The affairs regarding the end of time which have been mentioned in traditions are of two kinds: One kind of affairs are those which are preliminary steps and signs of 'Qiyamat' and another kind are those affairs which shall occur just before Mahdi's emergence. However, majority of the Shias and Sunnis have combined together these two kinds in their respective literature and writings.
The second kind which shall occur before Mahdi's emergence and uprising are also of two types:
Firstly, that type which should occur before Mahdi's emergence and uprising. As such, occurrence of such affairs and non-emergence of Mahdi will not prove the incorrectness of the traditions. This is because such traditions are no proof and sign of Hazrat's emergence. Rather, the motif of mentioning such traditions is to reveal their occurrence just before Mahdi's emergence.
Secondly, those affairs which have been mentioned in traditions and which shall occur before Mahdi's emergence may be subject to 'bada' (change) which we Shias believe. As such, non-occurrence of some of these affairs will be no proof of the incorrectness of such traditions.
For both of the afore-said affairs certain proofs and evidences exist in some of the traditions. Thus, before anything else it should be first clarified whether the incident which occurs belongs to the first category or the second one. Thereafter, the state of the narrators of the second kind and the context which proves the correctness or the incorrectness of a traditions should be reviewed.
However we have restrained ourselves to 'Sahih' (correct) and authentic traditions or 'hasan' (good) traditions from the view-point of the chain of transmission. We have mentioned only those traditions which happen to be authentic and for which we could find a context. Otherwise we have restrained from mentioning them.
Similarly we have restrained ourselves to those type of traditions where credibility and conscience adjudge the possibility of their ascertainability and occurrence. Or those traditions where reason and exigency do not adjudge upon their impossibility and unattainability.
Verily, the occurrence of some of the miracles and extraordinary customs have come down in some of the traditions and if their chain of transmission happens to be correct it is not permissible for us to reject them. Those extraordinary things are affairs related to metaphysics commonly called as miracle and wonder and Allah too possesses power over all things.
'If you happen to see a fire for three or seven days from the eastern side, then God-willing you may expect the 'Faraj' (deliverence) of Aal-e-Muhammad.
Imam (A.S.) continued: Later a caller from the heavens shall call out Mahdi's name in such manner that it will be heard in the East and West. None shall be asleep but that he will wake up and none shall be sitting but that he will stand on his two feet and of awe. May Allah shower His Mercy on the one who hears and answers that call since the caller is none other than Gibra'eel.
The author of 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda' on page 414 has narrated from the book 'Durrul-Manzoom' as such: One of the evidences of Mahdi's emergence is the very caller who shall call out: 'Know that the 'Master of the Age' has emerged. After this, none shall be sleeping but that he will arise and none shall be standing but that he will sit....
In the same section and chapter of the afore-mentioned book, its author narrates from Hafiz Na'eem-ibn-Hemmad and he from Bashar-ibn Hazrami who said: 'The signs of events in the month of Ramadhan are a kind of heavenly signs and after that people shall dispute with each other. When you come across those signs, procure food for yourself as much as you can.
Again, in the same section and chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from 'Al-Fatan' of Hafiz Na'eem-ibn-Hemad and he, from Ka'ab al-Ahbar who said: 'Before Mahdi's emergence, stars shall appear from the East with constant glitterings.'
A person said: 'O son of Messenger of Allah! It is not as you say. Rather the sun Will be eclipsed at the end of the month of Ramadhan and the moon will be eclipsed during the middle of the month.
Imam Baqir (A.S.) said: The one who says these words is knowing better (than you) that right from the time of Adam's fall till today these two signs have not occurred.......
The author of Es'aaf-ul-Raghaben' too has narrated the same tradition.
'The affair for which you are awaiting i.e. the emergence of Mahdi (A.S.) shall not be fulfilled until some amongst you feel disgusted of the other, while some amongst you bear testimony against the other and until some amongst you curse the other.
Narrator says: I asked: Will there by any goodness in this matter?
Imam (A.S.) replied: Goodness will be at that time when Mahdi emerges and will destroy such cruelties and oppressions.
The author of 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda' narrates on page 491 from the book 'Arba'een' of Hafez Abu Na'eem Isfahani that Ali-ibn-Abi Talib (A.S.) said: 'I asked the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W A.) as such: 'O Messenger of Allah! Is Mahdi from our progeny or from others?
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) replied: Rather he is from us. Religion shall terminate by his hands just as it commenced from us. People shall be delivered from seditions through Mahdi just as they got delivered from polytheism through us. Through Mahdi (A.S.)Allah will create a feeling of intimacy between their hearts (after hatred and sedition) just as He created intimacy amongst them through us after hatred and polytheism....
The author of Es'aaf-ur-Raghebeen on page 151 has narrated from Ahmad and Maawardi a tradition from the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.) as follows:
'Glad-tidings be to you about Mahdi. He is from the Quraish and from my progeny who shall emerge at the time of discord and strife amongst the people....
'After me, shall come the Caliphs. After the Caliphs will come the rulers and after the rulers will come the kings. Then oppressors will follow them and after them will emerge a man from my Ahl-e-bayt who shall fill the earth with justice as it was filled with injustice....
The author of 'Es'aaf-ul-Raghebeen' has narrated (on page 148) a similar tradition from Hakim.
'At the time when the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.) was departing from this world, I went in his presence. He narrated for me a tradition where he concluded it as such: 'O Fatemah, I swear by the Lord who appointed me by the truth that Mahdi of this nation shall be from Hassan and Hussein.
Allah shall send Mahdi at the time when the world will fall into chaos. When seditions will prevail; when means will be cut-off; when some will revolt over the other; when there will remain no elder who will have mercy upon the young and when there will remain no young who will respect the elders. Mahdi shall conquer the forts of deviation and depravity and she afted hearts. Mahdi shall rise for the religion at the end of time just as I rose for it in the beginning. He shall fill the world with justice as it was filled with oppression.
'During Mahdi's time red and white death and locuts will become visible. Otherwise too red coloured locusts will be found. Red death refers to the sword and white death refers to plague.
In the same section and same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from 'Sunan' of Imam Abu Amro Uthman-ibn- Saeed Muqarri and 'Fatan' of Hafiz Abu-Abdullah Na'eem-ibn - Hemaad a tradition from Amir-ul-Mumineen Ali-ibn - Abi Talib (A.S.) as such: 'Mahdi shall not emerge until out of three persons one gets killed, the other dies and the third remains.'
Thereafter Allah will appoint a man from my Ahl-e-bayt who will fill the earth with equity and Justice just as it was previously filled with cruelty and tyranny....
The author of 'Eqdud-Durar' in Section one, chapter four has narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S.) as such: of 'Mahdi shall not emerge but after prevalence serve awe amongst the people, when people will be afflicted with earthquakes and plagues, when strife and discord will emerge amongst the people, when differences in religion will prevail amongst them, when people's condition will so change that they would wish for death, day and night.... Mahdi shall emerge at the time of hoplessness and despair. Blessed is he who perceives Mahdi and joins the rank of his helpers. Woe be to the one who opposes him and his commands.
In the same section and the same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from Abu Saeed Khudri that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: 'After me, seditions (disasters) will arise the deliverence of which would not be possible. In those seditions, wars and sporadic fightings would occur. Thereafter, more severe seditions will arise such that if seditions would calm down in one place, the same would continue in another place. Things would extend so far that there would remain no Arab house and no Muslim who would not be affected by it. It would be then that a man from my progeny will emerge. This tradition has been narrated by Hafiz Abu Muhammad Hussein in his book 'Masabeeh' and by Hafiz, Abu Abdullah Na'eem-ibn - Hemaad in his book 'Fatan'. There exists an evidence too for this tradition in the book of Sahih Bukhari.
Ibn-Hajar in 'Sawa'eq' (page 97) has narrated from 'Sahih' of Hakim Abu-Abdullah that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: 'At the end of time, severe calamity shall befall my nation - such severe calamity which was never heard of before and which people will fail to find any shelter from it. At that time Allah will appoint a man from my progeny who will fill the earth with equity and Justice just as it was filled with cruelty and tyranny.....
'A person from Bani-Abbass shall emerge from the East and whatever Allah Wishes will be established accordingly. Afterwards, men with small black flags will rise and will battle out with the offsprings of Abu Sufyan. They will prepare the ground for the obedience and submission of Mahdi.
In the same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from Na'eem-ibn-Hemaad (from his book 'Fatan') that Muhammad-ibn-Hanafiya said: 'The people of the flag will emerge from Khorasan. Afterwards people of another flag with white will rise. A man from Bani-Tamim called as Tamim-ibn-Saleh will face them.... it will be then that people would seek and desire for Mahdi.
Again, in the same chapter of the same book, its author narrates from Na'eem-ibn-Hemaad and he from Shareey-ibn-Abdullah Rashid-ibn-Sa'ad and Hamza-ibn-Habib as such:
'The people of the East will swear allegiance to a person from Bani-Hashim who shall emerge with the army of Khorasan. A man from Bani-Tamim will face them.... If mountains confront him, he will destroy them. Later he will encounter the army of Sufyani and will defeat them. Fierce battle will take place with them and he will kill them. He will expel them from one place to another until he will defeat them in Iraq. Thereafter an incident shall occur between them as a result of which Sufyani will gain victory and the Hashimi man will escape towards Mecca and Tamim-ibn-Saleh (who is one of the leaders of the army of Hashimi) will escape towards Baitul-Muqaddas. When Mahdi shall reappear, the Hashimi man too will emerge.
When Nafs-Zakkiyah will be killed a caller will call out from the heavens - 'Be aware that your ruler is so and so a person i.e. the Mahdi who shall fill the earth with truth and Justice.'
In the same section and the same chapter of the afore-said book, its author narrates from Hafiz Na'eem-ibn-Hemaad (from the book 'Fatan') who in turn narrates from ka'ab al-Ahbar as saying:
'Plundering of Medina will become lawful and Nafs-Zakkiyah will be killed.'
Again in section 3 and chapter 4 of the afore-said book its author narrates from Imam Hussein-ibn-Ali (A.S.) as such: There will be five signs for Mahdi. (1) Sufyani (2) Yamani (3) Heavenly cry (4) Sinking of the land of 'Baideh' and (5) Killing of Nafs-Zakkiyah.