Is Mahdaviyat an Islamic belief?
There are two methods of proving that Mahdaviyat is an Islamic belief. Documentary evidence through Holy Quran, ahadith. And effect on Islamic culture.
A) Evidences in Quran
The book ‘Al-Mohajah’ contains ayats from shia sources. The book ‘Mahdi-e-Maood’ has 86 ayats about Imam (a.s.). For instance: We find in Surah Anbiya ayat 105
“And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants will inherit it.”
Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “In this ayat ‘My righteous servants’ refers to al-Qaem (a.s.) and His companion’s.”
(Ref: Yanabee’ al-Mawaddah of Hafez Sulaiman Qundoozi)
We find in Surah al-Qasas, ayat no 5
“And We desired to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams and to make them the heirs.”
Tafseer-e-Burhan quotes from Salbani Hanifi from the Nahjul Bayaa (Vol 3, pg 21) Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Jafar as-sadiq (a.s.). This ayat is specifically for Saheb-ul-Amr (a.s.) who will appear in the Aakheruz Zaman (Last Era) and will destroy the Pharohs and other oppressors of time. He will fill the earth with justice as it was filled with tyranny.
(3) We find in Surah Taubah, ayat 33
“He it is Who sent His apostle with guidance and the religion of truth that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.”
Author of Yanabi-ul-Mawaddah on page 508 narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.). “The taveel of this ayat will not occur till the Qaem — al Mahdi does not arise. When he will appear no polytheists will remain but he will be unhappy with his uprising and no disbeliever will remain, but he will be killed. Even if a disbeliever is hiding behind a stone, the stone will divulge his hideout. (When Imam will come, Islam will be the dominant religion of the world and it will be filled with justice)
B) In Traditions
After the tradition of wilayat of Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) the maximum no of tradition are of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) Ahqaqul Haq, vol 13 gives the references of all those who have written about Imam Mahdi (a.s.)
(1) References. (a) Sunan-e-Abu Dawood 4/87 (b) Sunan-e-Tirmizi 2/270 (c) (Tradition says that Qiyamat will not come till Imam (a.s.)’s Zuhoor does not occur. This shows that reappearance is certainty because Qiyamat is a certainty.
(2) He narrates from Sulaim bin Qais
“I had the honour of visiting the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). I saw that Husain bin Ali was sitting on his lap. Holy Prophet was kissing his eyes and nose. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “You are a chief. Son of a chief and brother of chief — same for Imam you are a divine proof, brother of a divine proof and father of my divine proofs. The ninth of them will be Qaem (a.s.).
(Ref: Yanabiul Mawaddah, pg 493)
(3) Saeed ibn Jubair narrates from Ibne Abbas that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “My successors and the proofs of Allah upon the people after me are 12 in number. The first of them is my brother and the best of them is my son.” People asked, “Who is your brother?” Holy Prophet replied, “Ali (a.s.).” They asked, “Who is your son.” They replied, “Mahdi (a.s.).”
(4) Yanabiul Mawaddah pg. 494
He narrates from Abu Baseer who narrates from Janti, who narrates from Jabir. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “…. Qaem is the son of Husain ibn Ali. Mahdi is the one who shall gain victory over the east and the west. Mahdi is the one who will go into Ghaibat. No one shall remain firm in his Imamat except those whose faith has been asked by Allah.
(Please Note: Not only his name, but also his lineage, his government etc are mentioned in traditions. If this does not constitute Islamic belief, then what does?)
(B) Effect on Islamic culture
I) If we take a cursory glance at history, we’ll find books written by Ahle Sunnah (a) Before the birth of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and (b) after his birth.
(a) Before Birth: (1) Akhbarul Mahdi was written by Abu Saeed Abbas bin Yaqub Ravajan. (exp: 250 A.H.) He is also the teacher of Imam Bukhari.
(2) Al-Musannat by Abdur Razzak Sanaani (exp: 221 A.H.)
(b) After birth: More than 50 books Al-Bayaan Fi Akhbar-e-Sahebuz Zaman by Mohd bin Yusuf Ganji Shaf’ii (exp: 658 A.H.) (c) Iqdud Durar Fi Akhbarl Muntazar written by Yusuf bin Yahya Shaki (exp: 657 A.H.). This book is published by Ahle Sunnah in Cairo. (d) Al-Arful Wardi Fi Akhbarul Mahdi’ by Jaladdua Abdur Rehman Suyooti (exp: 910) He has written many other books.
II) Ijma of scholars of Ahle Sunnah:
Ibne Abil Hadeed — a Motezeli scholar says in Sharh-Nahjul Balagha that there is an Ijma among all scholars on this point that the world will not end till Mahdi appears. General Secretary of Muslim World League gave a Fatwa in the month of Shawal 1396 A.H. in this regard. “The memorizers and scholars of hadees have verified that there are reliable (saheeh) and accepted (hasan) reports about the hadees of Mahdi (a.s.). The majority of them have related this from numerous authorities (mutawathir). There is no doubt about their status as mutawathir and Saheeh reports. The belief in the coming of Mahdi is wajib and it is one of the beliefs of the Sunnah. Only those ignorant of the sunnat of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and the innovators deny this belief.’
Shaikh Ahmed Mohammed Sahbeer who was one of the more recent Egyptian scholars of Ahadees and Tafseer (exp: 1377 A.H.) says: “Belief in Mahdi is not peculiar to the Shias because it is something which is proved through reliable reports of the Sunnah. There are many channels from the narration of many companions of the prophets in such a way that no one can doubt the birth of the belief.
(Al-Musnad publish in Egypt, vol. 5/196)
III) Effect of this belief in History.
Many people have claimed that they are the same promised Mahdi (a.s.).
In the book ‘Zindagani-e-Hazrat Sahebuz Zaman’ by Husain Imad Zade one part (pg 286-294) contains the list of claimants to Mahdaviyat 47 names. Syed Mohammed Jaunpuri – India – 910 A.H. Abdullah (known as “Mar from Jabal”) – 717 A.H. Abu Muslim Khorasani – Khorasan – 137 A.H. Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani – India – 1326 A.H.
Conclusion: Irrespective of time and locations have made this claim. This shows that this is an Islamic belief.
Q2) Is it possible for a man to live so long?
Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) was born in 255 A.H. Today the age of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) exceeds 1150years. This is just his present age and his reappearance is still pending. The years after reappearance have also been discounted.
Perhaps some minds might pose the query, ‘Is it possible for a man to live so long?’
The answer is a definite yes. Man can certainly attain longevity for the following reasons:
1) Till date, no limit has been fixed for human age, that after such and such age, man cannot or should not live.
2) There have been people who have lived even more than the present age of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.), like Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) who propagated for 950 years before the famous deluge and his total age exceeded 2500 years.
3) Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) and Hazrat Ilyas (a.s.) continue to live till date.
4) Shaitan preceded Hazrat Adam (a.s.) in existence and is still alive.
Imam Zain al-Abedeen (a.s.) says,
“In our Qaem, is the tradition and sign of Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) and that is his longevity.”
(Kamaal al-deen, vol. 2, p. 524)
(Q3) What is the meaning of Ghaibat? Is it possible to see Imam (a.s.)?
Ghaibat does not mean that a person becomes invisible, or is staying in some cave. But Ghaibat means that we see him but don’t recognize him
For e.g. Hazrat Yusuf’s brothers could not recognize Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) although they had stayed with him. And only after a lot of reminders, did they recognize him. We too will see Yusuf-e-Zahra but will not recognize him.