بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
It is the habit of some people to oppose and create misgivings and doubt. Particularly, where accepting a thing leads to the affirmation of many other matters which would lead to undue complications. So, the subject is twisted, for it to end there.
The belief in the existence and reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is one such topic. If, his pure existence is recognized today then the entire chain of Imamate has to be acknowledged. The very sequence which ends with Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and begins with Imam All Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).
Those informed about traditions cannot deny the belief in Imam Mahdi (a.s.) or his reappearance in the light of reliable and authentic traditions. They affirm the fact that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will surely appear before the advent of Qiyamat. Rather, he will be born and appear but is presently not in existence. They put forward the doubt: Our affirmation to the fact that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) has been born in 255 A.H. and is present today awaiting the order of the Lord of the Worlds to reappear, then begets the question: Can a man of the present era, live such a long life? Such longevity is impossible. The mind rejects such a possibility. Hence the question of such a belief does not arise.
The question of the Longevity of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.s.) is not something new. The answers to this question are available in the books written on him (a.s.). But, the new generation has neither the time nor the inclination to peruse these books. So, we present a few facts to make it clear that our belief is based on the sound foundation of reason and intellect.
Against Habit or Against Intellect?
Things that oppose habit and those that oppose intellect are two different precepts. Normally, people mix up the two. The polytheists of Makkah denied the Resurrection Day only because they had not witnessed the dead becoming alive.
وَقَالُوا أَئِذَا ضَلَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَئِنَّا لَفِي خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ بَلْ هُم بِلِقَاء رَبِّهِمْ كَافِرُونَ
And they say: What! when we have become lost in the earth, shall we then certainly be in a new creation? Nay! they are disbelievers in the meeting of their Lord.
This is not a solid argument for denying Qiyamat. The only point is that they had not seen a dead man come back to life. So, they abstained from affirming the concept. When glad tidings were presented to Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) of the birth of a son, his wife commented:
قَالَتْ يَا وَيْلَتَى أَأَلِدُ وَأَنَاْ عَجُوزٌ وَهَـذَا بَعْلِي شَيْخًا إِنَّ هَـذَا لَشَيْءٌ عَجِيبٌ
She said: O wonder! Shall I bear a son when I am an extremely old woman and this my husband an extremely old man? Most surely this is a wonderful thing.
But, the enlivening of the dead in Qiyamat is true. The birth of a child in the house of Ibrahim (a.s.) is also true. Neither is against intellect. Similarly, the life of a man beyond a thousand years is not in variance with intellect, only differs from habit. Rather, it is a present day reality.
The best proof of the possibility of a thing is its existence. It is the Limitless Grace of the Almighty that examples of longevity abound to clarify all such doubts and fears. Such examples were present in past times and are in existence even today. Only a few are mentioned for the sake of brevity:
Sr. Names Age
- Luqman Bin Aad 3500 years
- Luqman Hakim 400 years
- Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) 2500 years
- Hazrat Adam (a.s.) 930 years
- Hazrat Shees (a.s.) 912 years
- Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) Alive
- Hazrat Isa (a.s.) Alive
Only one example is enough to prove the possibility of a thing. There exist innumerable examples to prove the long life of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.s.), so that it remains neither against intellect not against the Sunnah of God.
There is no limit to lifespan
Medical science has not come up with any research so far which limits the lifespan of an individual. Science has never stated, ‘A man cannot live beyond this age.’ On the contrary, research into the cures of various diseases suggests hope of survival till the last breath even in the most severe of conditions. Innumerable examples state the complete recovery of man from his death bed. If human lifespan was limited, then doctors would not have tried to save people and succeeded. The ongoing research in the abolition of diseases suggests the faith of the experts of medical science that human Life can be prolonged. Bernard Shaw observes: ‘It is a scientific reality that no limit has been fixed for human age. There can be no fixed limit to long life in humans’.
When we take stock of the global situation, we find that human age gets prolonged as science progresses. The average Indian lifespan was 44 years in 1901 which increased to 61 years in 2001. This is because science had not developed in 1901 and people died of various ailments. While as knowledge progressed and remedies discovered, the causes of death decreased and lifespan increased.
The average age in Japan today is 84 years and in Europe is 85 years. Whereas Africa, where life is difficult and knowledge is not widespread, the average is a meager 40 years. This makes it clear that as knowledge increases, so will the lifespan of humans. Apart from this, new research has proven that mans’ age depends upon factors like lineage, health, food and lifestyle.
If we look at the long life of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.s.) keeping these facts in mind, we feel that his longevity is only natural. If we consider knowledge, then no secret is hidden from him.
Belief and action is part of his existence.
Genealogy: There is no lineage better than his family.
Health is the other name for balance or equilibrium. The stature of an infallible is high above that of a balanced personality.
Food: The flavors of this world can never attract him.
Lifestyle: Tension and anxiety are harmful to the body. The holy persona is elevated to the status of complete satisfaction (mutma’innah). We can never measure the contentment of the soul whose very mention is a source of reassurance to other people.
So, there is no doubt or basis in the light of scientific facts which would be an obstruction to his longevity. This is the reason that none of his ancestors died a natural death and were martyred. It also clarifies the fact as to why the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) had limited his successors to twelve till the Day of Judgment. They are not ordinary mortals, but Divine representatives.
Please pay attention to the following:
The English researcher ‘Roger Bekis’ has put human Lifespan at a 1000 years.
Another scientist states ‘Medical science can remove the obstacles to ageing through food. We hope to achieve a longer Lifespan than our ancestors.’
Diamond Reeral observes, ‘All the parts of the body have the capacity for perpetual existence or at the very least for a lengthy period.’
This type of research makes it clear that human life has no fixed limit and man can stay alive for a very Long period of time.
This entire discussion was one of normal circumstance, i.e. if a man cares for his health from his inception and is concerned about his food etc. then he can live for a long period of time. But, people who believe in Allah (Mighty and High be He) and have faith in His Omnipotence, do not harbour any doubt regarding His bestowal of everlasting life to someone. Numerous such examples have been cited in
The Fresh Fig
The Holy Quran has mentioned Hazrat Uzair (a.s.) as an example of Qiyamat in this world. Surah Baqarah states:
Or the like of him (Uzair) who passed by a town, and it had fallen down upon its roofs; he said: When will Allah give it life after its death?” So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him to life Allah said: How long have you tarried? Uzair said: I have tarried a day, or a part of a day.” Said He: Nay! you have tarried a hundred years; then look at your food and drink years have not passed over it And look at your ass; and that We may make you a sign to men” And look at the bones, how We set them together, then clothed them with flesh So when it became clear to him, he said: I know that Allah has power over all things.
The point of reflection in this incident is that a donkey is a tough animal while the items of food are delicate and perishable. But, the body of the donkey decays over the hundred year period while the foodstuff stays fresh.
They do not undergo any change. Is not clear that Allah, if He wishes, can keep a fragile object fresh out in the open for a period of 100 years while destroying a tough one? The people who accept the Longevity of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.s.) have the belief that he is alive due to the bestowal of Allah and not only has the Lord granted him life but has kept him young too.
The Open Truth
The life of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.s.) is not a coincidence. It is not an event which has taken place unexpectedly. Rather, his longevity is part of a plan and this was conveyed much before his birth.
- The Almighty Allah has fixed the limit of the successors of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.s.) as twelve. It had been clarified by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) in traditions:
There will be twelve successors after me.
- The number of the successors of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) abiding until the day of Qiyamat is only twelve and none can change that.
فِىْ الْقَائِم سُنَّةٌ مِنْ نُوْحٍ وَهُوَ طُوْلِ الْعُمْرِ
In the Qaem, there is a Sunnah (tradition) from Nuh and that is longevity.
It is narrated from Imam Ali Raza (a.s.):
His (al-Qaem (a.s.)) sign is that he will be old in age but youthful in appearance until the onlooker will estimate his age to be forty years or lesser. And from his signs is that he will not be affected by the passing of days and nights till his death.
This is not a remote possibility, since the God Who can keep figs and grapes fresh for 100 years can easily keep His Proof and His Representative young.
Thus, the people who question the Longevity of Wali-e-Asr (a.s.) are only those do not believe in the Omnipotence of Allah nor in His Wisdom and Judgment.
 Surah Sajdah (32) : verse 10
 Surah Hud (11): verse 72
 Umral. Mahdi bainat lime wal Adyan, pg.6
 MajIa’ Danishmand, saat 6, shumara I
 Rahi Lau’e Hayate Nau, pg.6
 Majla’ Macintoff, juz 3, saal 59.
 Surah Baqarah (2) : verse 259
 Kamaaluddin, pg. 322, Trad.4 a 5; pg. 524, Trad. 5
 Kamaaluddin, pg.652