I have discovered that there are some big differences in Shiite and Sunni views of the 12th Imam, or Imam Mahdi. I will be going over the Shiite views here, and until I say that the views are Sunni. It appears to me that the Shiite view is much more involved than the Sunni. During the next several posts we will look at the Mahdi up too, Dajjal, so don’t think I missed anything. We will cover more on the Mahdi after going over Dajjal.
Muhammad ((according to some)), prophesied about several events that will occur just before the advent of the Day of Judgment. Among these, Rasulullah ((just to interupt here for a second…does the definition of Rasulullah make sense to you??)), has foretold the advent of one of his descendants, the Mahdi (the guided one), which will materialize when the believers are severely oppressed in every corner of the world ((we talked about this in the last post)). He will fight the oppressors, unite the Muslims, bring peace and justice to the world, rule over the Arabs, and lead a prayer in Mecca at which ‘Eessa (Jesus) will be present ((we will get to this and some of the other things mentioned above)).
What is nice, is some people give a precise description of the Mahdi, but some how, I don’t think they have it right… No disrespect to my Muslim readers, but doesn’t this seem a bit too descriptive. What happens if some guy meets those things, but isn’t the Mahdi, but he thinks that he is, because he has read that stuff?? Case in point, this guy.
The Mahdi will be a Sayyid, from the progeny of say-yiditina Faatimah ((Fatimah)), the daughter of Rasulullah (Muhammad). He will not be very tall nor short. He will be well built. He will not be black nor brown, yellow or very white. His face will resemble the face of Rasulullah. His habits, morals and way of life will be similar to that of Rasulullah/Muhammad.
His name will be Muhammed. His fathers name Abdullah, and mothers name Aaminah. He will have a slight stutter in his speech, as a result at times he will hit his thigh with his palm. His ilm, he will receive directly from Allah, most high. However, sayyid Birzanjee writes in his kitaab that I could not find the name of Imam Mahdi’s mother in the riwaayaat (narrations).
There are numerous hadiths cited in Sunni and Shiite sources from Muhammad and the Imams concerning the appearance of the Mahdi, such as, that he is of the progeny of the Prophet and that his appearance will enable human society to reach true perfection and the full realization of spiritual life. In addition, there are numerous other traditions concerning the fact that the Mahdi is the son of the eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari. They agree that after being born and undergoing a long occultation (hidden by God)(since 868) the Mahdi will appear again, filling with justice the world that has been corrupted by injustice and iniquity (we will get into just how that is to take place).
At least that is what some think. Some believe he will be born, some believe he is the actual son of the 11th Imam, Hasan ibn Ali Askari, who, as I said, is still alive but in hiding for the last 1100-1200 or so years. I’m beginning to get a clearer picture on why all Muslims don’t think alike. The opponents of The Followers of Ahlu Bayt protest that according to the beliefs of this school the Hidden Imam should by now be nearly twelve centuries old, whereas this is impossible for any human being. And in answer to that some have said, that the protest is based only on the unlikelihood of such an occurrence, not its impossibility. Of course such a long lifetime or a life of a longer period is unlikely. But those who study the hadiths, and the Imams will see that they refer to this life as one possessing miraculous qualities, especially when you consider what he is going to do, if in fact he is as old as some say. I can say that when you look at the old testiment in the Bible, there were some who had extra long lives too, but…1200 years old, seems pretty old.
Ghaybat al-Sughra or Minor Occultation (874-939) is the shorter of the two periods, during which deputies of the Imam maintained communication to the rest of the world.
Ghaybat al-Kubra or Major Occultation began 939 and is believed to continue until a time decided by God, when the Mahdi will reappear to bring absolute justice to the world.
So we have two different Sects in Islam who believe in the Mahdi, but not in who the Mahdi is, which could cause some trouble within Islam itself. No doubt that each side considers the other to be heretics. I have been told that at least in the Quran, there is no mention of the Mahdi.
There are some who have written that there was no Mahdiism in the beginning of Islam. It was only in the second half of the first century (7th century CE) that the idea appeared among the Muslims. There was a group that regarded Muhammad b. Hanafiyya as the Mahdi and gave the good news to the people about the good fortune Islam would acquire through him. The same group believed that Muhammad b. Hanafiyya had not died but he was living in Mt. Radwa and one day would return.” There are others who say that the belief in Mahdi was widespread during the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
A tradition reported by Abu al-Hujaf quotes the Prophet saying three times:
Listen to the good news about the Mahdi! He will rise at the time when people will be faced with severe conflict and the earth will be hit by a violent quake. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it is filled with injustice and tyranny. He will fill the hearts of his followers with devotion and will spread justice everywhere. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 74
This next verse is very important, as you will see in future posts, so make a note of it, both Muslims and Christians (don’t give it away, those of you who know why)
The Day of Resurrection will not take place until the True Qa’im rises. This will happen when God permits him to do so. Anyone who follows him will be saved, and anyone who opposes him will perish. O servants of God, keep God in your mind and go towards him even if it happens to be on the ice, for indeed he is the caliph of God, the Exalted and Glorified, and my successor. Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, p. 65; Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 6, p. 382
Just to refresh from the last post, which is also the sign of the Mahdi’s return… Sufyaani will emerge in Palestine, where he will start a revolt in the month of Rajab (A little help here, what month is that??). He will be an uncompassionate rebel and his rule will last for eight consecutive months. He will conquer and rule Egypt for four consecutive months. Sufyaani will conquer Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and Syria. Sufyaani has been specifically described by Aimma A.S. as an ugly, blistered, green-eyed, cross-eyed person who will be an enemy of the friends of the Ahlul-Bait which I assume is this, there is also a Shiite community in South Africa by the same name. Imam Ali has said that Sufyaani’s hatred of the devotees of the Ahlul-Bait will be such that any person named Ali, Fatima, Hassan, Hussein, Zainab, Ruquaiya will be arrested and beheaded straight away without further investigations. Sufyaani will rip the Mimber of the Prophet Mohammad. The house of the Prophet which contains his grave will be pulled and used as a stable. Horses will be tied in that place. Sufyaani will then attack Mecca, his purpose is supposed to be to destroy the Kabba and kill all the people of Mecca. According to the prophecy his army is supposed to start off on its march towards Mecca from Baghdad (some believe Syria), but when they get to the desert of Baida, between Mecca and Medina; It is said that the entire army numbering 100,000 persons will be swallowed up by the earth, except for two. The two who will be spared will suddenly encounter an angel. He will slap both of them turning their faces right round, looking behind instead of front. And that will be the time when Imam Mahdi will already have reappeared in Mecca.
The Mahdi will establish his authority in the Mosque in Mecca in the Haram. The angel will then order one of them calling him Bashir. “O Bashir, go straight to Mecca, into the Haram and inform the Imam that Sufyaani’s army has been swallowed up by the land. The other called Nazir will be ordered to go to Sufyaani and tell him that the Imam has already appeared. He should proceed straight to Mecca and declare allegiance to him. Sufyaani will prepare to attack the Mahdi but evidently will not have the courage. The Mahdi will catch Sufyaani in Jerusalem and kill him.
I found another list of things that is said to occur prior to the Mahdi’s appearance, we have covered some of them already, but just in case there are new things, I will post this list as well.
Imam Ali has said that nine definite signs will precede the emergence of Hazrat Mahdi. These nine signs are:
1) Dajaal will emerge.
2) A loud voice will be heard from the sky.
3) Sufyaani will appear and wage a fierce war.
4) The army of Sufyaani will be swallowed by a sudden opening of the land between Mecca and Medina in the desert of Baida.
5) A revered wise saint will be murdered in Mecca. (This saint is to be a Hashimite descent.)
6)A Seyyid descendant of Imam Hassan will emerge with his army.
7) The army of Seyyid-e-Hassan and an image of a man will appear in the sky opposite the sun. ((what??))
8) There will be two eclipses in the holy month of Ramadhan contrary to the normal order and calculation and the eclipse of the moon.
9) On three occasions a loud voice from the sky will be heard in the holy month of Ramadhan. ((What’s the difference between this and number 2??)
I will be going over more on the Mahdi, and what Sunni’s say about the Mahdi. I hope I am not giving information overload, I am just trying to get everything down right.