Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi

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For the Fatimid caliph, see al-Qa'im (Fatimid caliph). Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_0

For other uses, see Mahdi. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_1

Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_table_infobox_0

Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi
حُجَّة ٱللَّٰه ٱلْمَهْدِيّ

12th Imam of Twelver Shia IslamHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_0_0

BornHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_1_0 Muhammad

15 Sha'ban 256 AH (c. (870-07-18)July 18, 870 CE) Samarra, Abbasid EmpireHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_1_1

DisappearedHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_2_0 Minor Occultation
Disappeared date 
c. 873 and age 5 
Major Occultation 

c. 941 Samarra, IraqHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_2_1

StatusHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_3_0 Disappeared, believed by Twelver Shia Islam to be due to The OccultationHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_3_1
MonumentsHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_4_0 Al-Sahlah Mosque, Iraq

Maqam e Ghaybat, Iraq Jamkaran Mosque, IranHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_4_1

AgentHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_5_0 The Four DeputiesHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_5_1
Known forHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_6_0 Last Twelver ImamHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_6_1
TitleHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_7_0 Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_7_1
TermHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_8_0 874 CE – presentHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_8_1
PredecessorHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_9_0 Hasan al-AskariHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_9_1
MovementHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_10_0 Twelver Shia IslamHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_10_1
Opponent(s)Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_11_0 Shaytan, Sufyani, DajjalHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_11_1
Parent(s)Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_12_0 Hasan al-Askari (father)

Narjis (mother)Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_12_1

RelativesHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_0_13_0 Muhammad (forefather),
Fatimah (sister),
Sayyid Ali Akbar (brother),
Musa (brother),
Ja'far (brother),
Ibrahim (brother),
Ayesha (sister)Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_0_13_1

Hujjat Allah ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi (Arabic: حُجَّة ٱللَّٰه ٱبْن ٱلْحَسَن ٱلْمَهْدِيّ‎, Ḥujjat Allāh ibn al-Ḥasan al-Mahdiy) is believed by the Twelver Shia to be the Mahdi, an eschatological redeemer of Islam and the final Imam of the Twelve Imams who will emerge with Isa (Jesus) in order to fulfil their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_2

Twelver Shias believe that al-Mahdi was born on the 15th Sha'ban 870 CE/ 256 AH and assumed Imamate at nearly four years of age following the killing of his father Hasan al-Askari. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_3

In the early years of his Imamah, he is believed to have had contact with his followers only through The Four Deputies. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_4

This period was known as the Minor Occultation (ٱلْغَيْبَة ٱلصُّغْرَىٰ) and lasted from 873–941 CE. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_5

A few days before the death of his fourth deputy Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Samarri in 941, he is believed to have sent his followers a letter. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_6

In that letter, which was transmitted by al-Samarri, he declared the beginning of Major Occultation (ٱلْغَيْبَة ٱلْكُبْرَىٰ), during which Mahdi was not to be in contact with his followers directly, but had instructed them to follow the pious high clerics for whom he has mentioned some distinguishing merits. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_7

Most Sunni Muslims reject that he was the Mahdi and believe that the Mahdi has not yet been born. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_8

They believe his exact identity is only known to Allah, other than the idea that he is to be from the descendants of Muhammad. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_9

Aside from the Mahdi's precise genealogy, Sunnis accept many of the same hadiths which Shias accept about the predictions regarding the Mahdi's emergence, his acts, and his universal Caliphate. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_10

Sunnis also have many hadiths about Mahdi which are in their Hadith collections. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_11

Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan and At-Tayyib Abu'l-Qasim ibn Al-Mansur are descendants of the Islamic Nabi (Prophet) Muhammad who are considered by different groups of Shi'ites (respectively Twelvers and Tayyibi Isma'ili-Musta'li-Isma'ilis) to be Occulted Imams and Mahdis. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_12

Attributes Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_0

According to the Shia, the Mahdi belongs to Muhammad's Bayt (Household), being a descendant of Ali, Fatimah and Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin, and is considered by Twelvers to be the son of Al-Askari, and consequently the twelfth Imam of the Twelve Imams of the Bayt. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_13

It is considered that his life and occultation would be prolonged, and then that with his appearance, he would fill the earth with justice and righteousness, and allow Islam to rule it. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_14

Abdulaziz Sachedina describes him as "the victorious Imam" of Shia "who will restore the purity of the Faith" and "bring true and uncorrupted guidance to all mankind, creating an adequately just social order and a world free from tyranny and wickedness." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_15

Birth and family Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_1

According to Twelver Shias, because of the Abbasids' crackdown on Alids' revolts for fear of the expected liberator from Ali's progeny, Al-Askari kept the child's birth on 255/868 secret and informed only close companions of the existence of his successor. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_16

Al-Mahdi's mother was reportedly named Narjis. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_17

There are a couple of narrations regarding the origin of his mother. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_18

One is that Narjis was a Byzantine slave. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_19

Another narration says she was a black slave from Africa. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_20

Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi states that names like Sawsan, Narjis or Rayhana were common names for slaves at that time and his mother's name supports this narration. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_21

Another narration says that she was a Byzantine princess who pretended to be a slave so that she might travel from her kingdom to Arabia. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_22

Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi suggests in Iranica that the last version is "undoubtedly legendary and hagiographic". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_23

Shaikh Tusi says that his mother's name was Malika the daughter of Yashu'a-, son of the Caesar of Rome. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_24

Her mother was from the descendants of the Disciples of Jesus, and her lineage went back to the successor of Jesus, Simon Peter. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_25

She adopted herself Narjis when she came to Arabia. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_26

Aside from Shia works, almost nothing is known about the life of this Imam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_27

In the biographies of Mahdi written by Shi'is themselves, it is hard to draw a line between hagiographical and historical works. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_28

In Shia sources, even in historical works of Ibn Babawayh, the birth of the Imam was miraculous which must be considered as hagiography. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_29

According to Yaan Richard, some even cast doubt on his actual existence. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_30

Occultation Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_2

Main article: Occultation (Islam) Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_31

Twelver Shias believe that the Imam did not suffer death, but that, for various reasons, has been concealed by Allah from mankind. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_32

This event is known as "The Occultation". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_33

Since the year AH 329 (about 940 CE), the occultation has been divided into two periods. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_34

The Quran states, that there are two kinds of saints of God among people: apparent and hidden. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_35

The hidden saints live among the people and are aware of them, but the people do not know them. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_36

Sura Kahf 18:65–66 implies that even though people do not know the hidden saints, they benefit from them like the sun hidden behind the clouds. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_37

Shias generally believe that in every age, there is an Imam, either apparent or hidden. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_38

But in times that there are dangers threatening the life of the Imam, he is concealed by God's order, hence the Occultation of the twelfth Imam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_39

Al-Nu'mani states two reasons for the Occultation in particular: a) a test for the followers of the Imam and their faith, b) saving the Imam from Bay'a (allegiance) to the oppressive leaders. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_40

With all that said, a Hadith states that the real reason for the Occultation will be only known when the Imam re-appears as in the story of Musa and Khidr where the reasons for Khidr's deeds were not immediately revealed to Musa. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_41

When Jabir asked Muhammad about the benefits of the hidden Imam, he replied that the people would benefit from his authority (Walayah) as they benefit from the sun when it is covered by the clouds. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_42

Sharif al-Murtaza, a classical Shia scholar has argued that the reason for the Imam's Occultation was to protect his life after establishing the just state had been rendered impossible by his enemies. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_43

But Shias would still benefit from the Imam because belief in his hidden presence keeps them from committing evil in their life. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_44

Since Shias believe that the primordial light of the prophethood has continued to shine through the ages in the character of the Imams, be they hidden or apparent, no idea ever rose regarding the inaccessibility of the Hidden Imam in the state of occultation. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_45

According to Baha'i scholar Moojan Momen, numerous stories exist of the Hidden Imam "manifesting himself to prominent members of the ulama (Muslim religious scholars)." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_46

Publishers close to the Lebanese Shia militant organization, Hezbollah, have published accounts by Hezbollah fighters on how Mahdi intervened personally on the battlefields in critical moments during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict to help them fight against the Israeli army. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_47

Minor Occultation Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_3

Main articles: Minor Occultation, The Four Deputies, and The signed letter of Hujjat-Allah al-Mahdi Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_48

Ghaybat al-Sughra or Minor Occultation (874–941), consists of the first few decades of the Imam's disappearance when communication with him was maintained through his deputies. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_49

Tusi and al-Mofid state that the Occultation resumed on the third or seventh day of his birth. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_50

Major Occultation Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_4

Main article: Major Occultation Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_51

Ghaybat al-Kubra or Major Occultation began 941 CE and is believed to continue until a time decided by Allah, when the Mahdi will reappear to bring absolute justice to the world. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_52

According to the last letter of al-Mahdi to Ali ibn Muhammad al-Samarri "from the day of your death [the last deputy] the period of my major occultation (al ghaybatul kubra) will begin. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_53

Henceforth, no one will see me, unless and until Allah makes me appear." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_54

Another view is that the Hidden Imam is on earth "among the body of the Shia" but "incognito". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_55

Consequences Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_5

The occultation of 12th Imam left a considerable gap in leadership of Shias. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_56

According to Shia beliefs the Imam was both the spiritual and political head of the community. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_57

Although during the lesser occultation the network of Imam deputies (wikala) claimed to have the right to handle Shia communities' issues, this system was not continued during the Greater Occultation. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_58

After the greater occultation, the role of Imam as the head of community was left vacant, which did not theoretically matter at the beginning of Occultation because Shias had no political power at that time. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_59

However, when Shia states arose in later centuries, since the hidden Imam was alive and was the leader of Muslims, the role of the Shia states among Shia communities was in question. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_60

This problem has caused continuing tension between government and religion throughout Shia history. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_61

The occultation has resulted in many people claiming to be the returned Mahdi. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_62

According to seminary expert, Mehdi Ghafari, more than 3,000 fake Mahdis were in prison in Iran in 2012. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_63

In the last letter Muhammad al-Mahdi wrote to Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Samari, the last deputy: "whoever claims seeing me before the rise of Sufya-ni and the call, he is a liar and a slanderer". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_64

Reappearance Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_6

Main articles: Reappearance of Muhammad al-Mahdi and Signs of the reappearance of Muhammad al-Mahdi Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_65

Twelver Shi'as cite various references from the Qur'an and reports, or Hadith, from Imam Mahdi and the Twelve Imams with regard to the reappearance of al-Mahdi who would, in accordance with Allah's command, bring justice and peace to the world by establishing Islam throughout the world. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_66

Shi'as believe that `Îsâ (Jesus) will also come (after Imam Mahdi's re-appearance) and follow the Imam to destroy tyranny and falsehood and to bring justice and peace to the world. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_67

This will also be accompanied by the raj'a (return) of several other personalities for retribution of the previously oppressed against the oppressor. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_68

Shi'as also believe that Imam Mahdi will reappear on a Friday, and that he will come forth speaking Arabic (probably all languages as he has Allah as translator). Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_69

Visitations Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_7

Shia works on the twelfth Imam have usually included a chapter or two on "those who have seen or met with the Sahib az-Zaman (Master of the Age)." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_70

Condition after Al-Askari's death Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_8

As Al-Askari died in AH 260 (874 CE) in Samarra, he did not leave any apparent son, because the situation was difficult and Mu'tamid was searching for the successor of the Imam; the Imam did not reveal his son and Shias were confused about the successor of the Imam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_71

The troubled situation of the Abbasid khalifas made people think that a descendant of Muhammad would rise with a sword (Qa'im bi'lsayf) and wipe out injustice on earth which acted as a consolation for the oppressed people who were waiting for the establishment of God's will on earth. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_72

Historicity Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_9

The historical existence of the twelfth imam has been long debated since the death of the eleventh Imam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_73

Even though Shi'ite Scholars believe that the Twelfth Imam is an actual person, the Eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari, was kept more or less a prisoner by the Abbasids in the camp at Samarra, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Baghdad, and died there in 874 CE at the age of twenty-eight. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_74

It appears that none of the Shi'i notables knew of the existence of the son of the eleventh Imam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_75

The only possible occasion the son of the eleventh Imam is said to have made a public appearance was as a child at the time of the eleventh Imam's death, thereafter the boy was seen no more. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_76

It was believed that the twelfth Imam was connected to his community through four agents, giving his commands via letter; Moojan Momen, a much-published Baha'i historian, doubts the historical accuracy of these accounts, mentioning that there is no indication that the number of agents was limited to four and several others are mentioned. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_77

It seems likely that after the death of the eleventh Imam, for the duration of a natural lifespan (i.e. seventy years) this system had continued to operate. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_78

The brother of the eleventh Imam, Jafar ibn Ali, remained firm in his assertion that his brother had no progeny and there were legal disputes over the ownership of his brother's estate with the supposed agents. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_79

Twelvers believe that Jafar ibn Ali was immoral, while the Baháʼís believe that he was a truthful person. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_80

Henry Corbin in contrast believed that the question of historicity is irrelevant admitting that the idea of the hidden Imam was shaped by the person of twelfth and considering the extensive body of literature about him, saw the birth and his occultation as archetypal and symbolic, describing it as "sacred history". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_81

In his History of Islamic Philosophy he writes: "The simultaneity of these (birth and occultation) is rich in meanings from the mystical point of view… here above all, our approach should be that of the phenomenological: we must discover the aims of Shi’ite awareness...". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_82

There was a hadith that was already present in orthodox Sunni collections wherein Muhammad declares that he will be followed by twelve caliphs (alternative versions have qayyims) from his descendants all from his tribe, the Quraysh. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_83

The hadith appears in both Bukhari (as amirs Bab al-istakhlaf, 7062) and Muslim (as "caliphs", Bab al-nas taba l-Quraysh, 4667). Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_84

The statement had been in circulation long before 874 CE. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_85

Scholarly observations Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_10

Some scholars, including Bernard Lewis also point out, that the idea of an Imam in occultation was not new in 873 CE but that it was a recurring factor in Shia history. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_86

Examples of this include the cases of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (according to the Kaysanites Shia), Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, Musa al-Kadhim (according to the Waqifite Shia), Muhammad ibn Qasim (al-Alawi), Yahya ibn Umar and Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hadi (according to the Muhammadite Shia). Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_87

According to Jassem Hossein, traditions regarding occultation of Mahdi had been collected by many different shia sects. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_88

Before 874, the traditions existed in Waqifi, Zaydi, Jarudi and Imamite books. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_89

In Waqifis, Anmati Ibrahim ibn Salih Koufi, a disciple of the fifth Imam, wrote a book titled "Occultation". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_90

Ali ibn Hossayn Taee Tatari and Hassan ibn Mohammad ibn Sama'ah each wrote a book titled "Book of Occultation" and introduced the seventh Imam as the Imam who will go into Occultation. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_91

Among Zaydis AbousSaeed Ibad ibn Yaqub Ravajini Asfari in a book titled Aboosaeed Asfari collects traditions on occultation and the twelve Imams and the end of Imams in twelve without naming them all. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_92

From the Twelvers, Ali ibn Mahziar Ahwazi who died on or before 874 CE wrote two books titled, Kitab Al-Malahem and Kitab Alqaem both on occultation and the rise of Imam with sword. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_93

Hossein ibn Mahboob Sarad wrote the book titled Al-mashikhah on occultation. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_94

Fazl ibn Shazan Nisabouri wrote Al-Qaybah which is narrated from Al-Mashikhah. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_95

He died two months before the 11th Imam and declared the twelfth Imam as the Qaem. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_96

Yaan Richard suggests occultation was a "convenient solution" for the last Imams' justification of their quietism. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_97

According to Sachedina, however, the idea of the eschatological Qa'im who would rise after going to occultation was mentioned by the fifth and sixth Imam, i.e. Muhammad al-Baqir and Ja'far al-Sadiq at various times when the two were approached by their followers and assured of their support if they wanted to rise against the existing regime. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_98

Hasan al-Askari's estate was divided between his brother Jafar and his mother. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_99

Moojan Momen writes: Jafar remained unshakeable in his assertion that his brother (Hasan al-Askari) had no progeny." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_100

According to Sachadina, "sources describe Ja'far as a worldly and pleasure-loving man who in order to become the Imam had used various repressive means in the presence of al-Mu'tamid and more than once has tried to slander those who upheld the Imamate of the infant son of al-Askari in concealment." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_101

During the caliphate of al-Mu'tamid to that of al-Muqtadir, the agents of the dead Imam believed that Hasan al-Askari had left a son who will appear at Allah's will. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_102

This group of people were under attack and opposed by others. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_103

Al-Mutamid, the Abbasid caliph, ordered to investigate the house of Imam and also to inspect if Imam's wives were pregnant. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_104

During these investigations, Narjis was imprisoned for not revealing the place of her baby. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_105

In order to promote a dispute within Imam's family, they "supported Ja'far a brother of al-Askari and claimant to the office of the Imamat". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_106

The situation changed when "political disturbances caused by the Zanj and provincial leaders in Iran, Egypt and Syria." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_107

led to the capture of the caliph. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_108

According to Jassim M. Hussain, the majority of the Imamites denied his birth or even his existence, and abandoned their belief in the hidden Imam except for a small minority belonging to the circles of narrators, like Ibn Qubba and al-Nu'mani who based their belief on the traditions of the Imams (i.e. Hadith about twelve Imams). Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_109

Jassim Hussain indicates, several books were written before the minor Occultation predicting the event of the twelfth Imam being the Mahdi and his going to occultation. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_110

By the third and fourth decades of the 10th century (i.e. the closing years of the Lesser Occultation), the majority of the Shias were agreed on the line of the Twelve Imams. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_111

Non-Twelver views Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_11

Sunni and Sufi Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_12

Historically, "the Sunnites often applied it [Mahdi] to the four caliphs after the Prophet, who were called al-Khulafa' al-Rashidun al-Mahdiyyun, the rightly guided caliphs.' Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_112

Sulayman b. Surd called al-Husayn, after his martyrdom, Mahdi b. al-Mahdi". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_113

The majority of Sunni Muslims do not consider the son of Hasan al-Askari to be the Mahdi nor to be in occultation. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_114

However, they do believe that the Mahdi will come from Muhammad's family. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_115

Sunnis believe that the Mahdi has not yet been born, and therefore his true identity is known only to Allah. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_116

Aside from the Mahdi's precise genealogy, Sunnis accept many of the same hadiths Shias accept about the predictions regarding the Mahdi's emergence, his acts, and his universal Khilafat. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_117

Sunnis also have a few more Mahdi hadiths which are not present in Shia collections. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_118

Sunnis also believe that Jesus will return alongside the Mahdi, with the only difference being that they disagree with the Shia regarding exactly who the Mahdi is. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_119

Many other Sunnis, Ismaili and Zaidiyyah argue that Al-Askari did not have a son. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_120

Twelver Shias say his birth was concealed. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_121

Others argue that even if he had a son, Muhammad ibn al-Hassan could not live for over a thousand years. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_122

The existence of any descendant of Al-Askari is disputed by many people. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_123

However it is believed by Twelver Shi'ites and some Sunnis that Al-Askari had a son who would be the redeemer of Islam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_124

Genealogy trees of Middle Eastern and Central Asian families, mostly from Persia, Khorasan, Samarqand and Bukhara show that Imam Hasan al-Askari had also a second son called Sayyid Ali Akbar, however, his existence is rejected by Shiite historians. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_125

Sayyid 'Ali is Sultan Saadat (Sodot) who died in Termez. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_126

His burial place is located in the main mausoleum Sultan Saodat memorial complex in Termez It definitely indicates that Imam al-Askari had children and it also substantiates the existence of the Imam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_127

Aside from the presence of other Shi'ites, the reason why whether or Imam Al-Askari had children is disputed may be due to the political conflicts between the followers of the Twelver Imamah, and the leadership of the Abbasids and Ghulat Shiites who had not believe Hasan's Imamah. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_128

Notable descendants of Sayyid Ali Akbar are Sufi Saints like Bahauddin Naqshband, descendant after 11 generations, Khwaja Khawand Mahmud known as Hazrat Ishaan, descendant after 18 generations and Sayyid ul Sadaat Sayyid Mir Jan, maternal descendant of Imam Hasan al Askari and Hazrat Ishaan. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_129

In her book "Pain and Grace: A Study of Two Mystical Writers of Eighteenth-Century Muslim India" p. 32, Dr.Annemarie Schimmel writes:"Khwaja Mir Dard`s family, like many nobles, from Bukhara; led their pedigree back to Baha'uddin Naqshband, after whom the Naqshbandi order is named, and who was a descendant, in the 11th generation of the 11th Shia imam al-Hasan al-Askari." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_130

Although Shiite historians generally reject the claim Hasan al-Askari fathered children other than Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Shiite hadith book Usul al-Kafi, in Bab Mawlid Abi Muhammad al-Hasan b. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_131

'Ali confirms the Sufi claim that Hasan al-Askari had more than one wife, in addition to slave girls, with whom he had relations. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_132

In his Usul, al-Kafi writes, "When the caliph got news of Imam Hasan 'Askari's illness, he instructed his agents to keep a constant watch over the house of the Imam...he sent some of these midwives to examine the slave girls of the Imam to determine if they were pregnant. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_133

If a woman was found pregnant she was detained and imprisoned...". Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_134

In 648 AH / 1250-1 CE, the Syrian Shafi'i author Muḥammad b. Yusuf al-Gandji al-Kurashi wrote K. al-Bayan fi akhbar sahib al-zaman in proving the Mahdiship of the Twelfth Imam using Sunni traditions. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_135

In 650/1252 Kamalal-Din Muḥammad b. Talha al-ʿAdawi al-Nisibini, a Shafi'i scholar, composed his Maṭalib al-suʾul fi manaḳib al al-rasul answering Sunni objections to the belief that the Twelfth Imām was the Mahdi. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_136

The Sibt ibn al-Jawzi wrote Tadhkirat khawass al-umma bi-dhikr khasaʾis al-aʾimma, collecting hadiths from Sunni sources about the virtues of ʿAli and his descendants, and at the end affirmed that the Twelfth Imam was the Expected Qaʾim Al Mahdi. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_137

Among Sufi circles, Abu Bakr al-Bayhaḳī (d. 458/1066) had noted that some Sufi gnostics (djamaʿa min ahl al-kashf) agreed with the Twelver doctrine about the identity of the Mahdi and his ghaybah (occultation). Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_138

The Persian Sufi Sadr al-Din Ibrahim al-Hammuyi (late 7th/13th century) supported Twelver doctrine on the Mahdi in his Faraʾid al-simtayn. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_139

The Egyptian Sufi al-Shaʿrani, while generally showing no sympathy for Shiʿism, affirmed in his al-Yawaḳit wa ʾl-dj̲awahir (written in 958/1551) that the Mahdi was a son of Imam al-Hasan al-ʿAskari, born in the year 255/869, and would remain alive until his meeting with Jesus. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_140

Bahá'í Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_13

`Abdu'l-Bahá has interpreted the Book of Revelation 11:3 "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_141

The two witnesses are Muhammad and Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_142

The 1,260 years are lunar years which refer to AH 1260 when Sayyed ʿAli Muhammad Shirāzi revealed himself to be the 'spiritual return' of Muhammad al-Mahdi on 23 May 1844. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_143

Historical social impact Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_14

The messianic belief in Mahdi helped Shias to tolerate unbearable situations to the level that without it the Shia religion might not have been able to survive persecutions in the course of history. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_144

It also acted as a moderating force among them by postponing political activities until the future coming of the Awaited Mahdi. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_145

The belief has also acted as an inspiration for social movements against political repression. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_146

The sense of responsibility for paving the way for the reappearance of Mahdi has also led Shi'as to re-evaluate their social circumstances and the shortcomings of their lives and strive to build their own provisional Islamic government in anticipation of Mahdi's promised rule. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_147

Contemporary influence Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_15

The Shia millennial vision of history continues to be expressed, even today, through radical social protest against political oppression. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_148

Abdulaziz Sachedina writes: "Without the deep sense of paving the way for the reappearance of the Imam, the Shi'as would not have felt the need to re-evaluate their social circumstances and the shortcomings of their present lives. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_149

Thus, the ghayba (occultation) of the Mahdi has acted as a creative force in their lives that has not only helped them bear with patience the difficult times but also has also prepared them to fulfill their historical responsibility of establishing a true Islamic rule, even before the Imam assumes the leadership of the Shia after his final reappearance." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_150

The Shia Mahdi doctrine was a key element in inspiring the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who argued as part of his theory of the Rule of the Jurist that the highest and most learned Muslim Jurist could legitimately administer the government on a God-given mandate to prepare the world for the return of the Hidden Imam. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_151

Khomeini succeeded in using the potent concepts of Shia eschatology and theodicy—such as the Shia notions of struggle against injustice and worldly oppression—to mobilize the masses towards revolutionary goals. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_152

Islamic traditions hold that before the ultimate return of the Muslim messiah, his influence manifests itself in the world in different ways. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_153

Throughout history, "a vast and deeply personal literature" has emerged in the Shia world that apparently exemplifies this influence in form of "revelations, dreams, healings, visions, and other occurrences all attributed to the Mahdi's personal intervention." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_154

Over the recent years in particular, a growing anticipation of Mahdi's imminent return among the wider public has been identified, leading to spread of widely-available literature about predictions and prophecies concerning Mahdi and his imminent appearance that include great detail on where, when and how Mahdi will appear, overturn the modern order and establish the just state. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_155

For example, under the influence of the Lebanese resistant organization Hezbollah, literature containing classical traditions as well as interpretations of contemporary events in the light of Mahdi's return have sprang from the Lebanese press. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_156

A book including "miraculous occurrences" has been published including accounts by Hezbollah fighters on how Mahdi intervened on the battlefields during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict to help them fight against the Israeli army. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_157

Another instance of contemporary Shia messianic tendency manifested itself in the discourse and policies of the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who thought that Mahdi's return was imminent. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_158

He "merged messianic rhetoric with populist nationalism" at home and in his UN speeches he "combined references to the Mahdi with a blistering Third-Worldist ideological attack on "Western Imperialism" and "Zionism" intended to appeal to some Middle East audiences." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_159

He and his supporters also sought to depict Iran as "a chosen nation and a superpower uniquely blessed by the special favors of the Lord of Age" [Hidden Imam] to lead a global mission against injustice." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_160

In Iraq where many hold deep suspicions of the U.S., there are frequent assertions in the apocalyptic literature claiming that the U.S.-led invasion was aimed at finding and killing the Mahdi as part of an apocalyptic war against the Shia world. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_161

Political controversies Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_16

On 3 May 2017, the then-Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, in an interview with MBC, made repeated references to the Shi'ite ideology of the Iranian state to reject the possibility of dialogue with Iran for settling the regional rivalry between the two countries. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_162

He argued that it was impossible to have dialogue with an entity with an "extremist ideology" that believes its policies are divinely-guided to prepare conditions for the return of the Imam Mahdi, fearing a spread of Twelver Shi'ite or Iranian influence to the land of Islam's holiest shrine. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_163

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah Secretary General of the Iran-backed Lebanese resistance organization Hezbollah responded to bin Salman's remarks by accusing him of wanting to turn a political struggle in the region into a religious one. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_164

He added that the Mahdi doctrine is not specific to Shias and that, apart from the question of his actual birth, there's a consensus among all Muslims that Imam Mahdi is from the progeny of Prophet Muhammad and that he will rise from Mecca and that when he rises he will get rid of all corrupt rulers and fill the Earth with justice. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_165

Addressing bin Salman directly, Nasrallah remarked: "Neither you nor your children nor grandchildren can change this Divine destiny." Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_166

Birthday celebration Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_17

The birthday of Muhammad al-Mahdi is celebrated annually in Iran. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_167

Every year on the evening of the birthday, millions of people in the country celebrate the occasion by handing out food, often tossing juice containers and candy into passing cars. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_168

Also, people picnic and enjoy fireworks displays. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_169

The city of Qom is decorated by bright lights and flags. Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_170

The date of the celebration is based on the Islamic calendar and changes from year to year: Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_sentence_171

Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_table_general_1

Islamic yearHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_1_0_0 IranHujjat Allah al-Mahdi_header_cell_1_0_1
1440Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_1_0 21 April 2019Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_1_1
1441Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_2_0 9 April 2020Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_2_1
1442Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_3_0 29 March 2021Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_3_1
1443Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_4_0 19 March 2022Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_4_1
1444Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_5_0 8 March 2023Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_5_1
1445Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_6_0 25 February 2024Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_6_1
1446Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_7_0 14 February 2025Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_cell_1_7_1

See also Hujjat Allah al-Mahdi_section_18

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Allah al-Mahdi.