SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) —Belief in imam al-Mahdi (a.s) and his characteristics is what the holy Qur'an has given certification to be among the principles of faith. The holy Qur'an says: "We have not neglected anything in the Book" (An’am: 38)
On another occasion the book of Allah states:
"..and We have revealed the book (Qur'an) to you explaining clearly everything (Nahl: 89) It is the nature of Qur'an not to remain silent upon such an important basic principle, the holy prophet (s.a.w.) also called a person that doesn’t believe in imam al-Mahdi (a.s) to be an infidel. There are numerous traditions from both the Shiite and Sunni chains of transmitters that interprete the above mentioned verses in order to explain the view point of Qur'an about Mahdiism (Mahdawiyyah).
These traditions, clearly state that these verses are about imam al-Mahdi (a.s), the book that has the best collection of the verses of Qur'an that talk about imam al-Mahdi (a.s) in the light of Sunni traditions and report, is 'Al Mahdi Fil Quran' written by respected scholar Sayyed Sadiq Shirazi in 1978.
This book records 86 verses of Qur'an that have relationship and are concerned about Hazrat imam al-Mahdi (a.s). Hence the books of able Sunnat are replete with such traditions along with the chains of transmitters.
As for the scholars among the followers of the progeny of the prophet (s.a.w.w) they have compiled numerous books on this subject. The foremost and oldest book is 'Al Muhajja Feema Nazala-fil-Qaaemil Hujjah.' This book is written by the great Shiite’s scholar Allama Syed Haashim Bahrani (1174 A.H.). In this valuable work of research, the author has recorded one hundred and twenty verses of Qur'an that refer to imam al-Mahdi (a.s). He relied on the Shiites traditional reports by benefiting from the narrations of the Ahlul-Bait (a.s). Some reliable scholars have carried out researches and concluded that the book of Allah contains 217 verses that speak explicitly about imam al-Mahdi (a.s) [Ref: al-AyaatuI Baahira Fi Baqiyatil ltratiut Taahira: written by Syed Dawood Meer Sabiri].
In the present discussion, we shall mention some of such verses that there interpretation and commentary state that they have been revealed concerning Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s) (May Allah hasten his reappearance). We shall quote from both the Shiites and Sunni books of narration.
A-Verses of Qur'an that were revealed about Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s.) as recorded by the Sunni scholars:
A-1- Huzaifa bin Yamani says: "One day i entered in the presence of the holy Prophet (s.a.w) and asked regarding the following verse, " these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the good doers, and a goodly company are they! !" (Nisa : 69)I, (HazaifaYamani) asked that who are those referred to in this verse? The holy prophet (s.a.w) replied: "0 Huzaifa, the word 'prophets' upon whom Allah has bestowed favors refers to me. I am the first of the prophets who was selected for prophet hood (before the creation of the world) and i am the last of them to be sent to the world. The word 'truthful' refers to Ali lbn Abi Talib (AS)."When the Almighty Allah sent me as a Prophet, the first one to testify for my Prophet hood is Ali (a.s) The word 'witnesses' implies Hamza and Jafar at-Tayyar (a.s) the word 'good' stands for the two chiefs of the youths of Paradise, Hasan and Husain (a.s). The 'goodly company' refers to imam al-Mahdi in his time. " (Shawahid utTanzeel by Haakim Haskani 1/135)The last portion of the tradition infers that these people in the time of al-Mahdi (a.s) will be associates of each other and will remain united. This report also indicates the 'Rajat' (resurrection of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) in the era of the reappearance of hazrat al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance).
(2) In a lengthy tradition, Hazrat imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s) describes the events of the days of reappearance: "When al-Mahdi (a.s) reappears his back will rest on the wall of Ka’aba, the scene would be such that he would be surrounded completely by 313 of his most obedient and loyal supporters. The first words that he will utter would be the verse of Qur'an that says: "What remains with Allah (Baqiyatullah) is better for you if you are believers.. (Hud : 86)
"After this he is going to declare, i am the Baqiyatullah, the divine vicegerent and His proof on you,' Later, whoever approaches him, salutes him and says, 'as -Salamo Alaika Ya BaqiyatallaheFil Arz' (Salutations upon you, 0 the Baqiyatullah upon the earth)." (Nurul Absar by Syed Momin Shablanjee Shafaee exp. 172 A.H.)
(3) Hasan bin Khalid enquired about the following verse from hazrat Ali lbn Musa ar-Ridha (a.s): " He (Iblis) said: My Lord! then respite me till the time when they are raised. He (Allah) said: So surely you are among the reprieved. Till the period of the time made known. (Hijr : 36-38)
The reporter asked imam (a.s), "Does Satan request Allah for respite till the day of Judgment and did Allah respite him till the appointed hour?" Imam Reza (a.s) replied, "The period of the time made known refers to the day of the reappearance of our Qaem (a.s)" The imam (a.s) was further asked, "0 Son of the Prophet of Allah, who among you i.e. the progeny of the prophet is the Qaa’eem?" He (a.s) replied, "He shall be from my fourth generation. He is the son of the chief of the maids of Allah. He is going to cleanse the face of the earth from all kinds of injustice and tyranny and purify it from all kinds of evils. " (Faraaedus Simtain by Shaykhul Islam Hammui, Vol. 2)
In this exquisite tradition imam Redha that is the eightieth imam (a.s.) has introduced imam al-Mahdi (a.s) as his fourth descendant i.e. the twelfth imam. He has also indicated that the respected mother of Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s) will be Narjis Khatoon. She is stated to be the daughter of honorable parents but was sold as a slave maid.
(4) It is recorded from the great Sunni exegesist, Saeed bin Jubayr that he says regarding the following verse: " He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness. " Fath: 28
The phrase 'that He may make it prevail over all the religions' refers to the same al-Mahdi (a.s.) who is from the progeny of Fatima az-Zahra (s.a). (al-Bayan Fi Akhbare Sahibizamaan Hafiz Ganji Shafaee, p. 73)
Hence the divine promise that Islam shall prevail over all religions will be fulfilled only in the period of the reappearance of imam al-Mahdi (a.s).
(3) One of the stalwarts among the strong writers of ahlis-Sunnah, Hafiz Abu Jafar atTabari narates from Zaid bin Arqam the companion of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) that he said, 'When the holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) was returning from the last Hajj, he halted at Ghadeer-e-Khumm at the time of Zohr braving the extremely hot and scorching sun. He led the Muslims in prayers and later delivered an eloquent and meaningful sermon. In it, he recited the verse of Qur'an that says, "Therefore believe in Allah, His Apostle and the Light which we have revealed ..." (Surah Taghabun 64: 8). Then the Prophet (s.a.w.w) said, "O People.! The Light that Allah has revealed is in me. After me in Ali (a.s) and after him in his progeny. Till this sequence reaches al-Qaem al'Mahdi (a.s)". (Maza ' Fi at-Taarikh - Allama Qubaisi, 3/145-147)
Hence, this Light is the light of divine guidance and that of the leadership of the Ummah (the people). First this light was present in the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) followed by Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s) and after him it will continue to exist in his infallible descendents till it reaches Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s). All these lofty personalities shall be the “Divine Proofs".
(B) The verses of Qur'an revealed about Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) according to the traditions recorded by Shiites authorities:It is reported from Yahya bin abil Qasim: i asked imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s) regarding the divine statement - "Alif Lam, Mim. This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil). Those who believe in the unseen." Baqarah : 1,2. Imam (a.s) remarked, "those who guard (against evil) are the Shiites i.e. follower of Ali (a.s) and the unseen infers the unseen proof (imam)." Our contention is corroborated by the following verse of the holy Qur'an that says: " And they say: Why is not a sign sent to him from his Lord? Say: The unseen is only for Allah; therefore wait-- surely i am also with you among those that wait. [Yunus : 20.] (Ref: Kamaluddin by Shaykh Sadooq, Vol. 2, p. 340)
It is evident that the belief in the Hidden Proof, imam al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) is one of the characteristic features of the Shiites of Ali (a.s). (2) Abu Ja’far imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s) explains the following verse of the holy Qur'an: "(They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer, give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs. [Hajj : 41]
He (a.s) says, "This verse concerns the progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.w). The Almighty Allah will present the east and the west of the earth in the service of Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s) and his companions. He, the Almighty, will make the Islamic religion universal through Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s) and his companions, ' He will also eradicate innovations (in religion) and evil." (Taweelul Ayaatiz Zaahirah, P.343)
This verse lays the foundation of the reappearance, rising and the rule of Hazrat imam al-Mahdi (a.s).
(3) When Abu Basir asked imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s), the meaning of the following verse : " Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange; . They serve Me. They ascribe no thing as partner unto Me. Those who disbelieve henceforth, they are the miscreants. [Nur:55] imam (a.s) replied, "This verse is revealed in connection with al'Qaem (a.s) and his companions".(Al-Ghaybah, p. 126)
This above mentioned verse of Qur'an is about the reappearance and uprising of imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) ~ the common belief of Ahlus-Sunnah also shows four characteristics and aims for the universal rule of Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s.)
The establishment of a universal government.
Giving absolute power to the religion of Islam.
Creating an atmosphere for complete security and peace.
Annihilation of polytheism and idolatry(Shirk).
(4) Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Hasan asked from Imam Muhammad al Baqir (a.s.) the meaning of the following verse : "And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it." (Anbiya : 105)
Imam Baqir (a.s.) said, "The righteous servants in the last age shall be the companions of al-Mahdi (a.s)" (Taaweelul Ayaatiz Zahira)
This verse indicates that the glad tidings of the universal government of the helpers and followers of Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s) has been mentioned in the Torah and the Zaboor.
(3) Ammar-e-Yasir (r.a.) reported a lengthy tradition from the holy prophet (s.a.w.w) wherein he has mentioned the lofty position and merits of Ali lbn Abi Talib (a.s). The holy prophet (s.a.w.w) has stated in this narration that Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s.) would be a descendant of Ali (a.s). In reply to the query of Ammar-e-Yasir as to 'who is Mahdi' , the holy prophet (s.a.w.w.) said, "0 Ammar! the Almighty Allah has promised me that from the loins of Husain (a.s) will be born ninth imams (a.s). The ninth one of them shall be hidden from the public eye. For the same reason Allah says, " Say; Have you considered if your water should go down in the earth, -who is it then that will bring you spring of flowing water (Mulk : 30) for him (i.e. Mahdi (a.s.) the 12th imam) it would be such a prolonged occultation that a section of the people would turn away from their belief. Whereas another section (of the people) will remain firm and steadfast he is then going to reappear and rise during the last hour and fill the earth with justice and equity just as it would be fraught with injustice and oppressions ... " (Kifayatul Asar, p.l2)
This verse pictures the existence of Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s) to be like the underground spring of flowing water, gushing forth from the earth. This brief discussion shows that the holy Qur'an contains various aspects of the reappearance, occultation and also the characteristics of Hazrat al-Mahdi (a.s.). There is unanimous agreement by the eminent and the best authoritative reliable scholars of the two schools of Shiites and Sunni on this issue.
May the Almighty Allah, for the intercession of his dearest ones, bring to an end the occultation of the last hope of Humanity, hasten his reappearance and include us among his helpers and followers. Amen.