
[79] al-Hilali, op. cit. 94; Kama’l, 285.
[80] al-Hilali,op. cit. 95.
[81] al-Mas`udi, al-Tanbih, 198.
[82]al-Kafi, I, 529; N. al-Ghayba, 38; 46, 274-8; T. al-Ghayba, 99.
[83]al-Tirmidhi, IV, 505-6; al-Darimi, Sunan, IV, 151.
[84] Kama’l, 259-61.
[85] Kama’l, 280. Another narration has been narrated by the companion Jabir al Ansari, which confirms that al-Mahdi would be from the progeny of `Ali b. al Husayn (al-Tusi, al-Amali II, 251), but al-Sahib b. `Abbad doubts its authenticity; Nusrat, Madhahib al-Zaydiyya, 208-9.
[86]al-Kafi, I, 531-3; al-Irshad, 393; Dala’il, 236-8, 249-51.
[87] al-Hadrami, Asl Ja’far b. Muhammad b. Shurayh, Ms. f. 32b; for other similar traditions see al-Kafi, VIII, 167, 536; Ibn Tawus, al-Igbal, 431.
[88] al-Saffar, Basa’ir al-Darajat, f. 19b, 49b; for similar traditions see al-Kafi, I, 243, 281, 338, 372, 411, 496, 536.
[89] Kama’l, 377. Al-Tusi reports another narration attributed to the tenth Imam who stated explicitly that the Twelfth Imam would be al-Mahdi (T al-Ghabya, 92). However, it might be that such narrations were not common among the Imamites. When the traditionist al-Fadl b. Shadhan (d. 260/874), talks about the role of al-Qa’im al-Mahdi, he does not attach this epithet to the Twelfth Imam; Ibn Shadhan, al-Idah, 475-6
[90]al-Irshad, 411; see also al-San`ani, al-Musannaf, XI, 472.
[91] See Chapter II.
[92]N. al-Ghayba, 104, 107, 159; al-Hadrami, op. cit., f. 48a; al-Kafi, VIII, 264
[93]N. al-Ghayba, 106-7; al-Kafi, VIII, 264, 310.
[94]N. al-Ghayba, 94, 96.
[95]al-Kafi, II, 223.
[96]N. al-Ghayba, 158
[97]al-Kafi, I, 342; Kama’l, 325.
[98] T. al-Ghayba, 278.
[99]al-Kafi, I, 368-9; Bihar, LII, 212.
[100] Ibn Maja, Sunan, II, 1366; al-Kanji, op. cit., 314.
[101] al-Kafi VIII, 225; N. al- Ghayba, 106, 160; al-Tabsi quotes a statement from Ibn A’tham attributed to `Ali which states that the partisans of al-Mahdi will start their activities from al-Talqan in Khurasan; al-Shi`a wa-l-Raj a, 141.
[102] Kama’l, 654
[103]N. al-Ghayba, 104,122,123. Al-Saffar reports that al-Qa’im will apply Islamic law according to the books of `Ali which he related directly from the Prophet; Basa’ir al-Darajat, f. 124.
[104] al-Saffar, op. cit., f. 50; al-Kafi, I, 298.
[105]N. al-Ghayba, 124, 125-6; al-Tabsi, op. cit., 218; `Ali b. Tawus, al-Malahim wa-l Fitan (Najaf, 1367), 53; Najm al-Din al-`Askari, al-Mahdi al-Maw`ud al Muntazar (Beirut, 1977), II, 10.
[106] Ibn Shadhan, Ithbat al-Raja, quoted by al-Tabsi, op. cit., 221; al-Kafi, VIII, 233; al-Saduq. `Ilal, II, 267; al-Majlisi includes in his work al-Bihar a book attributed to al-Mufaddil b. `Umar which deals with the occurrence which will take place after the rise of al-Qa’im; Bihar, LIII, 1-38; Dala’il, 239, 260; N. al Ghayba, 148.
[107]al-Kafi I, 465; al-Tusi, al-Amali, II, 33; al-Saduq, `Ilal, 229; Ibn Tawus, al Iqbal, 186.
[108] N. al-Ghayba, (the second editon), 308, 319.
[109] al-Himyari, op. cit., quoted by al-Galbagani, op. cit., 305.
[110]al-Kafi, I, 407-8.
[111]N. al-Ghayba, 103.
[112]N. al-Ghayba, 105
[113]al-Kafi, I, 240, 281, 370-2. Di`bil the poet recited a line of poetry concerning the militant role of al-Qa’im in the presence of al-Riďa; the latter confirmed this by saying that al-Qa’im would be from the progeny of al-Husayn. Di`bil, Diwan. 73,76; Kama’l, 327-4.
[114]N. al-Ghayba, 134, 139-40; Kama’l, 649; T. al-Ghayba, 286; al-Kafi, VIII, 225, 310.
[115]N. al-Ghayba, 136; T. al-Ghayba, 286; Bihar, LII, 232.
[116]N. al-Ghayba, 94.
[117] For his biography, see Ibn Dawud, Kitab al-Rijal, 104.
[118]N. al-Ghayba, 163-4.
[119]N. al-Ghayba, 135, 138, 144-5; al-Kafi, VIII, 224-5.
[120] N. al-Ghayba, 137; Bihar, LII, 232.
[121] al-Hadrami,Kitab Ja’far b. Shurayh, f. 39.
[122]al-Kafi, VIII, 209-210; al-Irshad, 404.
[123] It is reported that the Prophet said, “The Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is similar to mine” (al-Tirmidhi’. IV, 505). According to Abu Dawud, the Prophet also added, “And his father’s name is similar to my father’s name” (Abu Dawud, al-Sunan, IV, 106-7). According to the last phrase the name of al-Mahdi is Muhammad b. `Abd Allah. Perhaps al-Mansur took this point into account when he called his son, “Muhammad al-Mahdi” (al-Bidaya, X, 89). For a full account see Osman, op. cit., 266-9.
[124] See Chapter II.
[125] Ithbat, 205.
[126] Ithbat, 205.
[127]Ikhtiyar. 603, 607; al-Kafi, I, 501-2; T. al-Ghayba, 226-7.
[128]Ithbat, 262.
[129]Kama’l, 46. For examples, see al-`Asfari, Asl Abu Said al-`Asfari f. 1-2; Mizan, II, 379-80; Bihar, L, 185; al-Kindi op. cit., 229
[130]al-Kafi, I, 526-7, 338.
[131] Ibn `Uqda, Kitab al-Malahim, f. 72. According to al-Mufid only the Zaydites denied the death of Yahya b. `Umar and held that he was al-Mahdi (al-FUsul al-`Ashara, 30). But incidents seem to indicate that there was a common belief among the Imamiyya and the Jarudiyya from the years 245-60 onwards that the Twelfth Imam would be al-Qa’im al-Mahdi, but they were not sure about his identity, and whether or not he would be the son of al-`Askari.
[132] Ibn Maja,al-Sunan, II, 1368.
[133] Tabari, III, 1683.
[134] Ibn `Uqda, Kitab al-Malahim, f. 73.
[135] Muruj, VII, 404.
[136] Tabari, III, 1683-4,al-Kafi, I, 500.
[137] T. al-Ghayba, 141, 226; al-Kafi, I, 508.
[138] T. al-Ghayba, 98.
[139]Kama’l, 381; al-Kafi, I, 328, 332-3.
[140]al-Kafi, I, 333.
[141]Kama’l, 325,330; al-Kafi, I, 341.
[142] T. al-Ghayba, 139- 140.

Hujjat sae yeh Dunia Qaem Hai

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Allama Qais Zangipuri

Hujjat sae yeh Dunia Qaem Hai

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Tum pardah utha dogey jis din duniya ka bharam khul jayega
Haq yeh hai tumhaare pardeh se ek ek ka pardah qayam hai

Inkar jinhen hai ghaibat se ae Qais woh imaan kho baithe
Hum ghaib pa imaan rakhte hein imaan hamara Qayam hai