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Is It Not Possible that the Mahdi Has Already Appeared?

Dr. Jalali: We recognize with you the fundamental belief about the Mahdi. Yet, how do we know that he has not appeared already? From the early days of Islamic history up until now there have been many individuals from different parts of the world, both belonging to the Quraysh and non-Quraysh, who have arisen with the claim to Mahdiism. Interestingly, they found supporters among the people and have even left their legacy in the sects that were named after them. In fact, some of them came to power and established dynasties that lasted for some time. Here we are awaiting the appearance of the Mahdi, and in all likelihood one of the pretenders to Mahdiism might have been a true Mahdi about which we have no information!

Mr. Hoshyar: As we have detailed in our previous discussions, we do not believe in an unidentifiable Mahdi whose characteristics are unknown to us so that we might make an error in recognizing him. On the contrary, the Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them), who informed people about this fundamental expectation and the existence of the Mahdi, provided all the detailed characteristics and qualifications of the Mahdi to remove all doubts and ambiguities about his identity. The following hadith is the summary of such a description of the future Mahdi:

The Mahdi's name is Muhammad and his patronymic is Abu al-Qasim. His mother was a slave-girl by the name of Narjis, Sayqal and Sawsan. He will be a Hashimite, from the descendants of Imam Husayn, and a direct offspring of Imam Hasan 'Askari. He was born in the year 256/868 or 255/867 in the city of Samarra in Iraq. He has two forms of occultation: one short, the other long. The second occultation will be prolonged to such an extent that many people will doubt his very existence. His age will be very long. The mission will begin in Mecca. He will launch his revolution with a sword and will annihilate all the oppressors and disbelievers. All the Peoples of the Book and Muslims will submit to his authority. He will establish a universal Islamic government on earth, will thoroughly uproot the forces of injustice and tyranny, and will replace these with justice and equity. Islam will become the universal faith and the Mahdi will expend his energy to spread it peacefully amongst all. Such are the traits and functions of the Mahdi for whom the Muslims are awaiting.

Adopted from the book : "Al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.); the Just Leader of Humanity" by : "Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini"

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