24 May Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the eyes of Imam Ali (a.s.)
The discussion of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is so critical that most of the important Islamic personalities have made some mention about it in their writings and sermons. Here we shall chronicle some of the traditions and sermons of Ammerul Momeneen, Hazrat Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.), who has spoken at length on this topic. It is vital that we gain maximum marefah from these sermons and traditions so that we may avert a death of ignorance and apostasy.
Commencement with Imam Ali (a.s.), conclusion with Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)
Often we learn about the conclusion from the commencement. Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) is the first Imam, while Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the last one. Then we should draw some information about the last Imam from the first one. Ali (a.s.) reveals, The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) informed me, Allah has favoured us, the Ahle Bayt, with seven persons, that He has not conferred on anyone before us, nor will He bestow it on anyone after us, viz., In our family is the Messenger of Allah, the chief of all Prophets and the seal of Prophethood. The Prophets (s.a.w.a.s.) successor, Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.), is more elevated than all other successors. He is the beloved of Allah, more than all other successors. His (s.a.w.a.s.) two grandsons, Hasan and Husain, are the most excellent of grandsons. Our martyrs enjoy a distinction higher than the other martyrs, i.e. Hamza b. Abdul Muttalib, chief of all martyrs. Among us is the one who is granted a pair of wings by Allah, so that he can soar along with the angels in Paradise. He is Jafar b. Abi Talib. The Promised Qaim is also from us.
(Muntakhabul Asar, page 173)
Once Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) disclosed to Abu Tufayl that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) informed him, Even if a solitary day remains for the world to end, Allah shall raise a man from my Ahle Bayt who shall fill the world with justice and equity as it would have been devastated with oppression and tyranny.
(Sunane Abi Dawood, Kitabul Mahdi)
While Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) has time and again advanced irrefutable evidence to support his claim of being the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.s.) successor, he has also introduced his last successor in minute detail. We mention below a tradition that reveals the origin of creation, the brilliant light of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.), the presence of this light in every age, creation of the Angels, creation of Hazrat Adam’s (a.s.) face and the objective behind creating the light of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
Certainly Allah created Adam (a.s.) the father of man, from those things that kept him concealed, and manifested his excellence and superiority. Allah designated him as the Imam in the midst of Angels and enlightened them about the objective of Imamate and Wilayat.
And the same was parted from our brilliant light which was concealed in Adam in accordance with his capability. Then Allah has transferred this brilliant light from one era to another, till it came to rest with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.).
Therefore, Allah has invited the people in an apparent as well as concealed manner towards His Messenger’s (s.a.w.a.s.) obedience and his (s.a.w.a.s.) Shariat.
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.) reminded the people of Allah’s covenant, the very covenant Allah had taken from the people in the previous world (Aalam-e-Zar). In Aalam-e-Zar, some people had testified to the prophethood of Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.), and had illumined themselves with the light of his (s.a.w.a.s.) guidance. They had recognised him (s.a.w.a.s.) and submitted to his (s.a.w.a.s.) affair. However, there were some other people who in their negligence and obstinacy had rejected his (s.a.w.a.s.) prophethood.
Finally the light of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) came to reside in the Twelve Imams (a.s.) of the Ahle Bayt (a.s).
That is why the light of the heavens and the earth subsists only from our brilliance. That is why all sciences shall be manifested from only our light and all affairs shall revert only to us.
Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is Allah’s final Proof (Hujjat) and the last Imam. And through our Mahdi, the chain of Allah’s Proofs shall end and Imamate shall reach its conclusion. He shall be the seal of Imams, and through him alone will the nation get deliverance. He is the Zenith and source of all affairs.
Imam Ali (a.s.) and his successors are the best of creation. Then, we are the most exalted of creatures, exceed others in the worship of One God and are Allah’s Proofs upon the earth. Then those who accept our Wilayat, and are attached to us, shall be blessed with Allah’s bounties.
(Murujuz Zahab, 1/42-43, Beirut edition, 1393 A.H.)
We would like our readers to read this tradition carefully and reflect over it, as Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) highlights the excellence of the Ahle Bayt (a.s.) and their Shias.
To attest in Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in this age is necessary Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) narrates that Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is at the zenith of Allah’s light and is the source of all affairs. Then the people should attach themselves to this light and try to acquire maximum recognition (Marefah) of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), who is among Allah’s greatest bounties to man. Indeed, only those who have been blessed with this recognition are worthy of deliverance.
Then glad tidings of Allah’s bounties are those who have attached themselves to our Wilayat.
Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in Nahjul Balagha
A few days before his martyrdom, Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) delivered a sermon in Kufa, standing on the stone that was fixed by Jodah b. Habirah Makhrumi. At that time Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) was wearing a woollen shirt, his (a.s.) reins were of date skin, and his (a.s.) shoes were also made of date leaves.
In this sermon, Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) began by praising Allah and glorifying Him, narrating His attributes, His grace and bounties and then explained a few points about mans creation. Then he (a.s.) admonished the people to fear Allah. He (a.s.) spoke about the certainty of death by illustrating the case of Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) thus, If there was a way to attain permanence in this world or a means to avoid death, then it would have been done by Sulaiman b. Dawood (a.s.), who had dominion over the entire earth and was given authority over all Jinns and humans.
But when his term of life expired, death overtook him, his house and wealth could not avert his death, and after him, his inheritors took possession of all his property. Surely there is lesson for you from every period of history.
Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) shall end all forms of oppression In this same sermon, Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) while discussing the topic of tyranny and oppression, recounts thus: Amaaleqa and his son, Firaun, and his sons the residents of the cities of the companions of Ras, killed a large number of people. They obliterated the ways of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.), and super-imposed the ways of tyrants and oppressors. When Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) had impressed this point upon the people, he (a.s.) recited:
His body shall be adorned with the attire of wisdom. He will have acquired it with all the conditions and etiquette. Recognise him accurately, his heart shall be devoid of any attachment whatsoever with this degraded world. Wisdom (Hikmah) near him (Imam Mahdi (a.s.)) shall be their lost property and their most cherished entity, which Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall seek. (Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall always use hikmah, for as per traditions Momins lost hikmah i.e. a Momin always tries to repossess this hikmah which he has forfeited) Then Imam Mahdi (a.s.) shall be isolated in such a condition. Then when the disputes and controversies engulf the world, oppressors and tyrants gain a stranglehold over the people, Islam is weakened, and become like that camel, who in its moment of feebleness and fatigue, wags his tail, and in its helplessness drops its neck on the ground i.e. Islam shall be weakened to an extent that it will have only a few faithful Muslims left. This is exactly what the Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) had prophesied, Islam’s advent was in isolation and seclusion, and it shall soon return to isolation and seclusion. In such a condition, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) shall be the last remnant among the successors of the Prophets (a.s.), and the lineage of Imams (a.s.).
(Nahjul Balagha (Urdu), Sermon 180, page 488 translation by Mufti Jafar, Commentary on Nahjul Balagha Sermon 181, page 595, Persian translation by Faizul Islam)
Important points from the above sermon
- Hikmah is the true insight of things, worship of Allah, piety and renunciation (Zohd). All this is present with Imam Mahdi (a.s.). That is why the etiquette, zohd, true worship, the reality behind the creation of things is something that is present only and only with Imam (a.t.f.s.) and can be acquired only from his threshold. Another important narration, Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) exemplifies the excellence and distinction of Imam (a.t.f.s.). When Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall reappear he shall take his rightful place as the (yasoob) caliph of religion. The people across the world shall throng to meet him like the clouds gather at the time of the Kharif season.
(Nahjul Balagha (Urdu), page 886 translation by Mufti Jafar, Nahjul Balagha (Persian) page 1,202, translation by Faizul Islam)
- Another point highlighted by this narration is that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is very much alive and lives on this very earth, protected from his enemies. He shall reappear at Allah’s command.
- Sayyid Razi (r.a.) compiler of Nahjul Balagha, elaborates on the meaning of Yasoobuddeen thus the esteemed leader who shall be the sole master of the peoples affairs on that day.
Ameerul Momeneen’s (a.s.) statement that Imam (a.t.f.s.), on his reappearance shall take command with firmness and resolute, is actually an illustration based the honeybees. The chief of the honeybees is called Yasoob. It spends the better part of its day in flight. At the end of the day, it settles down in its place firmly, fixedly. In this very manner, Imam (a.t.f.s.) also shall settle down in his rightful position as the caliph and leader of mankind, without anyone to challenge his supremacy.
- Clouds are delicate and subtle, regardless of whether they support water droplets or not. Here Imams (a.t.f.s.) companions are likened to the clouds of the Kharif season. This is because clouds no matter how widely dispersed they maybe, can converge very quickly within a few minutes.
5.Imam (a.t.f.s.) reappears, he shall annihilate the enemies with his sword, which will strike them like a bee sting. Enlivening the Book and the Sunnah Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) has prophesied regarding Imam (a.t.f.s.):When the Awaited Imam (Imamul Muntazar) (a.t.f.s.) reappears, he shall channelise the unlawful desires towards guidance and Allah’s worship, i.e. he shall guide those straying in darkness and treading towards light. Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall reappear at a time when the people shall mould religion to suit their selfish interests and wanton desires. They shall twist the verses of the Holy Quran to befit their greed and lust. When Imam (a.t.f.s.) reappears he shall suppress such deviant interpretation of the Quran and ensure its accurate interpretation. He shall ensure that the Quran is referred to in a manner it deserves, and he shall likewise enliven the affairs of the religion.
Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall totally abolish conjecture and analogy in matters of the Book and affairs of religion. In one place, Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) mentions in his sermon, that there shall be an intense struggle on Imams (a.t.f.s.) reappearance. Imams (a.t.f.s.) opponents shall be positioned in a defiant and obstinate manner like wild animals that snarl, while baring and gnashing their teeth. They shall be confident of their triumph, but will be made to taste the bitterness of defeat and disgrace. Beware! What I am prophesying is bound to happen tomorrow, and tomorrow is very near. It shall get with it everything I have foretold. Imam (a.t.f.s.) shall have to face opposition from the kings of that era because the latter with their greed and lust shall find it difficult to deal with Imams (a.t.f.s.) forthrightness and sense of justice and equity.
Indeed when Imam (a.t.f.s.) reappears, the earth shall make evident its treasures, and shall surrender the keys of its treasures to Imam (a.t.f.s.). Then surely he will show you the true meaning of justice and equity. He shall revive (the teachings of) the Book and the affairs of religion.
(Nahjul Balagha (Urdu), Sermon 136, page 373 translation by Mufti Jafar, Nahjul Balagha (Persian), page 424, translation by Faizul Islam)
Tomorrows dawn Occultation and reappearance are not terms that denote large distances or intervals. Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) has warned the people against sins and transgression, that deviate one from the right path, (Seerate mustakeem) to the path of destruction and disgrace. Such individuals will oppress the righteous creatures of Allah and shall consider their shedding their blood as permissible. When the people heard this prophesy, they asked Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.), about the period when all this oppression would end. Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.) said Don’t make haste. (Surely there shall be oppression and tyranny as I have prophesied) Then what is bound to happen shall happen. Don’t display any haste in getting over whatever is destined to happen. Be patient. Then await the dawn of tomorrow, and refrain from showing dissatisfaction and discontent at what it gets with it. For surely there are many people who show haste in securing something, and when they finally secure it, they exclaim in their regret: Alas I wish I had never acquired this! How near is the light of tomorrows dawn from today’s darkness.
O my nation, this is the promised Mahdi whose advent shall be marked with disputes and controversies. You have not yet experienced such disputes. (Today undeserving people have usurped my rights and have ignited the spark of controversy and strife. These disputes shall soon engulf the whole world, and you will see those events in the last age exactly as I have prophesied)
Beware! Then the one from us (Ahle Bayt (a.s.)) who shall get the final era, will stand illumined with the light of Wilayat and Imamat. He shall tread on the path of the righteous and virtuous. He shall steer the misguided away from darkness towards light. He shall release the ignorant from their bounds of ignorance. He shall disperse the advocates of falsehood, and mobilize the supporters of truth. He shall remain hidden from the eyes of the people. People shall try to seek his footsteps in order to trace his whereabouts, but shall return disappointed. But amidst all this, there shall be one nation, who shall be sharpened with acute conflicts and disputes, like the ironsmith sharpens the sword. (But despite these disputes and controversies they shall remain steadfast on their faith. They shall obey their Imam without any reservation) Their eyes shall be illumined with the light of the Quran, and its meanings shall constantly ring in their ears. They shall subsist on a diet of wisdom and learning. (This nation shall constantly acquire knowledge and teachings of the Quran from their Imam (a.t.f.s.))
(Nahjul Balagha (Urdu), Sermon 148, translation by Faizul Islam)