A group of scholars, amongst them being the learned and mystic traditionist Muhammad Khawja . Bukhari in his book 'Fasl-ul-Khetab' (as per what has been written on page 387 of 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda') have narrated that Hadimah, the daughter of Hazrat Imam Muhammad Jawad (A.S.) and aunt of Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari (A.S.) used to always pray and lament and ask Allah to make her succeed in meeting Hazrat's son. Thus it was about the midnight of 15th Shaban, 205 when she visited Hazrat Hassan and the latter asked her to stay with them because of the event which lay ahead. So she stayed behind in the very place. It was the time of dawn when Nargis (mother of Hazrat Mahdi) felt uneasy. Then Hakimah hastened towards her and a few moments later Nargis delivered a blessed child while circumcised. When Hakimah's looks fell on the child she took him in her arms and went towards Hazrat Hassan (A.S.). Hazrat embraced him and rubbed his blessed hands over his back and eyes and then placed his mouth over his mouth. Thereafter he recited 'Azan' (call to prayer) in his right ear and 'Eqamah' (establishment of prayers) in his left ear and then said: 'O aunt, take him to his mother.' Hakimah obeyed and took the child back to his mother. Hakimah says: "Once again, I visited Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari's house. All of a sudden, I saw Hazrat carrying a child who was wearing a yellow dress and the baby's face was beaming with light." Then, his love superseded my heart and I said: 'O my Master, what have you to say about this blessed child? He replied: 'O aunt, he is the same Expected one about whom we were given glad-tidings.' Then, I threw myself on the ground and prostrated as an expression of thanksgiving.(83)
Author says: 'What we have narrated before and what we shall narrate later on, necessarily proves his birth because those tradition comprises several parts. One of the parts indicates that he is the twelfth successor while another shows that he is the twelfth legatee. Still another portion indicates that he is the twelfth Imam and leader and another indicates that he is the ninth from the progeny of Hussein (A.S.). Others reveal that he is the fourth from the offspring of Ridha (A.S.) and yet others reveal that he is the son of Hazrat Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari. Another part indicates his occultation and the fact that he is concealed from the public-view and cannot be recognized.
These 'Mustafiza' and rather 'Mustawatir' traditions clearly stipulate and or necessarily indicate that Mahdi, the Expected one is the immediate son of Imam Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari. Moreover this indication is so manifest and evident that no one has any doubt in it and none disputes.
Now we say: Based on this, we are bound to accept one of t he following:
Firstly that, we reject the afore-said traditions from the view-point of chain of transmission and weakness in indication and as a result deny the afore-mentioned claims.
Reply: Anyone who has reviewed the traditions and gone through the books of 'Rijal' (distinguished scholars) can never ever imagine such an affair because a number of partisans of traditions have confessed the authenticity of some of them and have given evidence of their credibility and acceptability. Rather, Hakem who is the leader of this art has himself recorded some of them and as per the views of Bukhari and Muslim, has reckoned them to be correct.
Thus man's conscience itself bears testimony to this objection.
Secondly, renouncing and abandoning those traditions and not acting upon them.
Reply. This obligation is an independent reasoning against the correct and explicit texts. Rather, just as you were told before, most of the scholars of
Ahl-e-Sunnat have clearly stipulated the successive transmission of these traditions and compendiously rekoned their issuance to be decisive. Thus, resorting to this obligation will amount to refutation of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) and rejection of what has come from him through successive transmission notwithstanding that which Allah says: ---
(Nor does he speak out of desire.
It is naught but revelation that is revealed)
Thirdly, being bound over the matter of non-existence of Mahdi and the continuation of the life of Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari until the end of time when Allah has foretold the birth of Mahdi.
Reply: Here too, we cannot consider this saying to be correct because Shias and Sunnis are unanimous over this fact that Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari has already passed away in the year 260 A.H.
Taken for granted that Imam Hassan Askari has lived till now and is still alive, why can't we assume the same for Mahdi and compel ourselves in believing him to be still alive and living. This is because if a decree on such a matter is permissible then there exists no difference between these two cases so that we may say that it is possible in the case of Hassan Askari but not so for Mahdi.
Fourthly, as per the consensus of Shias and Sunnis, Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari has passe d away. However, Allah (All Glory be to Him) with the Power that He possesses, shall make him alive in the near future primarily for the birth of Mahdi.
Reply: There is no proof which gives evidence to the truthfulness of this saying. Although Allah is having Power over all things and His Might cannot be denied yet, the reason for the rejection of continuation of Mahdi's life is because it is considered to be an improbable affair and contrary to the custom (as is in vogue amongst us) notwithstanding the fact that the chances of making someone alive after death and restoring him back to life after non-existence appears to be more remote and unusual than continuation of life. In addition, the restoration of Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari's life after his demise may be in reference to 'Reja't' (return to life), the same which we Shias believe.
Fifthly, being bound over believing that Abul-Qasim Muhammad Mahdi (A.S.) has been born and is still living. Moreover, he is being given sustenance and just like other people who seek means of livelihood he too seeks means of livelihood until the time when Allah wishes him to fill the earth with equity and Justice just as it had been filled with cruelty and oppression. Thus, He shall command him to emerge and inspire him to bring about a complete reform. This is exactly what we group of Imamiah believe and the proof of Hazrat being alive will be brought at the end of this book.
Besides, those things which necessarily and explicitly prove the birth of Hazrat are the sayings of a number of Sunni scholars, traditionists and historians in this regard. We may mention the names of some of them:
(1) Shaikh Mohyiddin Arabi in the book of 'Fotouhat' as per what has come in 'Es'aaf-ur-Rhagebeen'.
(2) Shaikh Abdul-Wahab Sharani in the book 'Al-Yawakit-wal-Jawaher'.
(3) Ibn-Wardi, a historian in his 'Tarikh' as per what has come in Nur-ul-Absar.
(4) Shaikh Muhammad-ibn-Yusuf Ganji in his book 'Al-Bayan-Fi-Akhbar Saheb-uz-Zaman'.
(5) Ibn-Hajar Haithami in the book 'Sawa'eq-ul-Muhareqa'.
(6) Sebt-ibn-Jauzi in the book 'Tazkerat-ul- Aimma'.
(7) Shaikh Muhammad-ibn-Thalha in 'Matalib - us -Su'ool'.
(8) Shaikh Nuruddin Ali in 'Fusul-ul-Muhimma'.
(9) The noble Sayed Abu Abdullah Muhammad Sirajuddin in the book 'Sihah-ul-Akhbar'.
(10) The famous historian Ibne-Khallakan in 'Wafayat- ul - A'yan'.
(11) Ibn Azraq a historian in his 'Tarikh' as per what has been narrated by Ibne-Khallakan.
(12) The mystic Shaikh, Sayed Hassan Araqi as per what has come in 'Al-Yawaqit wal-Jawaher'.
(13) Shaikh Ali Khawas as per what has come in the afore-mentioned book.
(14) The mystic scholar, Shaikh Muhammad Khawaja in 'Fasl-ul-Khetab' as per what has been narrated in 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda'.
(15) Sayed Mumin Shablanji in 'Nur-ul-Absar'.
(16) The mystic scholar, Shaikh Qunduzi in 'Yanabi - ul-Muwadda'.
(17) The learned geneologist Abul-Fauz Muhammad Amin Baghdadi Suyedi in 'Saba' ek-uz-Zahab'.
(18) The learned geneologist of recent times Sayed Hussein Rafa'ee contemporary to one of the Universal Professors of Azhar in his book 'Nur-ul-Anwaresh'.
(19) Shaikh Ahmad Jaami - on the basis of his poems and as per what has come in 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda'.
(20) Shaikh Athar Naishabouri - on the basis of his poems.
(21) Shaikh Jalaluddin Rumi - on the basis of his poems. Besides them, many others too have confirmed this matter.(84)
Verily, Mahdi's birth is unanimously agreed upon by both Shias and Sunnis and they are in accord with each other on this matter.
Thus, there exists no difference between the two groups. Rather its firmness is as clear as a fire kindled over the tip of a flag or as bright as a sun present during the day. Those who refer to their books and writings (Sunni references) will realize that they are all unanimous over this matter that Abu Muhammad Hassan Askari has had a son by the name of Muhammad whose title is Mahdi and agnomen is Abul-Qasim and the fact that he has been the only son of his father. This is notwithstanding the fact that they have had minor differences amongst themselves about Mahdi just as the same can be seen from the sayings of Ibn-Khallakan and some other Sunni scholars. Ibn Khallakan says: 'Shias think that Mahdi is the son of Imam Hassan Askari'.
After this, he said: Continuation of Mahdi's life till now is something unusual and improbable.
When the birth of Abul-Qasim Muhammad Mahdi, son of Hassan Askari is proved (which was done so from the Prophetic traditions which are 'Mutawatir' and the sayings of the Infallible household members who are more knowledgeable than others and the excessive stipulations of mystics and scholars who have reckoned the Awaited Mahdi to be the very child which we have mentioned) it will automatically be verified that Mahdi (A.S.) has already been born and not that he will be born in the future.
Moreover, with regard to his birth, what appears to be more correct is that he was born at dawn, on 15th Shaban 256 A.H. Thus, at the time of his father's demise he had passed five years of his age.