In the first Chapter of this book, while mentioning the expressions of scholars (regarding Mahdi) we had produced the following statement of Ibn-Hajar from his book «Al-Qual-ul-Mukhtasar-fi-Alamat Mahdi al-Muntazar». 'The expected Mahdi is one and not several'. The words of Ibn-Hajar is a valuable discourse. Indeed it has achieved the purpose and enformed to the realities.
Verily, the awaited Mahdi and the 'Qaem' from the progeny of Muhammad (S.A.W.A.) is the very same person which Allah has mentioned in His Glorious Book. His honourable Prophet has given glad-tidings of his coming and the Prophet's 'Ahl-ul-Bait', companions and followers and scholars have informed that he (i.e. Mahdi) is a single and a unique person. He is not several although his name and title are many.
The traditions which we had mentioned before and those which we shall mention in the coming chapters are, by the simplest indication the proof to this matter. Indeed, these traditions will obviate every kind of misgivings such that there shall remain no doubt in the mind of any skeptic that Mahdi, the Expected one is one.
The traditions which we have written and the traditions which we shall mention gives indication to the characteristics and those things which introduce, verify and distinguishes Mahdi, the Expected one. As such, it is not rational to consider multiplicity and number for him. Now, we may mention those characteristics and distinguishing features as follows:-
First, the specification of his house and family.
Second, the specification of his fathers and fore-fathers.
Third, the identification of his father and mother by name.
Fourth, the specification of his name, agnomen and title.
Fifth, the specification of his qualities and signs.
Sixth, the specification of his morals and behaviours.
Seventh, his occultation and its lengthy period.
Eighth, his emergence at the end of time.
Ninth, the things that will occur at the time of his reappearance.
Tenth, the coming of Dajjal and Sufyani at the time of his reappearance.
Eleventh, Allegiance to him between 'Rukn' and 'Maqam'.
Twelfth, the coming down of Isa (Jesus) and his prayers behind him.
Thirteenth, his reform programs.
Fourteenth, the blessings of his emergence. Fifteenth, the things which he shall command amongst the people.
Sixteenth, his battles and victories.
Seventeenth, the expansion of his Government and rule.
Eighteenth, the period of his Caliphate and leadership.
Nineteenth, the circumstances of his demise or assassination.
Twentieth, the return to life of some of the dead after his emergence.
The position of lineage and familial dignity, truthfulness and rectitudes, the demeanours and signs, the favours and munificences, the occurances and unpleasantnesses, the hardships and harsh reminiscences and the finally such affairs are not, as per exigencies rational enough to levy for even two people let alone more. Maybe it is applicable after the end of this world and its lapse and then its coming into existence from the beginning. However, even though this interpretation is acceptable from the view-point of Power of Allah, yet the traditions are apparently inconsistent with the occurance of such an affair because what they evidently reveal is that after the time of Mahdi the Day of Judgement shall commence.
Verily, saying that Mahdaviyat is an affair pertaining to the kind and it is possible to have multiple Mahdis with all the afore-said characteristics where each one will be possessesing one of those characteristics will be a claim contrary to the common sense.
In the two testaments (old and new) of Torah and Bible (Ingeel), some of the characteristics of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) have been stated. Amongst the characteristics mentioned are his ways, behaviour, insight, lineage and family and none from the East or West have reckoned these insights and specifications to be referring to Muhammad of various kinds. Thus, this much difference exists between these insights and the insights of Mahdi so that the possibility of kinds and numbers may be correct for Mahdi but not so for the Holy Prophet!
The author says: «My imagination (although imagination does not make one free from want of truth) is that the source of claiming Mahdaviyat of various kinds are one of the following three:-
Firstly, it may be instigated from the part of those fascinated by rule and Government and those desirous of kingdom and Caliphate.
Secondly, it may have appeared in some of Sufi sect because when they became helpless in claiming the position of special deputyship, they resorted to devising Mahdaviyat of various kinds.
Thirdly, as some of the adherents of Bani-Ummayyid came across traditions wherein the name of Mahdi was mentioned and concluded that if they were to believe in Mahdi who was a distinct person, they would be compelled to pronounce that he is from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) and offspring of Fatemah and Hussein or still the son of Hazrat Hassan Askari. This was something unpleasing for them and irreconcilable with their aims. As a result, they started believing in Mahdaviyat of various kinds.
In this regard, other sayings can be found which, from the view-point of logic are worthless such as the saying that; Mahdi is from the offspring of Abbass or from the children of Hassan Mujtaba (A.S.) or that he shall be born afterwards. The root cause of all these and such other talks about Mahdi is one of the afore-said three points.
In 'Mataleb-us-Su'ool', Muhammad-ibn-Thalha writes as such:- 'If anyone objects to these traditions of the Holy Prophet (where they are many in number and great emphasis has been laid to each one of them. Moreover there is a consensus in the correctness of its chain of transmission as well as in its narration from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) with correct and explicit proof that Mahdi is from the progeny of Fatemah and from the lineage of the Holy Prophet and his name is the same as the Prophet's name. Besides, he shall fill the earth with Justice and equity, he is from the generation of Abdul-Muttalib and amongst the leaders of Paradise and there this manner that they do not indicate this fact that the Mahdi which the Holy Prophet depicted (which we have already mentioned) regarding his signs and qualities is the same Abul-Qasim Muhammad-ibn-Hassan, the virtuous 'Hujjat (Definitive Proof)'. This is because the children of Fatemah are many and till the day of Qiyamat anyone who comes into existence from her generation will be true to him that he is from the pure progeny of Fatemah and the Holy Prophet. Therefore, with such exposition of the traditions which we have previously mentioned, we should have with us a proper proof which indicates that that Mahdi is the same Hujjat-ibn-Hassan.
We reply - The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) depicted Mahdi (A.S.) with some qualities like mentioning his name, lineage and his ancestry to Fatemah (A.S.) and Abdul-Muttalib and the fact that he possesses a sparkling forehead and protracted nose and counted many other comprehensive characteristics (which we have previously mentioned) which all of these reveal that anyone possessing those characteristics and signs will be the same person called as Mahdi and he will be having some authority upon us as per what we have previously mentioned (like the necessity of following and obeying him). We found those afore-said characteristics only in Abul-Qasim Muhammad, the virtuous successor. Thus it is essential to substantiate these decrees for Hazrat and he becomes the possessor of those characteristics. Otherwise, how is it possible that sign and reasoning exist but not their purport! If the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) introduces some thing as the sign and proof of something else but does not consider the result as the desired goal, there has occured a contradiction in his sayings (i.e. he mentions some signs for something but rejects the result which is according to his own prestipulated criterion). If someone objects and says:- 'Signs alone are not sufficient, we should ascertain the one who possesses those signs and characteristics and attribute those characteristics exclusively to him. However, until the exclusiveness and uniqueness of that person to those characteristics is not known, we cannot say that those signs are applicable to him and it is certain that right from the time of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.)until the time of the birth of the virtuous successor Hujjat Muhammad (A.S.), none (other than him) from the progeny of Fatemah has been found to be exhaustive of those characteristics. However, the time of his movement and sovereignty will be at the end of time, when Dajjal shall appear and Isa (Jesus)shall descend from the heaven. These shall occur after a lapse of a lengthy period and till then, there are new and novel times in between and in the pure generation of Fatemah many will be born, one after the other. Therefore it is possible that from now onwards, a person from the pure offspring and generation of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) shall be born who is exhaustive of these characteristics and he will be the same Mahdi whom you talk about and who is referred to in the afore-said traditions. In spite of this possibility how is it that your reasoning can be exclusively attributed to Hujjat Muhammad (A.S.)?
We reply: If you acknowledge that before and after birth of the virtuous successor, nobody except him has been found to possess all those characteristics and signs then this very acknowledgement will be sufficient enough to substantiate these afore-said signs and characteristics for Mahdi.
Moreover, your saying that in the future there exists the possibility of the coming someone appearing from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) who would possess the afore-said signs, does not bring any damage in the effect of reasoning, nor acts as any obstacle. This is because the existing proof is prefered (due to its manifestness) than the possibility of appearance of (another) proof which is against it. Thus it is not advisable to forsake the preferable proof for the sake of unpreferable proof. Otherwise it will not be possible to act upon the existing and firm proof because there exists no reason but the possibility of an opposite proof being found against it in the future. However, as per the consensus of the 'Ulemas' (scholars) the appearance of an opposite proof cannot serve as an obstacle to the existing proof (from being put into practice).
An example which can perfectly clarify and accentuate this matter is the saying of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) to Omar-ibn-Khattab (just as Imam Muslim-ibn-Hajjaj has narrated the same in his 'Sahih'). It goes as follows:
Owais-ibn-Aamer who belongs to the tribe of 'Murad' shall come to you with the people of Yemen in the future. Moreover, a person from 'Qarran', having been cured from his leprosy (except for one spot) will approach you. Owais is indeed a good man living with his mother. If Owais vows to Allah then that person will be fully cured from his leprosy. If possible, ask him to seek forgiveness on your behalf.
Here, the Prophet (S.A.W.A.) has mentioned Owais-ibn-Aamer's name, lineage and qualities and set them as the sign and proof such that if anyone is found possessing this name and quality and if he swears by Allah, then that person will be cured. Moreover, he would be competent enough to seek forgiveness and this is a very great position and status before Allah.
After the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) and Abu Bakr 'passed away, Omar-ibn-Khattab used to inquire from someone amongst the people of Y emen about the person who was endowed with those characteristics. This continued until harbingers came from Yemen and Omar-ibn-Khattab asked them about that person. Omar was informed about his coming and did not stop from acting upon those signs and guide-lines which the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) had set forth. Rather, he took action and contacted that person. He asked him to seek forgiveness. He believed that he was the same person who had been pointed out by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.). In spite of this possibility that perhaps in the near future, another person could appear with those characteristics which the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) had referred to, (not withstanding that the tribe of 'Murad' were many in number and their offsprings rapidly multiplying). Omar did not stop. The same possibility which you give for Mahdi, can be given here too.
The incident of Khawarij too is the same since the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) had introduced their attributes and characteristics and issued judgement about them. Thus, in the incident of Ha and Nahrwan, when Ali-ibn-Abi Talib (A.S-) became sure that they are those same ones which the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) had described he fought and killed them. Therefore, Ali-ibn-Abi Talib acted upon those reasonings and qualities which the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) had some other group in mind. Examples of such kind of reasonings and the necessity of acting upon them (in spite of the possibility of opposite reasoning) are many. Thus, it became obvious that one cannot forsake a superior reasoning for the sake of an inferior one.
We further say: The necessity of affirmation of a decree, (with the existence of signs and reasonings which are found in someone) is an affair which is essential to be acted upon. The one who forsakes it and says: ((Perhaps the one who is endowed with these characteristics and is worthy of this decree be not that intended person. And on the contrary, it is some other person who will come in the future) has indeed deviated from the truth and made himself worthy of rebuke.
The incident mentioned in Torah too denotes this matter on the occasion when Allah revealed (a sign) upon Musa and said: An Arab Prophet who will be the Last of the Prophets, shall be appointed at the end of time. He described Hazrat by some qualities and made those signs as the sign and indicator of his Messengership and Prophethood. As such, the 'Ummah' (nation) of Musa remembered the Prophet of Islam by those qualities and knew that he would be appointed in the future. When the time of his emergence and appointment drew near, Musa's nation threatened the polytheists and said: 'A Prophet with such and such signs and qualities shall soon come. We shall join him and seek his help in fighting and campaigning against you.
However, when the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) got appointed and they discovered in him, all those signs and qualities which were the proof of his Messengership and Prophethood, they denied him and said: 'This is not the same Prophet which we often talk of. Rather, he is someone who shall come afterwards'. When they acted upon something which was probable and left the existing proofs, God too turned away from them (for forsaking the afore-said signs and reasoning of Torah and acting upon the probable).
This account of Torah is the greatest and strongest proof for acting upon the existing proofs and substantiating the decree for the one who is endowed with these qualities. Thus, when these qualities which are the proof of substantiation of the afore-said decree, are present in Hujjat and Khalaf-e-Saleh i.e. Muhammad, then that Mahdi, whom we spoke about will be verified without paying any regard to the possibility of a new Mahdi coming in the future.