Is Long Life of Imam Mahdi (as) Established in Quran?

While discussing the long life of Imam Mahdi (as), it is important to establish that a person can have a long life, if Allah so desires. Allah the Almighty knew that people would doubt the long life of his Proof, Imam Mahdi (as). Hence Allah kept many examples in the Quran for the same.The discussion of longevity in the context of the Quran can be approached from several aspects:

  1. Allah has power over all things
  2. Allah has power of life and death
  3. The mention of the long life of Hazrat Nuh (as)
  4. The mention of Hazrat Khizr
  5. The incident of Hazrat Yunus (as)
  6. The long life of Iblees (Shaitaan)

Let us look at each of the above in some detail.

Allah Has Power Over All Things

At several places in the Quran, Allah reminds us that “Innallaha Ala Kulle Shayin Qadeer” – Allah has power over all things. The above verse or its derivatives in meaning is found close to 40 times in the Quran.

Why is Allah reminding us that He has power over all things? Just so that we do not doubt his power to control every aspect of our lives – life, death, sustenance, guidance, family…everything. Allah wants his creation to understand and recognise that indeed His creation is in His control. See some of the verses in this regard.

“And it is God who has created all animals out of water; and [He has willed that] among them are such as crawl on their bellies, and such as walk on two legs, and such as walk on four. God creates what He will: for, verily, God has the power to will anything” (Surah Nur, verse 45)

“And He it is who out of this [very] water has created man, and has endowed him with [the consciousness of] descent and marriage for your Lord is ever infinite in His power.” (Surah Furqan, verse 54)

“ Behold, then, [O man,] these signs of God’s grace – how He gives life to the earth after it had been lifeless! Verily, this Selfsame [God] is indeed the One that can bring the dead back to life: for He has the power to will anything!” (Surah Room, verse 50)

“or He gives both male and female [to whomever He wills], and causes to be barren whomever He wills: for, verily, He is all-knowing, infinite in His power.” (Surah Shura, verse 50)

Any person who has faith in the Omnipotence of Almighty Allah can never doubt His ability to do anything, to cause anything, to grant anything or His power to take away anything. If He desires that His Proof upon this earth, Imam Mahdi (as) should enjoy an extraordinary long life, then it will happen and none can stop it, even if they were averse to it.

Allah Has Power Over Life and Death

The verses of the Quran inform us that Allah has absolute power over life and death. He created life. He created death. He can grant a long life to whomsoever He pleases and He can take the life of whomsoever He pleases, whenever He pleases. Pay attention to the following verses:

“He who has created death as well as life, so that He might put you to a test [and thus show] which of you is best in conduct, and [make you realize that] He alone is Almighty, truly Forgiving.” (Surah Mulk, verse 1)

“Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] sperm-drop – then at once he is a clear adversary? And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?” Say, “He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.” (Surah Yasin, verses 77-79)

The above verse was revealed in reply to the Meccans who used to doubt the word of the Prophet that Allah will raise the dead. One amongst them brought a dead bone before the Holy Prophet (sawa) and crushed it to dust. Allah revealed the above verses in reply. The verse clearly states that Allah who created life for the first time has the power to do it again. And again.

At another place in the Quran, Allah narrates His response to Hazrat Ibrahim (as) who wanted to know how Allah will bring the dead back to life.

“And, lo, Abraham said: “O my Sustainer! Show me how You give life unto the dead!” Said He: “Have you, then, no faith?” (Abraham) answered: “Yes, but [let me see it] so that my heart may be set fully at rest.” Said He: “Take, then, four birds and teach them to obey you; then place them separately on every hill [around you]; then summon them; they will come flying to you. And know that God is Almighty, Wise.” (Surah Baqarah, verse 260)

Again in the above verse, we see that if Allah wishes, Allah can grant life to any creature whenever He desires.

Lastly while discussing the incident of Hazrat Uzair in the Quran, Allah says,

“Or [consider such an example] of the one who passed by a township which had fallen into ruin. He said, “How will Allah bring this to life after its death?” So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years; then He revived him. He said, “How long have you remained?” The man said, “I have remained a day or part of a day.” He said, “Rather, you have remained one hundred years. Look at your food and your drink; it has not changed with time. And look at your donkey; and We will make you a sign for the people. And look at the bones [of this donkey] – how We raise them and then We cover them with flesh.” And when it became clear to him, he said, “I know that Allah has power over all things.” (Surah Baqarah, verse 259)

After seeing the above verses, there can be no doubt that life and death are in the Hands of Allah. Neither has Allah set any minimum age nor any maximum age for any individual.

Long Life of Hazrat Nuh (as)

Prophet Nuh (as) is called as Shaykh al-Ambiya (Oldest of the Prophets). It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) and Imam Hadi (as) that the age of Hazrat Nuh (as) was 2,500 years. The Holy Quran has mentioned the period of propagation and guidance of Nuh (as) as 950 years. “And certainly We sent Nuh to his people, so he remained among them a thousand years save fifty years. And the deluge overtook them, while they were unjust.” (Surah Ankaboot, verse 14)

The verse after this mentions ‘So We delivered him and the inmates of the Ark’

It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as), “Nuh (as) lived for 2,500 years – he was raised a Prophet 850 years before the deluge, stayed among his people for 950 years, took 200 years to build the ark and survived 500 years after the deluge. When the water dried up, he laid the foundation of cities and settled his children there.

After the passage of 2,500 years, the angel of death came to him while he was sitting under the sun. He said: Peace be upon you. Nuh (as) replied to the salutation and asked ‘O Angel of Death! Why have you come?’ He said to take your soul. He (as) asked, “Can you permit me that I go from sunlight into shade?’ He granted permission and Nuh (as) came from the light to the shade and said ‘O Angel of Death!  My (long) life in this world was like coming from sunlight to the shade (i.e. it has passed so fast). Now act upon whatever you have been commanded. The Angel of Death took away his soul.” (Hayatul Quloob, Urdu, volume 1, page 147)

The above mentioned verse of Holy Quran and the tradition prove that Hazrat Nuh (as) lived for 2,500 years.

Mention of Hazrat Khizr in Quran

Allah makes a mention of Hazrat Khizr (as) in Quran while narrating the episode of his meeting with Hazrat Musa (as). All Islamic scholars – whether from the Shiah or the Ahle Sunnah school of thought – accept that Hazrat Khizr (as) is alive till today and is on this very earth.

We know that close to 3,000 years have passed from the time of Hazrat Musa (as) till today. If Allah can grant a long life to Hazrat Khizr (as) then he can grant a long life to Imam Mahdi (as) as well for that is easy for Him.

Traditions mention that Hazrat Khizr (as) was granted a long life only so that people should not harbour any doubt about the long life of Imam Mahdi (as). Apart from Hazrat Musa (as), we know of meetings which have taken place between Imam Ali (as) and Hazrat Khizr (as), and also between Imam Sadiq (as) and Hazrat Khizr (as).

The incident of Hazrat Yunus (as)

Readers are aware of the events concerning Hazrat Yunus (as) who prayed for chastisement to descend upon his community. However due to the sincere repentance of the community, Allah chose to waive off the punishment which was destined for them. The incident continues till such time that Hazrat Yunus (as) was confined in the stomach of a whale. Allah says, “And had he (Hazrat Yunus) not been of those who exalt Allah, He would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are resurrected.” (Surah Saffat, verses 143-144)

This means that if Allah desired, not only could He keep Hazrat Yunus alive till the day of Judgement, but along with his prophet, He would have also kept the fish, in whose stomach Hazrat Yunus (as) was, alive till the day of Judgement. Once again, we can conclude that if Allah can keep His Prophet (as) alive, then He can also grant a long life to His Imam, Hazrat Mahdi (as).

The long life of Iblees (Shaitaan)

The Quran makes a detailed mention about the episode of Shaitaan – how he was cursed and eventually made to leave Paradise; how he begged Allah for respite, which Allah granted him till a fixed time, even though Shaitaan wanted respite till the day of Judgement. There is no Muslim on the face of this earth who denies the presence of Shaitaan, who does not acknowledge that Shaitaan was created even before the creation of the physical body of Hazrat Adam (as) and that he has control over us in the sense that he can whisper in our ears and influence us.

When Allah has granted such power and long life to His arch enemy and the enemy of His creation – Allah calls Shaitaan an “open enemy” in Quran – then who can doubt that Allah can grant a long life to His Proof, His source of guidance for His creation, the one who will direct people to Paradise and fulfill the aim of creation. Surely Allah can do that.

The above examples are sufficient to establish that Allah, if He so desires can grant a long life to any person.

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