Who is the Savior?
- :Imam Reza Network
One of the common beliefs among all nations and religions is believing in a divine savior who is the cause3 of vast blessings and charity for human being. Of course, such savior differs from one nation to another; and it would be discussed in the article: Mahdi (A.S.) in religions.
Believing in a savior is in human's nature that causes hope giving and inspiring. Shia insists explicitly on existence of a savior, Mahdi (A.S.), but the difference is that in Ithna'ashari Shia (1), believing in Mahdi (A.S.) is one of the principles of the school. Prayers to Allah (SWT) and acceptance of worships would be accomplished only by believing in this important base.
In this article Shiite's opinion on definite believing in a savior will be emphasized.
Who is the Savior according to Shiite beliefs?
Shiites believe that the Savior (Mahdi (A.S.)) is the ninth descent of Imam Hussain (A.S.), the third Imam of Shiites. Imam Hussain (A.S.) is the son of Imam Ali (A.S.) and Lady Fatimah (A.S.) the Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W.) daughter. Mahdi (A.S.) is son of Imam Hassan Askari (A.S.) (the eleventh Imam of Shiites). According to reliable narratives from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), Mahdi (A.S.) is his namesake. He was born in the city of Samarrah in Iraq in year 255 AH (Lunar Calendar). He is one of the people who live much longer than other in history. Shiites believes that he is alive but away from people's eyes. Mahdi's (A.S.) occultation (not absence) is the will of Allah (SWT), however, this occultation has protected his life.
Mahdi (A.S.) is the twelfth Imam of Ithna'ashari Shiites and their greatest leader in the world at present and Shiite's flag is in his hands. His location is not known exactly and Shiites believe that he lives among people.
He is the most pious, just, learned and truthful of all the people. Shia considers him as an infallible (which means he is away from any sin and fault). He is the true interpreter of Holy Quran and the performer of right commandments of Islam. He is the most similar person to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Allah (SWT) gives His blessing to the world through Mahdi (A.S.).
He has occulted for an unknown period, but benefits mankind like the sun behind the clouds. He is the kindest of all people and whatever Shiite has is indeed from him. There are many arguments about his occultation, which we will describe in an article titled "Occultation". There would be relief (Faraj) after this occultation by the will of Allah (SWT) which is known as "Reappearance" era.
At first, he will rise from Makkah and will organize a worldwide revolution to spread justice. He will destroy all the wicked and will propagate honesty and theism. He will govern the entire world several years and in the golden era of his appearance, people will experience a divine government, which was desired by all of previous prophets and Imams. In this era, Jesus Christ will come from sky to the earth to help Mahdi (A.S.). The number of his leading companions are 313 (same as the number of soldiers in the first battle of Islam) who are the outstanding people in the history. In fact most of them do not belong to that time but they will gain their lives once again by the command of Allah (SWT) to help Mahdi (A.S.). Further, he will punish the enemies of previous Imams. More details about this era will be discussed in the article: "Reappearance Era".
And finally, after years of his governorship, he will be martyred by the most vicious of all people and that is the time when all people will die and will be raised by Allah's (SWT) will in the day of resurrection for the final judgment.
Mahdi (A.S.) in Sunni Traditions
It has been talked about Mahdi (A.S.) in prophetic traditions a lot. Prophetic traditions are traditions that both Shia and Sunni certify.) As we try to explain Sunni's beliefs about Mahdi (A.S.) in this article, we refer to traditions found in Sunni's authentic books so that his advent in traditions would be recognized.
1-Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "If it remains only one day to the end of the world, Allah will inspire a man of my family, who will make the world full of justice after it has become full of oppression." (Sahih Abu Dawood, vol. 2, p. 208)
2-Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "If it remains only one day to the end of the world, Allah will elongate that day until a man of my family whose name is the same as mine will be inspired, he will make the world full of justice after it ha become full of oppression." (Sahih al-Tirmidhi, vol. 5, p. 343)
3-Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Some time, the world will become full of oppression, and then a man of my family will appear. He will rule for seven or nine years and will make the world full of justice." (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 28)
4-Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Mahdi is from my family and a son of my daughter, Fatimah." (al-Sava’iq, p.163 & Sunan ibn Majah, vol. 2, p. 1368]
5-Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Mahdi (A.S.) is from us, he has a long forehead and a knob on his nose. He will make the world full of justice after it has become full of oppression." (Sahih Abu Dawood, vol. 2, p. 208)
6-Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "I give you good tidings about Mahdi, he will be inspired in my community and make the world full of justice as it has become full of oppression, people will be satisfied with him, and will divide all properties equally between all people. Allah will make people free from want and justice will be everywhere." (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 37)
7-Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Actually, Ali ibn Abitalib is the leader of my community and my successor. Mahdi is of his sons, by which Allah will make the world full of justice after it has become full of oppression. I swear to Allah, who has delegated me, people who abide by his Imamat during his occultation are rare such as red Sulphur." (Hamwayni in Fara’id al-Samtain, the end of vol. 2)
8-Abd al-Rahman al-Suyuti, one of the great Sunni scholars has written in his book that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Anyone who denies the appearance of Mahdi has become pagan."
9-Ibn Hajar Haithami Shafe'i has written in his book, al-Sava'iq (p. 164): "Ab al-Qasim, Prophet Muhammad, al-Hujjat, his age is five when his father passes away. Allah has given knowledge at that time. He is called "Qa'im al-Muntadhar", he is the savior of this community and Jesus will say prayers with him.
Sunnis actually have a lot of things to say about this subject and even have written many books about it. The number of them is more than 30, but we list some of them below:
-Al-Burhan fi Akhbare Sahib al-Zaman by Ganji Shafei
-Al-Burhan fi Alamate Akhir al-Zaman (Shah Mulla Muttagi)
-Al-Qaul al-Mukhtasar fi Alamate al-Mahdi (A.S.) al-Muntadhar (Ibn Hajar)
-Mahdi (A.S.) Aal al-Rasool (al-Herawi al-Hanafi)
-Aqd al-Dorar fi Akhbar Imam al-Muntadhar (Jamaleddin Yusefi al-Dimashqi)
-Manaqib al-Mahdi (A.S.) (Hafidh abi Na’im Isfahani)
-Al-Orf al-Wardi fi Akhbar al-Mahdi (A.S.) (al-Suyuti), Kitab al-Mahdi (A.S.) (Abu Dawood)
The Belief of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the scholars of Madinah University
The member of the board of education of Madinah Munawwarah University (Al Jame Al Islamia Bil Madnatil Munawwarah) Professor Sheikh Abdul Mohsin Bin Hamdal Abaad presented a paper in an important seminar which was attended by the vice chancellor Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baaz. The title of that paper was, "The Belief of Ahle-Sunnat: Signs regarding The Awaited Mahdi." This article was published in the mouthpiece of the University, "Majlisul Jame Al Islamia" year one issue no.3 Zilqad ul Haraam 1388 A.H. This treatise is comprising of 40 pages of book size and is divided into ten sections:
I. An account of those companions who had related traditions regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.) from the Holy Prophet, (s.a.w.a.).
II. An account of the scholars and traditionalists who have mentioned these traditions in their books.
III. An account of those scholars who have compiled books based on this subject.
IV. An account of those scholars who have labeled these traditions to be Mutawatir (widely related).
V. An account of those traditions about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) which are recorded in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
VI. Those traditions which are recorded in other authentic books other than two Sahihs (Bukhari and Muslim).
VII. An account of those scholars who have studied these traditions and accepted it as a part of faith.
VIII. Those who have rejected those traditions. An account of their arguments and their scholarly replies.
IX. An account of those things which overtly oppose these traditions and the replies to these.
When Abdul Mohsin completed the presentation, Abdullah bin Baaz praised it extensively and approved it. He also added some more points.
A few points from the fourth section are presented below in the following paragraph. It shall be clear from the same that the belief of Mahdaviyat is not exclusive to Shias, but it is also present in the Sunnis and the belief of Mahdaviyat is obligatory for all. It could be concluded from this essay that they (Sunnis) are also waiting for Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
The excerpt is as follows:
Hafiz Abul Hasan ibn Al-Husam Al-Abri (died 363 A.H.) writes in his book "Manaqib ush-Shaafi" :
The traditions which are related from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) regarding Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.) are Mutawatir (consecutively related) and are to be regarded favorably.
Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) is from Ahle Bait (a.s.)
Hafiz Muhammad Al-Bazranji (died 1103 A.H.) has written in the third chapter of his book "Al Ashaa-a-al-Ashraat- as-saa-a": Reports in connection with Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) are presented in various ways and are numerous. It is often reported in authentic traditions that he will be from the progeny of Janabe Fatema Zahra (s.a.). The reports are so many that there is no scope for rejection.
Sheikh Muhammad al Safarini (died 1183 A.H.) writes in his book "Lawame al-Anwaar al Bahiya": The reports about Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) are so numerous that they reach the grade of 'Mutawatir' (widely related). They are so famous among the scholars of Ahle Sunnat that they are considered as their belief- on the basis of this the belief in the reappearance of Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is necessary. This is what that is accepted by the men of letters (scholars) and it is the belief of Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat.
Qazi Muhammad bin All al-Shaukafi (died 1250 A.H.) states in his book titled "At-tawzeeh Fi Tawaatur Jame Fil Mahdi Al Muntazar Wai Dajjal Wai Masih": The total number of traditions regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.) that we have access to are fifty. Without any doubt these traditions are 'Mutawatir'. The companions have also reported widely about Imam Mahdi (a.s.). There is no scope for interpretations on a subject so clear.
Sheikh Siddiq Hasan Khan Kanauji (died 1307 A.H.) has mentioned in his book, "Al-lzaah he Maakaana wa Maayakoon Baine Yadaee As Saah." The reports regarding Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.) are so numerous that they attain the degree of 'Mutawatir'. There is no doubt that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear in the Aakher az-Zamaan (the last period). However the year and the month is not prescribed. And none cares for those who reject this.
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Jafar al-Katam (died 1340 All.) has written in his book, "Nazmul Mutanaasir Minal Hadith al Mutawatir" Thus the traditions regarding the Awaited Mahdi are Mutawatir.
In the concluding portion of the essay Abdul Mohsin says that to reject the traditions of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) or to entertain any doubt concerning them is highly dangerous. We pray to Allah for well-being, forgiveness and steadfastness upon the truth.
The speech which was delivered by Abdulla Ibn Baaz after the presentation of this paper was later transcribed from the cassette and published with the essay.
He says in the speech: "Whatever has been mentioned by Sheikh Abdul Mohsin Al Abaad is correct and true. The matter regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is famous and well-known among the scholars, and the traditions regarding him are Mutawatir. Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is a blessing of Allah upon the Muslim people in the last period (Akhir uz-Zaman). He will appear and establish truth and justice and eradicate oppression and tyranny. Allah will hoist the flag of goodness through him. Through him, only, Allah will guide the people.
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