Are these Traditions about the Mahdi Authentic?
Engineer Madani: You can follow these traditions only if they are sound and reliable. Do you regard all these traditions about the Mahdi reliable?
Mr. Hoshyar: I do not claim that all the traditions, on the subject of the Mahdi are highly reliable and that all its narrators are trustworthy. However, there are some among these that could be regarded as unquestionably authentic. These traditions, like all other traditions, include authentic, good, reliable, and weak cases. It is not necessary to go through the investigation of each one of them because, as you have noticed, these traditions are so numerous that any fair minded and unprejudiced person can refer to them with confidence. This confidence is based on the underlying theme in all of them that the existence of the Mahdi was among the well known subjects of Islam whose seeds were sown by the Prophet himself and whose detailed information was provided by the Imams. It is possible to maintain with certainty that in Islam there are few other subjects which could muster so many related traditions as can be summoned concerning the existence of the Mahdi.
Let me elaborate. From the beginning of his mission until the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet had mentioned the subject of the Mahdi innumerable times. Following the Prophet, Imam 'Ali, Fatima Zahra and other prominent members of the Family, had carried on the tradition of reporting about the future coming of the Mahdi. After all they were the carriers of the Prophetic knowledge. After the death of the Prophet in the year 632 CE, Muslims were counting the days for the Mahdi to appear. This led them to recognize the false pretenders who appeared from time to time in history. These traditions were reported by all schools of Islamic thought, such as the Sunnis, the Shi'is, the Ash'ari and Mu'tazili theologians, as related by the Arab, Persian, Meccan and Medinese narrators as well as those from Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, and so on. With all these traditions, which actually number more than a thousand, is it possible for any fair minded person to cast doubt in the matter of the future coming of the Mahdi by claiming that these traditions were fabricated by the extremist Shi'is and ascribed to the Prophet?
Adopted from the book : "Al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.); the Just Leader of Humanity" by : "Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini"
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