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The sudden nature of the advent of al-Qa'im (pbuh)

The Shia and the Sunni traditionists have narrated many traditions, which state that the advent of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will be rectified by Allah within just one night. In other words, the time of the Imam's reappearance is very unpredictable and depends on Allah's sudden choice of action, and his advent will take place miraculously.

The Sunnis have narrated from Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyya (RA) and Imam Ali (PBUH) that the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) said:

"al-Mahdi is of us Ahl al-Bait (PBUT). Allah shall rectify his matter within a night." 11

In some other traditions, the Imams (PBUT) stated that the time of the reappearance of al-Qa'im (PBUH) is like the time of the Hour (of resurrection), which is completely unpredictable and is known only to Allah. The time of resurrection has not yet been decreed and Allah shall enforce it suddenly once He wills. Di'bil narrated:

Imam Ali Ibn Musa al-Ridha (PBUH) said, "As for news of the time (of reappearance), indeed my father told me having heard it from his father who heard it from his ancestors who heard it from Ali (PBUH) that it was asked from the Prophet (PBUH&HF), 'O the Apostle of Allah! When will al-Qa'im from your offspring appear?'

He said, 'His similitude is the similitude of the Hour (of resurrection). 'None but He shall manifest it at its time. It is heavy for the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you except suddenly.' (7:187)"

Allah states in the Quran:

They ask you about the Hour - when will be its appointed time? Say, The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone). None but He shall manifest it at its time.

It is heavy for the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you unless suddenly. They ask you as if thou were eager in search thereof. Say, The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone), but most men know not. (7:187)

In fact, the traditions state that some of the Quranic terms and verses that apparently refer to the day of resurrection alternatively refer to the day of the rising of al-Qa'im (PBUH) as well. These terms include, "the hour (al-Saa'a)" 12, "the hereafter (al-Akhira)" 13, "the days of Allah (Ayyam Allah)" 14, "the day of the religion (Yawm al-Din)" 15, "the day of emergence (Yawm al-Khuruj)" 16, etc. One of the most important common specifications of both events is their sudden, unexpected, and miraculous manifestation.

Once Allah makes Badaa and creates His decree on the sudden advent of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH), the first one who will become aware of it is the Imam (PBUH) himself through divine inspiration. Allah states in the Quran:

Then, when it is knocked in Naqur, that day will be a tough day, far from easy for the disbelievers. (74:8) Mufadhdhal Ibn Umar narrated:

On the commentary of verse, "Then, when it is knocked in Naqur," (74:8) Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "Certainly, of us will be an Imam who will be victorious and will be hidden. Once Allah, the Glorious, wills to manifest his affair, He shall impact his heart with a hint, and thereupon, he will emerge and will rise by the authority of Allah, the Glorious." 17 Moreover, Abu Jarud narrated:

I said to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (PBUH), "May I be sacrificed for you, inform me about the holder of this matter." The Imam (PBUH) replied, "He turns from the most fearful person to the most confident overnight, and his program will be revealed to him in a matter of one night and one day."

I asked, "Is this revealed to him?" The Imam (PBUH) replied, "O Aba Jarud, this is not the revelation of the prophet hood. Rather, it will be a revelation similar to the one that He gave to Maryam, the daughter of Imran, to the mother of Moses, and to the honeybee. O Abu Jarud, the Qa'im of the family of Muhammad (PBUH&HF) is more honorable than Maryam, the mother of Moses, and the honeybee!" 18 The fear of the Imam (PBUH) is mainly due to the dangers and calamities that threaten those who love him.

The sudden change of the state of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) from the state of fear to the state of security, which is also pointed out in verse, "He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange," (24:55) shows that even the Imam (PBUH) does not know the time of his reappearance until Allah initiates Badaa, makes it a knowable reality, and permits his reappearance to save the servants of Allah.

Thus, like his followers, the Imam (PBUH) himself is one in expectation. Of the titles that have been mentioned in the traditions for Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) are: "the expected (al- Muntadhar)" and "the expectant (al-Muntadhir)".

All the above pieces of evidence, among others, prove that the time of the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) is of pending matters (Mawquf) and that his coming is very unpredictable and sudden. This event will be one of the greatest manifestations of Allah's power,

which will take place at the time that most people would consider it unfeasible. Allah will suddenly make Badaa and will fully accommodate the Imam's advent within one night. Although the reappearance of al-Mahdi (PBUH) is in Allah's will, the time of his reappearance has not yet been decreed.


11. Sunan, Ibn Maja, chapter of al-Fitan, section on the rising of al-Mahdi (PBUH), vol. 2, p. 269, Hadith 4085; Musnad, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, chapter of Musnad Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH); al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, Ibn Hajar al-Haithami, chapter 11, section 1, p. 250; Tafsir Durr al-Manthur, al-Suyuti, vol. 7, under the commentary of chapter 47, verse 18.

12. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 17, p. 351, Hadith 1.

13. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 63, Hadith 64.

14. Bihar al-Anwar, v 51, p. 50, Hadith 23.

15. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 61, Hadith 61.

16. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 53, p. 65, Hadith 57. This term refers to the time of al-Raj'a (earthly return) when some of the best believers along with some of the worst disbelievers who have died before the rising of al-Qa'im (PBUH) will be raised from their graves after his rising.

17. al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 343, Hadith 30; al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p. 164; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, Hadith 49.

18. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 389, Hadith 209.

Adapted from the book: "Moment by Moment: Expecting the Advent of al-Qa'im (PBUH)" by: "Vahid Majd"

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