The discussion about Imam Mahdi (as) is one of the most comprehensive discussions in Islam along with discussions on Tawheed, Imamate and Qiyamat. We find books upon books which have been written about every aspect of Imam Mahdi (as) – right from his lineage, events related to his birth, his long life, his occultation and also his re-appearance. Traditions outline clearly what are the characteristics of his companions, circumstances before and after his re-appearance and enumerate duties of people awaiting his re-appearance.
Popular books on the subject of Imam Mahdi (as) include Beharul Anwar (volume 51, 52 and 53), Najmus Saqib, Muntakhabul Asar, Kamaluddin and Mikyalul Makarim. Scholars of Ahle Sunnah have also extensively written about Imam Mahdi (as)
The traditions mentioned below are but a drop in the ocean on the subject. Traditions are reported below from each Imam to simply establish that every Imam (as) spoke about this personality who will, on his re-appearance, fill the earth with justice and equality in the same way as it will be rife with injustice and oppression. If Allah wills, over a period of time, we will try to bring more from this vast ocean available to readers online.
Holy Prophet of Islam (sawa)
“O Ali know that the most strangest of the people in terms of faith and the greatest of them in certainty are those people who will be in Aakheruz Zaman (the last era). They will not meet the Prophet. And their Imam will be hidden from them. But they will believe (only) due to black upon white.” (Kamaluddin volume 1, chapter 25 tradition 8, English)
The “black upon white” means the writings on paper. It means that these people will believe in the Quran and the sunnat as recorded in the books, even though they may not see their Imam (as).
“Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is similar to mine and his epithet (kuniyat) is similar to mine. In his physique and character he looks exactly like me. He will be in a state of occultation and there will be confusion (hayrah) in which people will wander about. Then he will come forth like a sharp, shooting star to fill the earth with justice and equity as it was filled before with injustice and inequity. (Kamaluddin volume 1 Pg 286 tradition 7; Tirmidhi volume 4, page 505, tradition 6)
“Blessed are those who are fortunate to live in the time of Qaem of my Ahle Bayt. Those who will believe in him during his occultation and before his advent, who will love his friends and remain aloof from his enemies. Such people will be my closest ones and my friends on the Day of Judgment.” (Kamaluddin volume 1, chapter 25, tradition 2, English)
“Glad tidings for those who live till the time of the Qaem of my Ahle Bayt and follow him before his advent. Those who, during his occultation, have faith in him and the Imams preceding him and will be aloof from their enemies for the sake of Allah. They shall be my friends and the most honorable persons of my Ummah.” (Kamaluddin volume 1, chapter 25, tradition 3, English)
The Holy Prophet (sawa) said, “Mahdi is from my progeny. There is an occultation and perplexity for him, during which period communities will deviate. He will bring the relics of the prophets. At that time he would fill up the earth with justice and equity as it will be fraught with injustice and oppression.” (Kamaluddin volume 1 chapter 25, tradition 4, English)
The Holy Prophet (sawa) said, “Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) is the Imam of my Ummah and my caliph on it after me. And from his progeny is the awaited Mahdi who will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and tyranny. By the One who has sent me with truth, as the giver of glad tidings and a warner, those who will be steadfast in faith upon him during his occultation will be more precious than red sulphur.
Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari stood up and asked: O Messenger of Allah, is there occultation for the Qaem from your progeny? He replied: Yes, by my Lord, through him will Allah exalt those who believe and destroy those who disbelieve. O Jabir, it is one of the celestial matters and one of the secrets of Allah which is concealed from the people. Thus one who doubts in it, he in fact doubts in the matter of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.” (Kamaluddin volume 1, chapter 25, tradition 7, English)
Ameerul Momeneen (as)
“Surely there will be from among you a great dispute and will not be solved except by a Nauma”. Somebody asked, “What is Nauma?” He said, “It is that he (the Imam) will recognize the people but they will not recognize him. Know that the earth will never be empty from the proof of Allah The Almighty. The people will not recognize the proof of Allah like it was with Yusuf, he was recognizing the people but they were denying him.” Then he recited Ayat no. 30 of Sura Yaseen ”Alas for the servants! there comes not to them an Apostle but they mock at them.” (Ghaybat of Nomani page 141)
”For the Qaem among us will be in Ghaybat… except those will be steadfast among them in his religion and their hearts will accept the length of Ghaybat of their Imam. Their grade will be with me on the day of Qiyamat.”
“Surely, when our Qaem will be raised, he will not have Bayat (allegiance) of anyone on his neck and his birth will be hidden and he will be in occultation from the people.” (Kamaluddin page 303, volume 1, tradition 14)
“He shall be in occultation till the ignorant say: What need does Allah have for Aale Mohammed?” (Kamaluddin volume 1, chapter 26, tradition 9, English)
“Our Qaem will have an occultation, the duration of which is long. As if I see the Shiah, roaming about like cattle searching for pasture and not finding it. Behold, whoever from them stays firm on his religion and will not become stone-hearted because of delay in occultation of his Imam, he will be with me in my rank on Judgment Day.” Then he said, “When he rises, our Qaem will not have allegiance to anyone on his shoulders. For this reason, his birth will be concealed and his person will be hidden.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 7 tradition 1, English)
“The Master of this Affair is from my offspring. He is the one about whom it will be said, He has died, perished, no rather, has threaded to some valley.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 7, tradition 11, English)
The river Euphrates swelled at the time of Ameerul Momeneen (as). At this time, he and his two sons, Hasan and Husain (as) rode their horses and passed by the tribe of Thaqif. The people said, ‘Ali is coming. He will made the water recede.’ Ameerul Momeneen (as) said: “By Allah, I and these two sons of mine will be killed and Allah will send a man from my progeny in the last period of time, who will avenge our blood. He will go into hiding from them in order to be away from the people of misguidance, so the ignorant would say, Allah does not have any need to Ahle Bayt (as).” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 7, tradition 7, English)
Imam Hasan (as)
“When Imam Hasan bin Ali (as) signed the peace treaty with Muawiyah some people came to him and condemned him for making peace. So he said: Woe be on you, you don’t know why I did that. By Allah whatever I have done is better for my followers (Shiahs) than everything. Don’t you know that I am your Imam whose obedience is incumbent on you? And on the basis of the statement of the Messenger of Allah (saws) I am one of the chiefs of the youths of Paradise?
All said: Yes, indeed it is so. The Imam said: Don’t you know that when Khizr (as) made a hole in the boat, repaired the wall and killed a boy, Musa bin Imran (as) did not like it since he was unaware of the wisdom behind those actions, even though all those actions were according to the dictates of Divine wisdom?
Do you know that there is none among us who did not have the allegiance of the tyrant ruler of his time around his neck, except for Qaem, behind whom the Spirit of Allah, Isa bin Maryam will pray?
Indeed, Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime has kept his birth secret and his person unseen. When he reappears, he would not have the allegiance of anyone upon his neck. He is the ninth descendant of my brother, Husain. He is the son of the best of the maidservants. The Almighty Allah will prolong his age during the occultation, then He would, through His power, make him appear as a youthful man of less than forty years of age so that it may be known that the Almighty Allah is powerful over everything.”
Imam Husain (as)
“From among us there will be twelve guides. First one will be Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) and the last of them will be my son and he will be the true Qaem. Allah will give life to earth after it has been died and will evident the true religion upon all the religions even if the disbelievers feel averse. In his Ghaybat many nations will deny it and very few will be steadfast on it till the end and for them it was said, ‘It is for them the promise if they are truthful and those who have patience in his Ghaybat against all difficulties and denying, their position is like a soldier standing with Holy Prophet (sawa) with his sword.” (Kamaluddin, page 317, volume 1, tradition 3)
“For Qaem there will be two Ghaybat, the second one will be longer than the first. In the first one nobody will know his address except his selected Shiahs and in second one nobody will know his address except the true lovers of his religion (they will come to know the address through Imam (as) himself).” (Ghaybat of Nomani page 17)
“Behold, the one who remains steadfast during his occultation despite maltreatments and falsifications, is in the position of a warrior with the sword in the way of Allah in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (saws)” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 8, tradition 4, English)
Imam Sajjad (as)
“The birth of our Qaem will be hidden from the people, so they will say that he is not born yet. He will rise at the time of his rise without any pledge of allegiance to anyone on his shoulders.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 9, tradition 2, English)
Aba Khalid Kabuli reports that, “I came to my master, Ali bin Husain Zainul Abedeen (as) and said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger, tell about those personalities whose obedience and love Allah has made incumbent on His servants and that after the Messenger of Allah (sawa) they should follow them.”
The Imam said, “O Kankar, the ones whom Allah has made as Ulil Amr (vested with authority) are Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) and after him, Imam Hasan (as), then Imam Husain (as), sons of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) till this position came to me.” After that the Imam fell silent.
I said, “My chief, it is narrated from Ameerul Momeneen (as) that the earth shall never be devoid of Proof of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime upon His creatures. So who is the Imam and Divine Proof after you?”
He replied, “My son, Mohammed and in the Torah his name is Baqir (splitter) and he will expound knowledge. He will be the Divine Proof after me. And after him his son, Jafar who will be famous among the folks of the heavens as Sadiq.”
I said, “My chief, why is he named Sadiq (truthful) while all of you are truthful?”
He replied, My father narrated to me from his father that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “When my great grandson, Jafar bin Mohammed bin Ali bin Husain bin Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) is born, name him Sadiq. One of his fifth descendants will be named Jafar, who will falsely claim Imamate and attribute falsehood to Almighty Allah. He would be Jafar Kazzab (liar) in the view of Allah. He will claim something he is not worthy of. He will oppose his father and be jealous of his brother. Taking undue advantage of the occultation of Divine Proof he will try to expose the secret of Allah.”
After that Imam Ali Ibne Husain (as) cried much and then said: “As if I can see Jafar Kazzab helping the tyrant of the time to search for the Wali of Allah. He will try to spy on him and not knowing about the birth of Imam Qaem, he will become the executor of his father’s estate and will desire that were he to gain upper hand on the Qaem he will eliminate him; and will be greedy for his inheritance, till he usurps it wrongfully.”
Abu Khalid says, “I said, O son of Allah’s Messenger, is it a prediction?”
He replied, “No, rather by Allah, it is written in the book in our possession that mentions the calamities that shall befall us after the Messenger of Allah (saws).
Abu Khalid says, ”I asked: O son of Allah’s Messenger, what will happen after that? He replied: After that there will be a long occultation of the Wali of Allah and the twelfth successor of the Messenger of Allah (sawa).”
“O Abu Khalid, during this period of occultation, those who believe in his Imamate and who await for his reappearance, they shall be better than the people of all times because Allah, the Mighty and Sublime would bestow them intelligence, understanding and recognition and for them occultation would be same as presence. Their status shall be like that of the holy warriors who fought under the command of the Messenger of Allah (sawa). It is they who are sincere and our true Shiahs. They shall call the people to the religion of Allah openly and secretly. And he said, “Awaiting for the reappearance is the best worship act.” (Kamaluddin volume 2, chapter 31, tradition 2)
Imam Mohammed Baqir (as)
Umme Hani asked Imam Mohammed Baqir (as), “What is the meaning of Allah’s word, Nay. I swear by the Star?” He said, “O Umme Hani, an Imam who on the year two hundred and sixty hides himself until his whereabouts is not known to the people. Then he will appear like a blazing meteor in a dark night. If you should see that time, your heart will find solace.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 10, tradition 6, English)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as)
“Certainty, the master of this affair has an occultation. Then those who are the pious servants of Allah, will hold firmly to their faith”. (Kafi volume 1, page 335 and 336, Ghaybat of Shaykh Toosi page 455, Ghaybat of Nomani page 169)
“If you hear the news of occultation of your Imam do not deny it.” (Isbatul Huda, volume 6, page 350)
Sayyed Mohammed Hamavi says that, “I was believing in Mohammed Ibne Hanfiyyah and that he is in occultation, for a long time. Then Allah showered His bounty and had mercy over me. By the help of Imam Sadiq (as) I got relieved from the fire of hell and was guided towards the right path … I asked from him that, “Who is the owner of the traditions of Ghaybat?” Imam Sadiq (as) replied, “Those traditions are for my sixth son, he will be the twelfth Imam. By Allah, if his occultation goes up to the age of Nuh (as) he will not die, but will reappear and fill the earth with justice.” (Kamaluddin, volume 1, page 112-115, published in 1378)
“When Imams named Mohammed, Ali and Hasan come one after another, the fourth will be the Qaem.” (Kamaluddin volume 2, chapter 33, tradition 2)
“The following dua must be recited during the time of Ghaybat. ”O Allah! O Beneficient! O Merciful! O the knower of the thoughts (of the hearts)! Make my heart firm upon your religion.” (Kamaluddin volume 2, chapter 33, tradition 50)
“Allah, the High, created fourteen lights fourteen thousand years before He created the creation. They are our spirits.” He was asked, “O son of Allah’s Messenger (as) who are the fourteen?” He said, “Mohammed, Ali, Fatemah, Hasan, Husain and the Imams from the progeny of Husain (as). Their last is the Qaem who will rise after his occultation and will kill Dajjal and will clean the earth from every oppression and injustice.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51,chapter 11, tradition 9, English)
“Behold, by Allah, your Mahdi will disappear from you until your ignorant individuals would say, ‘Allah does not have any need in Aale Mohammed (as).’ Then he will come like a blazing meteor. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it will be full of injustice and oppression.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 11, tradition 12, English)
Sayyid bin Mohammed Himyari said that: I said to Imam Sadiq (as), “O son of Allah’s Messenger, traditions have been related to us from your forefathers, peace be unto them, with regard to the occultation and the confirmation of its occurrence. Please inform me who is it going to happen to?” He said, “It will happen to the sixth from my sons, the Twelfth from the Imams of guidance after the Messenger of Allah (sawa), the first of whom is Ameerul Momeneen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) and their last is the Riser with the Truth, the Cherished Redeemer of Allah on His earth, the Master of the Age and the vicegerent of the All-Merciful (Imam Mahdi). By Allah, even if he should remain in his occultation as long as Nuh remained in his people, he will not go from the world until he appears and fills the earth with equity and justice, as it will be replete with injustice and oppression.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 11, tradition 13, English)
“The customs the apostles went through in terms of their disappearances will materialize in the Qaem of us, the Ahle Bayt in the precise and same manner. Abu Basir says, I said to him, “O son of Allah’s Messenger, and who is the Qaem of you Ahle Bayt?” He said, “O Abu Basir, he is the fifth from the sons of my son Musa. He is the son of the mistress of slave girls. He will have an occultation in which invalidators will doubt. Then Allah, the Exalted, will manifest him and will conquer on his hands the easts of the earth and its wests. Ruhullah Isa Ibne Maryam (as) will come down and pray behind him. The earth will shine with the illumination of its Lord. There will be no spot on earth on which a deity other than Allah, the Exalted, is worshipped, and the religion entirely will be for Allah, even if the infidels may dislike this.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 11, tradition 15, English)
Mufaddal bin Umar said, I was sitting with Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) in his sitting room and there were other people with me as well. He said to us, “Take care not to mention him by name,” meaning the Qaem (as) and I was seeing he meant to say this to the others. Then he said to me, “O Abu Abdullah, beware not to mention him by name. By Allah, he will disappear for years. He will be forgotten until it will be said, He is dead, perished or gone to some valley. The eyes of the believers will shed tears over him and they will be turned over like a ship is turned over by the waves of the sea and no one will be saved except the one from whom Allah has taken covenant and has inscribed faith in his heart and has endorsed him with a spirit from Himself.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 11, tradition 19, English)
“O Hazim, the Sahib al-Amr (al-Qaem, Imam Mahdi) has two occultations and will rise after the second one. Anyone who comes to you claiming that he has purified his hands in the soil of his grave (i.e. the grave of al-Qa’im), do not believe him.” (al-Ghaybah page 91)
Imam Musa Kazim (as)
“When the fifth descendant of the seventh Imam goes into occultation, for the sake of Allah protect your religion. None of you must let go of your religion. O son, occultation is necessary for the master of this affair. So much so that even those who say that it is a test from Allah, they would also turn away from him. And if in the knowledge of your forefathers there had been some other religion more correct and better than this, they would have followed that only.” I asked: “Master, tell us who is the fifth descendant of the seventh Imam?” He replied: “Son, your intellects are small, he cannot be accommodated in it. Your understanding is so restricted that you cannot bear it, but if you live till that time you will indeed find him.” (Kamaluddin volume 2 chapter 34, tradition 1)
“Blessed are those of our Shias who during the occultation of our Qaem remain attached to our Wilayat (guardianship) and who are steadfast in devotion for us, who have declared immunity from our enemies. They are from us and we are from them. And indeed they have preferred us for Imamate and we have also selected them as our followers (Shia). Congratulations to them and blessed be they (Shias). By Allah, on the Day of Judgment they shall be in our grades.” (Kamaluddin volume 2 chapter 34, tradition 5; Kifayatul Asar pages 265-266)
“The Qaem is the one who will purify the earth from the enemies of Allah, the High and the Mighty. And he will fill the earth will justice and equity just as it is filled with injustice and tyranny. He is the fifth of my descendants. He will go into occultation due to the fear of his own (life).” (Kamaluddin volume 2, chapter 34, tradition 5, Kifayatul Asar pages 265-266)
Imam Kazim (as) said in reply to a question of Yunus ibn Abdur Rehman who had asked Imam whether he was Qaem. He replied, “Yes, I am Qaem, but not that Qaem who will fill the earth with justice. He will be my fifth son, may my life be sacrificed for him. For a long time he will be in occultation … Glad Tidings for my those Shias who in his occultation will be stead fast on him and will be having enmity from his enemies, They are from us and we are from them. They are satisfied with our Imamat and we are satisfied from their being Shia. Then glad tidings for them, By Allah they will be with us in Paradise.” (Beharul Anwar, volume 51, page 151. Isbatul Huda, volume 6, page 471)
Mohammed bin Ziyad Azdi asked Imam Musa Kazim (as) about the Divine verse: “And He has lavished His favors on you, explicit and hidden.” He replied, “The explicit favor is the manifest Imam and the hidden one is the hidden Imam.” I asked him, “Is there someone in the Imams who will disappear?” He said, “Yes. His person will disappear from the eyes of the people and his remembrance will not disappear from the hearts of the believers. He is the Twelfth of us. Allah will facilitate every difficult task for him and will abase every hardship for him. He will reveal the treasures of the earth for him, proximate every far for him, destroy every tyrant through him and kill the rebellious Satan on his hands. (Beharul Anwar, volume 51, chapter 11, tradition 19, English)
Imam Ali Reza (as)
“O Debil, the Imam after me is my son Mohammed, after Mohammed his son Ali, after Ali his son Hasan, and after Hasan his son, al-Hujjah Qaem, the Awaited one during his occultation, and the one obeyed in his time of appearance.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 13, tradition 4, English)
Imam Mohammed Taqi (as)
“Abdul Azeem Hasani (Shah Abdul Azeem) said, I asked Hazrat Jawad (as), “My master, I hope you are that Qaem from the Prophet’s Ahlul Bayt who would fill the earth with equity and justice just as it would be filled with injustice and tyranny.
Hazrat (as) replied: “All of us rise (are Qaem) to Allah’s commands and guide (the people) towards His religion. But the Qaem through whom Allah will cleanse the earth off infidelity and disbelief and fill it with equity and justice is someone whose birth is hidden and he is concealed from the people and they are forbidden from uttering his name. His name and agnomen is the same as the prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) name and agnomen. He is someone for whom the earth will unfold its treasures and every hardship would be managed by him and his companions numbering 313 men equal to the number of people of Badr would gather around him from near and far and these are Allah’s words Who says: “And wherever you are, Allah will gather you; verily Allah is Powerful over all things.”
When this number of people would collect with utmost sincerity, Allah will manifest the Qaem’s affair. At that moment, his soldiers would number ten thousand and he will rise by Allah’s command. He will fight Allah’s enemies until the Almighty Allah becomes pleased.” (Ehtejaj volume 2 Pg449)
Abdul Azeem Hasani said, “I came to my master, Imam Mohammed Taqi (as) intending to ask him about the Qaem whether he is the Mahdi or someone else. However, he initiated the topic before I brought it up, saying, “O Abul Qasim, the Qaem is from us and he is the Mahdi. It is obligatory to wait for him in his occultation and to obey him in his appearance. He is the third from my sons. By the One Who sent Mohammed with Prophethood and distinguished us through Imamate, even if it does not remain from the world but a single day, Allah will prolong that day until he rises. He will fill the earth with equity and justice, as it will be replete with injustice and oppression. Allah, the Exalted, will rectify his order in one night, as He rectified the order of His Converser Musa (as) who went to fetch some fire for his family and returned a prophet, an apostle.” Then he said, “The best action of our Shiah is to wait for the reappearance.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51, chapter 14, tradition 1, English)
Imam Ali Naqi (as)
“After the occultation of your Qaem a group of the scholars will call people to believe in his Imamate and defend his religion by using proofs sent by Allah, so that they might save the weak-minded faithful from either the deceptions of Satan and his followers, or the deceptions of the Nawasib. If none of these scholars remain, then everyone will stray from the religion of Allah. However, as the pilot holds the rudder of the ship, these scholars will hold firmly onto the hearts of the weak-minded Shiites, preventing them from straying. Those scholars are the most excellent in the view of Allah the Exalted.” (Ehtejaj, volume 2, page 260)
Imam Hasan Askari (as)
“I swear to God, it (Ghaybat) will be so long that most of his believers will deviate, save those who have a friendly and steadfast contact with us and have strong belief. Oh Ahmad-ibn-Ishaq! The occultation of my son Mahdi is among God’s masterpiece and secret. So accept my words and do not disclose to those whom you don’t trust and be thankful to this bounty so that on the day of judgment you reside besides us in paradise.”
“As if I see you, you have disputed after me with regard to my heir. Behold, someone who professes faith in the Imams after the Prophet of Allah yet denies my son, is like someone who professes faith in all prophets and apostles of Allah and then rejects the Prophethood of Mohammed the Messenger of Allah (sawa); and the denier of the Messenger of Allah (sawa) is like one who rejects all the prophets. Because obedience to our last one is obedience to our first one and rejecter of our last one is the rejecter of our first one. Behold, my son will have an occultation in which people will doubt, except the ones Allah saves.” (Beharul Anwar volume 51 chapter 15 tradition 6, English)
So many traditions are witness to the fact that presently Imam Mahdi (as) is in Ghaybat. As per the traditions of the Holy Prophet (sawa), the best act in Ghaybat is to await the reappearance. Awaiting the reappearance means improving ourselves as well as others. Hence Ghaybat of Imam provides us the opportunity to train ourselves and to prepare the ground for His reappearance.
Read more about Imam Mahdi (as)
- An Introduction to Imam Mahdi (as)
- Who Is Imam Mahdi (as)?
- Who Are The Parents Of Imam Mahdi (as)
- Need of Recognition Of The Imam Of The Time
- The Earth Will Never Be Devoid of A Divine Proof
- Belief in Imam Mahdi (as) – A Universal Belief
- Shiahs and Ahle Sunnah Both Wrote Books About Imam Mahdi (as)
- Discussion About Imam Mahdi (as) In Traditions
- Abundance of Traditions Regarding Imam Mahdi (as)
- 40 Traditions from Ahle Bayt (as) about Imam Mahdi (as)
- Names And Titles Of Imam Mahdi (as) – Part I
- Names And Titles Of Imam Mahdi (as) – Part II
- Imam Mahdi (as) In Hadithe Qudsi
- The Belief in Imam Mahdi (as) Was Ingrained in People