Hazrat Imam Mahdi (as) bears the special characteristics and more from the previous prophets. He is the embodiment of their virtues and qualities. He carries their signs and is the inheritor of all that they stood for and what was revealed upon them. The following article mentions the similarity between Hazrat Khizr (as) and Imam Mahdi (as).
The subject of Khizr (as), that Allah prolonged his lifespan is having unanimity among the Shiahs and the Sunnis and a large number of traditions prove this.
In Beharul Anwar it is quoted from Manaqib from Dawood Riqqi that he said, “Two of my brothers decided to travel for performing Ziyarat. One of them was overwhelmed by thirst so much that he fell down from his mount and the other one also fell on his hands. But he got up from his place and recited the prayer and sought the help of Almighty Allah, the Holy Prophet (sawa), Ameerul Momineen (as) and the Imams (as). He uttered their names one by one till he came to the name of Imam Jafar bin Mohammed (as), and he began to beseech and call out to the Imam (as). Suddenly he decried a man standing besides him and asking, “What’s the problem?” He related his circumstances to that gentleman. That person gave him a piece of wood and said, “Keep it between his (fellow traveler’s) lips.” He complied with this and once he saw him open his eyes, sat up, without feeling any thirst. They continued their journey and performed the Ziyarat of the holy tomb. And when they returned towards Kufa the one who had supplicated, traveled to Medina and went to Imam Sadiq (as).
The Imam (as) asked, ‘Sit down, how is your brother? Where is that (piece of) wood?’ I politely replied, ‘O master, when my brother fell down in that condition I was extremely distraught and when the Almighty Allah returned his soul, due to being overjoyed I forgot the (piece of) wood.’ Imam Sadiq (as) said, ‘When you were depressed by the condition of your brother, my brother, Khizr came to me. I sent you the piece of Tooba tree wood with him.’ After that His Eminence turned to his servant and said, ‘Go and bring that container.’ The servant went and brought it. His Eminence opened it and that same piece of wood came out. He showed it to that person who recognized it. Then the Imam returned it to its place.” (Beharul Anwar volume 47, page 138)
Imam Mahdi (as) is also such that the Almighty Allah gave him a long lifespan. Rather some traditions inform us that the wisdom behind the prolongation of Hazrat Khizr’s life is that it should be a proof for the longevity of Imam Mahdi (as).
Shaykh Sadooq has mentioned a lengthy tradition in his book, Kamaluddin. In that report Imam Sadiq (as) says, “And as for the righteous servant, Khizr (as), Almighty Allah bestowed him with a long lifespan not due to the fact that He had made him a Prophet, or because a book was revealed to him, nor that he brought a new Shariat nullifying the previous one, nor that He made him an Imam and required the people to follow him, nor because his obedience was compulsory. Rather it was because it was there in the knowledge of Allah, the Blessed and the High, that during occultation the age of Qaim (as) would be prolonged to an extent that people would not believe it, and they would deny a long age, He prolonged the age of the righteous servant, Khizr (as) without any justification, except that it be a basis for proving the age of Qaim (as) so that the arguments and proofs of the opponents may be invalidated and that people may not have any argument against Almighty Allah.” (Kamaluddin volume 2, page 357)
Also in the book of Kamaluddin it is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said, “Khizr (as) drank from the nectar of life. Thus he is alive and will not die till the bugle is blown. Indeed he comes to us and he greets us by Salaam. His voice is audible but he could not be seen. And he is present wherever his name is mentioned. Thus whomsoever of you mentions him, must say Salaam to him. Every year he is present in the ceremonies of Hajj. He performs all the rituals and he camps at Arafat; says Amen to the prayers of believers. And the Almighty Allah changes the loneliness of our Qaim (as) during his occultation into his companionship and removes his solitude through him (Khizr).” (Kamaluddin, volume 2, page 390)
The name of Hazrat Khizr is ‘Baliya’ and other names are also mentioned. The reason of his being named thus is that – as Shaykh Sadooq mentioned – he never sits on dry wood except that it turns green and it is also said that whenever he prays his surroundings turn green. (Kamaluddin volume 2, page 391)
And it is said that once he was on a white land and he moved once and became green. The word ‘Khzr’ is pronounced in three ways, ‘Khazr’, ‘Khizr’ and ‘Khazir’. It is mentioned in Najmus Saqib that to whichever land Qaim (as) comes it would become green and vegetated and water would flow from it. And when he departs from there the water would recede and the land will return to its prior condition. (Najmus Saqib page 84)
Power to assume any form
Almighty Allah has bestowed Hazrat Khizr (as) with the power to assume any form as Ali bin Ibrahim, in his Tafseer has related from Imam Sadiq (as). (Tafseer al-Qummi, page 404)
Almighty Allah has bestowed the same power to Imam Mahdi (as).
Knowledge of the unseen
Khizr (as) has the ability to know the unseen as he said in his conversation with Prophet Musa (as), “He said, Surely you cannot have patience with me, And how can you have patience in that of which you have not got a comprehensive knowledge?” (Surah Kahf verses 67-68)
Imam Mahdi (as) also has the ability to know the unseen as mentioned in the discussion about the knowledge and wisdom of His Eminence.
Secrets of Allah
Hazrat Khizr (as) did not reveal the wisdom behind his actions till after he exposed himself.
Qaim (as) is also such that the cause of his occultation will not be exposed till after the reappearance, as we discussed about it in the topic of Ghaybat.
Presence in Hajj
Khizr (as) participates in the Hajj ceremonies every year and performs all the rituals.
Imam Mahdi (as) also participates in the Hajj ceremonies every year and performs all the rituals. Here we would like to relate a very interesting incident as it is having many benefits.
Ahmad bin Mohammed Ansari said, Along with us was also a group of Umrah pilgrims. Among them were Mahmoodi, Allaan Kulaini, Abu Haitham, Abu Jafar Ahwaal Hamadani, Mohammed bin Qasim Alawi comprising 30 persons. Except for Mohammed bin Qasim Alawi Aqiqi none of them was sincere. It was the 6th of Zilhajj of the year 293 A.H. a young man approached us wearing Ehram dress and carrying his slippers in his hands. He came among us and due to his awe and majesty we stood up and greeted him with Salaam. He glanced to the left and right and sat down among us.
He asked, “Do you know what Imam Sadiq (as) used to say in his supplication?” We asked, “What did he recite?” He said, “He used to say, O Allah, indeed I ask You by Your name due to which the sky and the earth stand, and by which it is possible to distinguish between right and wrong. Due to which different and separated people come together and by which there develops differences and dispersion in cohesive groups; and through which are calculated the number of sand particles in the desert, the weight of the mountains and the measure of water in the oceans. Bless Mohammed and the Progeny of Mohammed and widen and ease all my affairs for me.”
Then the handsome youth stood up and we also followed by way of respect. He began to perform the circumambulation (Tawaf). As a result of his awe we forgot to ask him who he was.
The next day at the same time he completed the Tawaf and came to us and sat down among us in the same way. Then he glanced to the right and left and asked, ‘Do you what supplication Ameerul Momineen used to recite after the obligatory prayers?’ We asked, ‘What did he recite?’ He said, ‘He used to recite as follows, O Allah it is towards You that voices are raised. Supplications are addressed to You alone. Before You only are cheeks placed in submission. Humility and lowliness is shown to You. Your command is honored in all the matters. O the best of those who are beseeched and One Who is better than all those who bestow. O the true one, O the forgiving one. O one who never breaks His promise. O one who also commands to ask from Him and also promises the fulfillment of supplications. O one who has said, ‘Call upon Me, I will answer you.’ O one who said, ‘And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.’ O one who said, Say, ‘O my servants! Who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.’
Then he looked to the right and the left and asked, ‘Do you know what Ameerul Momineen used to recite in the prostration of thankfulness (Sajdah Shukr)? ‘Please tell us what he used to say,’ we replied. He said, ‘He used to say, The weeping of those who weep does not increase anything except Your generosity and kindness. O one who has the treasures of the heavens and the earth. O one whose mercy is widespread. My sins cannot restrain Your favors from reaching me for which I pray to You. Regarding my affairs, do what befits You. You are powerful over every type of punishment and You have complete right upon all of them. I have no argument to support my case in Your court and neither have I an opportunity to present excuse. I present my sins to You and I confess of having committed them so that You may forgive them and You are the best of those who know. I dissociate myself of all the sins that I have committed and all the mistakes I made and all the evils deeds I have performed. O my Lord, forgive me and have mercy on me and overlook all that You know for You are the most powerful and kind.’
After that the young man arose and began to circle the Kaabah. We all also rose up to pay respect. The next day he again came to us at the same time and like the previous day we welcomed and greeted him. He sat down in our company and glanced at the right and left. Then he said, ‘Ali bin al-Husain, Imam Sajjad (as) used to recite this at this place in prostration (so saying he pointed to the Black Stone), ‘Your slave is at Your threshold, Your destitute is at Your door, You are asked for those things over which none except You has power.’
Then he looked to the right and the left and glanced at Mohammed bin al-Qasim Alawi from among us and said, ‘O Mohammed bin al-Qasim, you are, Insha Allah on the right path.’ Then he arose and entered the circling of the Kaabah. There was none among us that had not learnt by heart the supplications he had recited, but we forgot to ask him about himself everyday. Mahmoodi asked us, ‘Do you know this man?’ ‘No,’ we replied. He said, ‘By Allah, he is the Master of your time.’ We asked, ‘How do you know, O Abu Ali?’ He said, ‘I prayed to my Lord for seven years to let me have the glimpse of the Master of the Age.’ Then he said, ‘Seven years ago that same gentleman was reciting the supplication of Isha in Arafat. I asked him, ‘Who are you?’ He replied, ‘I am a human being.’ I asked, ‘From which race of human beings?’ He said, ‘From the Arabs.’ The supplication in Kamaluddin is as follows, Your basest servant is present in your court, your poor one is at your door. I ask you for that which none can give except you.
Then I asked, ‘From which Arab clan?’ He said, ‘From the most noble and high clan.’ I asked, ‘Which is that?’ He replied, ‘Banu Hashim.’ I asked, ‘From which branch of Banu Hashim?’ He said, ‘That which is the highest in giving counsel and worthy of praise in its loftiness.’ I asked, ‘From which of these persons?’ He said, ‘From those who split the heads, fed the poor and prayed in the dead of the night when the people slept.’ I said to myself that he was an Alawite and I was inclined to the Alawites. Then he disappeared. I don’t know whether he went to the sky or into the earth.
I asked those who were around him whether they knew that Alawite gentleman. ‘Yes,’ they replied, ‘He comes with us every year on foot to perform the Hajj.’ I told them that I didn’t see their footprints. Then I went towards Muzdalifah in a condition of grief and sorrow. That same night I saw the Holy Prophet (sawa) in dream. He said, ‘O Mahmoodi, you have seen what you desired.’ I said, ‘My master, who was he?’ He replied, ‘The one you saw during Isha was the Master of the Time.’ Thus when we heard this from him we became angry at him, why he did not inform us about it. He said that during the conversation he had forgotten about it.” (Kamaluddin volume 2 page 470; Beharul Anwar volume 52 page 9)
(The above article was taken and adapted from the book Mikyalul Makarim Fee Fawaedid Dua Lil Qaem)