Longevity in the Traditions

Longevity in the Traditions



( Hazrat Isa and Hazrat Khizr (as))

According to narrations in the hadith collections, there existed people who lived a long life before Imam Mahdi. In addition to those referred to in the Qur’anic verses, at least two persons can be cited:

  1. Hazrat Isa (as)

Muslim Neishaburi, a well-known Sunni narrator, quotes the Prophet (s) as saying, “How will you be when Jesus, son of Mary, will descend to you and be your Imam?” [1]

Likewise, Nu’mani, a well-known Shia narrator, reports the Prophet (s) addressing Imam  Ali (a)  concerning  the  number  of  successors (wasiy ), as saying: “They are as many as the months of year, and the Prophet Jesus Christ will pray behind the last one of them.” [2]

Based on these hadiths and verses, the Prophet Jesus will be alive until the uprising of Imam Mahdi which attests to his exceedingly long life.

The Holy Qur’an also rejects the idea that the Prophet Jesus was crucified and says that Allah raised him up to Himself:

Sure Nisa verse 157-158

وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي

شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا بَل رَّفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

That they said, ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who disagree on this are full of doubts, with no [certain] knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for surely they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

  1. The Prophet Khidr (as)

As seen in hadiths, Prophet Khidr is among those who lived an exceedingly long life. Muslim Neishaburi narrated a hadith from the Holy Prophet, who said, “When Dajjal appears and encounters Khidr, he will decide to kill Khidr, but will not succeed.” The longevity of Khidr has also been verified by Shi‘a sources. For example, Sudair Sayrafi related that along with Mufaddal ibn Umar, Aban ibn Tghlab and Abu Basir, he went to Imam Sadiq and saw him sitting on the ground. While crying heavily he (a) said, “My Majesty, your long absence is breaking my being and the comfort of my conscience is taken from me.”  Sudair said, “I asked, ‘May I be your ransom, why are you in a state of crying?’ He said, ‘I looked in the

book Al-Jafr (A holy book compiled by Imam Ali (a) inherited to him by Prophet Muhammad (s) ) until I reached the birth of Imam Mahdi (a) to whom God  will  grant  a  long  life  and  in  whose  absence  there  will  be disturbance in this world…because of that day, I was saddened and became tearful.’”

Then, he added, “Imam Mahdi will be born the same way the Prophet Moses was born, his occultation being similar to that of the Prophet Jesus, his stay among his people resembling Prophet Noah’s, and his long life like that of Prophet Khidr.”[3] Shi‘i sources also refer to Prophet Khidr’s meeting Imam Ali.[4]

Thus, the length of the lifetime of Imam al-Mahdi (a) is not unheard of. And if God, due to good will, was able to give long life to a number of people, He can do the same concerning Imam al-Mahdi (a).


[1] Muslim Neishaburi, Sahih of Muslim, vol.1, p.94.

[2] Nu‘mani, al-Ghaibah, p.58; also see Shaikh Saduq, Kamal-ul-Din, p. 251 & Shaikh Tusi, alGhaibah, p. 191.

[3] Shaikh Saduq, Kamal-u-Din, p. 35.

[4] Ibid, p.315; Shaikh Tusi, al-Ghaybah, p.155.

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