Even before the birth of Hazrat Mahdi (as), eminent scholars and companions of the Imams (as) compiled several books of traditions about glad tidings concerning reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as).
It is lamentable that most of these books were lost due to the contingencies of time and were unable to reach us thereby becoming extinct. The books that have reached us, due to grace of Allah upon us, include a book authored by a noble and eminent companion of Imam (as), Fazl bin Shazan-e-Nishapuri titled Isbatur Rajat’.
Abu Mohammed Fazl bin Shazan bin Khaleel-e-Nishapuri was a revered companion of Imam Ali Naqi (as). He was an expert in Jurisprudence and polemics. The author died in 260 AH in the year coinciding with the death of Imam Hasan Askari (as) and commencement of occultation and vicegerency of Imam Mahdi (as). Due to this it is evident that the book was written before 260 AH or at least in that year, and thereby the value of the book increases, because of it being ancient. This book plays a significant role in context of doctrine of belief in Imam Mahdi (as).
Download: The Return of Al-Mahdi (Selections from Isbatur Rajat)
We find that Fazl bin Shazan wrote approximately eighty books of which two books – al-Ghaybah’ and Isbatur Rajat’ deal with Imam Mahdi (as) covering topics like occultation, its incidences, reappearance and so on. Janab Sayyed Mohammed Mir Lauhi Isfahani (exp. 1083 AH) in his book Kefayatul-Mahdi has referred to the book al-Ghaybat and has narrated traditions from it. But unfortunately Al-Ghaybah of Fazl bin Shazan is extinct and contents of this book can be had only from those sources which have used it extensively.
It should be noted that the book ‘Isbatur Rajat’ has not reached us completely and only extracts from this book have remained.
Sayyed Bahauddin Ali Naili Najafi, author of book Anwarul-Masfiyya in 9th century compiled the extracts of this book and a few copies of it are available currently. Out of which one is available in library of Ayatullah ul Uzama Sayed Mohsin Al Hakim (ra). Other is in library of Astaane-Quds-e-Razawi in Mashhad-e-Muqaddas, Iran. All the copies date back to manuscript collected and written by Sheikh Hurre Amili (exp. 1104).
This book contains traditions giving glad tidings about Imam Mahdi (as) and carries more weight as it is written before the death of Imam Hasan Askari (as) and it serves as a manifest proof for those who doubt the existence of Imam Mahdi (as), as many uninformed writers accuse Shiahs of concocting the doctrine of Mahdaviyat after the death of Imam (as).
This book not only serves as a reply to such slanderous talks but also is a storehouse of many valuable traditions concerning occultation and characteristics of Imam Mahdi (as). Janab Fazl bin Shazan has given it an aura of authenticity by narrating the traditions from great companions of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) like Safwan bin Yahya, Mohammed bin Abi Umair and Hasan bin Ali bin Fazal. Apart from this, traditions from Imam Ali Naqi (as) and Imam Hasan Askari (as) uninterrupted from Abdullah bin Hasan-e-Khatib, Ahmed bin Ishaq Qummi and Mohammed bin Ali bin Hamza and so on.
Late Janab Sayed Ali Naili, the one who abridged this book has selected only twenty traditions for the purpose and rest of us have not reached us. These traditions are given below.
Responding to the query of Sulaym bin Qais, Imam Ameerul Momeneen Ali (as) said, Holy Prophet (sawa) kept his blessed hand on my chest and beseeched Allah to bestow upon me knowledge, intellect, cognizance, wisdom and light and invoked to Allah thus: O my Lord! Give him retentive memory and make him memorize the things instructed to him by me.
I once professed humbly before Holy Prophet (sawa) saying that may my parents be sacrificed on you, from the day you invoked for me I have not forgotten a single thing. I have written down all your instructions and neglected nothing. Are you worried about my forgetting?
Holy Prophet (sawa) replied: O brother! I am not worried about either your ignorance or your loss of memory, I simply intended to pray for you. Verily! Allah has ordained obedience of you and your companions along with my obedience and has chosen you to be my representative. He (Allah) has said: O you who believe! Obey Allah, its messenger and those in authority among you.
I inquired as to who are they? He replied they are my successors. It does not matter to them if people do not follow them. They are with Quran and will not be separated from Quran till they meet me at fountain of Kausar. My nation benefits from their presence. Even the rain does not pour without their permission. Prayers are accepted through their intercession and calamities are warded off through their mediation.
I requested the Prophet (sawa) to narrate their names and he narrated thus: You O Ali are the first among them and then keeping his hand on Hasan (as) stated him to be second one of them. Then he kept his hand on Husayn (as) and asserted that he is to follow Hasan (as) in vicegerency. He said after Husayn (as) the responsibility of guidance will fall on son of Husayn (as) whose agnomen will be Zainul Abedin (as) and further asked me to convey his salutations to him as he shall be born in my time. After him will be Mohammed Baqir (as), the one who will split His knowledge. He will be followed by their sons Jafar Sadiq, Musa Kazim, Ali Reza, Mohammed Taqi, Ali Naqi, Hasan (peace be upon them all) till the chain reaches to Hujjat al-Qaem, the son of Hasan (as) who will take revenge with my enemies and will fill the earth with justice and equity as it shall be filled with injustice and oppression.
Then Ameerul Momineen (as) said, By Allah! I visualize all of them who will pledge allegiance to him between Hajre Aswad and Maqame Ibrahim, not only this, I am aware of their names and tribes.
Hummad bin Isa states that he narrated this tradition in front of Imam Jafar Sadiq (as). Imam wept and confirmed the words of Sulaym and stated that he heard this from his grandfather Husayn ibn Ali (as) and he heard it from his father Husayn (as) and he heard it from his father at the time Sulaym bin Qais asked it from him.
Imam Hasan (as) said he heard it from his grandfather about Imams after him, that they will be twelve in number similar to Nuqaba of Bani Israel. Allah has bestowed them with my knowledge and wisdom and O Hasan! you are from them. Then Imam Hasan (as) asked as to when the reappearance of Qaem from his Ahle Bayt will take place. He replied, His reappearance is like occurrence of the Day of Judgement, Allah has kept it a secret from people of skies and earth. He will appear all of a sudden.
It is narrated from Imam Baqir (as) that Holy Prophet (sawa) said to Ameerul Momineen, Quraysh will prevail upon you when you will strive to unveil and all will join hands in oppressing you. If you get partisans and helpers face them strongly and if you are left alone be patient and protect your self. Martyrdom is chasing you anyway.
Surely my son will avenge those who oppress you and those who oppress your partisans. In the hereafter Allah will chastise them with a severe punishment.
Salman-e-Mohammadi at this stage inquired about the avenger? Holy Prophet (sawa) said:The ninth son from progeny of Husayn (as), the one who will reappear after a long occultation .He will spread the religion of God and will seek revenge from his enemies. He will make justice and equity prevail on earth as it shall be filled with oppression and injustice.
Salman-e-Mohammadi inquired again about the time when the time when he was reappear. Holy Prophet (sawa) replied: Knowledge of the time is exclusively with Allah, but there are some signs of his reappearance. like call from sky, landslides in east and west of the earth, submergence of land at Bayza. (a place between Makkah and Medina).
Abu Khalid Kabuli says that when be went in presence of his master Imam Zainul Abedin (as) and found him in a state of weeping while reading a book. I inquired: May my parents be sacrificed on you, what book is this?
Imam (as) replied: This book is the copy of the tablet which was gifted to Holy Prophet (sawa) by Allah. It contains, apart, from names of Allah, names of His Prophets, Ameerul Momineen, my uncle Hasan bin Ali, name of my father, my name, name of my son Mohammed Baqir, his son Jafar Sadiq, his son Musa Kazim, his son Ali Reza, his son Mohammed Taqi, his son Ali Naqi, his son Hasan az-Zaki and his son Hujjat, the one who will rise (with sword). He will wreak vengeance from the enemies of God. He will reappear after a long occultation to fill this earth with justice and equity as it shall be full of injustice and oppression.
Hazrat Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) narrates that Holy Prophet (sawa) conveyed to Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) that, I have more authority over believers than they themselves have on their own souls. After me such an authority will be enjoyed by you and then by Hasan, Husayn, Ali Ibne Husayn, Mohammed Ibne Ali, Jafar Ibne Mohammed, Musa Ibne Jafar, Ali Ibne Musa, Mohammed Ibne Ali, Ali Ibne Mohammed, Hasan Ibne Ali and lastly son of Hasan. Hujjat the one on whom the vicegerency will conclude. He will reappear after a long occultation and will fill the earth with justice and equity as it shall be full with injustice and oppression.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) said: Imam Ameerul Momineen (as) was asked about the word Itrat in traditions of two weighty things (Hadees Saqalain). He replied: I, my son Hasan, Husayn of which the nine sons from progeny of Husayn of which ninth will be Mahdi. Those people are ITRAT of Holy Prophet (sawa) and will not separate from Quran till the lime they meet Holy Prophet (sawa) at the pond of Kausar.
Hazrat Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) said that Imam Husayn (as) said to his companions one night before martyrdom that the Holy Prophet (sawa) informed him about his martyrdom to this effect: O my son! You will travel to Iraq, till the land by the name of Amra and Karbala . You will be martyred along with some chosen companions.
Then Imam Husayn (as) continued saying: The words of Holy Prophet (sawa) are going to be actualized. Tomorrow I will meet my grandfather Holy Prophet (sawa).Those of you who intend to go depart in darkness of night with my consent. Imam exhorted too much but nobody left. All enunciated in solitary voice: By Allah we shall never leave you alone and will follow you in every aspect. Observing such steadfastness of his companions, Imam Husayn (as) said: I give you glad tidings of paradise. By Allah! after martyrdom we will reside in graves till the time Allah wishes. Then Allah will cause us to return from our graves at the time of reappearance of Qaem. We will take revenge from the unjust, we will witness with our own eyes that the unjust are shackled and chained. Then Imam Mohammed Baqir (as) was asked as to who was Qaem. Imam replied seventh one from my progeny. He will reappear after a long occultation and will fill the earth with justice and equity as it shall be full of injustice and oppression.
Abu Khalid Kabuli says that he asked his master Imam Zainul Abedin (as) as to who are; the one whose obedience is obligatory after Holy Prophet of Islam (sawa). Imam replied! O Kabuli! ‘Ulul Amr’ are the ones appointed by Allah as guides and leaders and their obedience is compulsory and they are Ameerul Momineen. His son Hasan, my father Husayn and aft or him the office passed on to me…. After saying this Imam became silent.
I asked: It has been narrated from Ameerul Momineen that this earth can never be devoid of a representative of Allah. So who is Imam after you?
Imam replied! My son Mohammed who is known in heavenly books as Baqir, the one who will split the knowledge. After him the Imam will be his son Jafar who is known by the name of ‘Sadiq’ in divine books. I interrupted and questioned, Why is he called Sadiq (truthful) when you all are truthful? Imam clarified: My grandfather narrated from Holy Prophet (sawa) that he said that when the birth of my son Jafar bin Mohammed bin Ali bin Husayn bin Ali ibn Abi Talib takes places keep his name as ‘Sadiq’ because one person from his fifth generation will also bear the name of Jafar and will wrongly claim vicegerency. His name will be Jafar Kazzab. He will ascribe wrong things to Allah and will claim the position for which he is not entitled. He will not only oppose his father but will also bear jealousy towards his brother. This is the person who will strive to tear apart the veil of occupation of Imam. After saying this Imam wept profusely and added: As if I am seeing Jafar Kazzab exhorting the King of his time to go and search for Imam and lay his claim to the inheritance of his father and usurp it wrongly. I felt surprised and asked Imam O son of Prophet! Is this going to happen?
He replied: By Allah certainly this is inscribed in a book which Allah gave to Holy Prophet (sawa) narrating in it suffering of every kind which is to befall on us .
I inquired as to what will happen after that. Imam replied, Occupation of twelfth Imam will continue for a long time and those with firm faith will await his reappearance and those people who are awaiting for the Imam are better than the people of all times because Allah has bestowed them with intelligence and knowledge that occupation will be perceived by them as proximity. Their position in times of occupation is like the ones who fought with Holy Prophet (sawa). They are our true Shias, who will invite people towards religion secretly and openly. Imam added: To await reappearance is real pleasure.
Mohammed bin Abdul Jabbar narrates that Imam Hasan Askari (as) was asked about Imam after him. Imam (as) replied After me proof of Allah on earth shall be my son whose name and agnomen are that of the Holy Prophet (sawa) and he is the last in chain of vicegerency He was asked about his mother and he said, He will be born from the granddaughter of Qaiser and will remain hidden from the eyes of the people. He will reappear and will fight Dajjal and thereby spread justice and equity on earth as it shall he full of injustice and oppression.
Ahmad bin Ishaq relates that he heard from Imam Hasan Askari (as) relating about his successor thus: Praise is due to Allah Who did not cause me to die before showing me his representative. He will bear the same name and agnomen as that of the Holy Prophet (sawa). Allah will protect him in occupation and then will make him reappear, thereby filling the earth with justice and equity as it shall be full with injustice and oppression.
Mohammed bin Ali states that he heard Imam Hasan Askari (as) saying, The representative of Allah was born on 15th Shaban 255 A.H. at dawn. He got the bounty of receiving bath first from Rizwan, the treasurer of Heaven, from the fountain of Kausar and Salsabil.
After that he was given bath by Janabe Hakima, daughter of Imam Mohammed Taqi (as).
After this, the narrator asked Imam concerning his mother and to this Imam said she was a princess. Her name was ‘Susan’ but she will also be called as ‘Rehana’, ‘Faisal’ and ‘Nargis.’
It is narrated from Ibrahim bin Mohammed bin Faras-e-Nishapuri that he says, Amr bin Auf was a ‘Nasebi’ (enemy of Ahle Bayt) and a staunch enemy of Shiahs. On getting the information about his intentions to murder me, I felt afraid and bid farewell to my family members and went to the house of Imam Hasan Askari (as) and intended to flee after that. When I was with Imam Hasan Askari (as), I noticed a boy who was sitting besides Imam, having a shining face like a moon. I was expectedly impressed and on the verge of forgetting my problem. At that time the boy asked me, calling me by my name, to shed the fear of being killed as Allah will keep me away from his (Amr bin Auf) evil desire. I was amazed and then in a low voice asked Imam (as) about the boy who is aware of inner problems.
Imam replied that he is my son and proof of Allah after me. He will be in a long occupation and when this earth is overburdened with corruption he will reappear and fill the earth with justice and equity.
I inquired his name and was informed that he shares the name and agnomen with Holy Prophet (sawa) It is not permitted to use his name till Allah bestows him with an empire. Then Imam asked me not to disclose what I heard to anyone except who are trustworthy
I paid my tribute to Imam Hasan Askari (as) and his son Imam Mahdi (as). Soon I was informed by my uncle (Ali bin Faraz) that Moatmid Abbasi deputed his brother to arrest and kill Amr bin Auf. He was arrested and chopped to pieces. Praise is due to Allah Who is the Cherisher of the whole universe.
Abdullah bin Husayn-e-Katib narrates that Imam Hasan Askari (as) said, Caliphs of Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas raised their swords against us due to two reasons,
- they were aware of the fact that Khilafat was not their right and we can claim it and get it.
- They were cognizant of traditions which predicted the end of their rulership at the hands of Qaem, who will be from us.
They undoubtedly believed themselves to be the aggressors. Due to this they desired to kill us and put an end to the matter But Allah did not allow them to carry on their evil desire, and perfected his light. Even though the polytheists might be averse to it.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) is reported to have said that there is no miracle of Prophet (sawa) which Allah will not manifest at hands of our Qaem, thus concluding the argument and proof on people.
Holy Prophet (sawa) said, Ten signs will certainly appear before the day of judgment and they are Sufyani, Dajjal, Smoke. Dabbatul Arz (the one who will walk on earth), Reappearance of Qaem, Rising of Sun from west, Descent of Isa, submergence of land in east Azerbaijan peninsula, blazing fire from land of Eden, rush of people toward resurrection.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) cautioned his followers thus, Seek refuge in Allah from the evil of Sufyani, Dajjal and other mischiefs. He was asked O Son of Prophet (sawa)! We know Dajjal in light of your traditions but who is this Sufyani and other corruptions and who is going to spread these?
Imam replied, From the barren lands of a person from the progeny of Uthman bin Abu Sufyan will rise in cover of piety.He will claim caliphate and will receive pledge of allegiance from people, followed by Ulama who were hiding the truth and will declare him as the best person on face of earth.
Appearance of both Sufyani and that of people with white flags i.e. Yemani will take place in the same year and month. Sufyani will rule for 20 years.
It is reported from Imam (as) that Khurasani, Sufyani and Yemani will appear in same year and month, but none will be more near the truth than Yamani, as he shall he guided towards truth.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) said: Our Qaem will gain upper hand through his personality and he will be helped by Allah. The earth will contract for him and will reveal all her treasures at his disposal. Allah will make His religion triumph over all other religions, at his hands, even though the polytheists might be averse to it. His empire will extend from East to West and will civilize all the destroyed nations, Hazrat Isa (as), the spirit of Allah will descend and pray behind him. One person asked Imam about the time of his reappearance. To this, Imam (as) narrated the signs of reappearance thus: The time when men will resemble women and women will resemble men, increase in homosexuals and lesbians, women will drive the vehicles, wrong testimonies will be accepted and justice thrown aside, people will consider murder, fornication, bribe and usury as something usual, pious ones will be subjugated by evil ones, Sufyani will rise from Syria and Yemani from Yemen. Earth will be submerged at a place called Bayza. A person from progeny of Holy Prophet (sawa), whose name will be Ahmed bin Hasan alias Nafse Zakiyyah will be martyred between Hajre Aswad and Maqame Ibrahim. A voice will come from the sky stating that truth is with Ali and his Shiahs. When Imam will reappear his back will be towards Kabah and will be accompanied by 313 followers, commencing the crusade against injustice with the ayat of Quran – “The remnant of Allah (Baqiyyatullah), is good for you if you are amongst the believers.” (Chapter 11 verse 86)
Afterwards, he will proclaim that he is last Proof of Allah upon them and His Caliph in their midst. People will salute him thus. Peace be upon you, O Remnant of Allah in this earth.
When 4,000 people shall gather around him he will march from Mecca and prohibit worship of any other God except Allah. This will occur after a long occultation. Same tradition is also narrated from Imam Mohammed Baqir (as).
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) said: Some people will disappear from their beds. Their numbers will be 313 as that of people of Badr and will reach Makkah at dawn. This is about the saying of Allah, “Wherever you are Allah will bring you out.” (Chapter 2 verse 148)
And they shall be the companions of Imam Mahdi (as).
One person asked Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) about the time of reappearance of Imam Mahdi. Imam (as) replied. The time when deviation will increase and guidance will decrease, corruption and mischief will rise, religious reformation will virtually disappear. homosexuals and lesbians will stalk the earth. Fuqaha (Jurist) will be inclined towards the allurement of worldly desires, rich will acquire honour with help of poets and poetries, some will become monkeys and pigs. Sufyani will be killed and Dajjal will take a lead in increasing the deviation of people. On 23rd Ramazan a voice will echo from sky with the name of Qaem. He will reappear on the day of Ashura (10th Moharram). As if I am visualizing him standing between Hajare Aswad and Maqame Ibrahim. Jibrael will stand in front of him and will proclaim that allegiance is only for Allah. Heeding this people will come towards him.
May Allah include us among those who pay allegiance to him and obey him. Aameen!
Read More on Books on Imam Mahdi (as)
- Has The Mahdi Been Discussed in Traditions?
- An Introduction to Beharul Anwar
- An Introduction to Kitabul Ghaybah by Nomani
- An Introduction to Kitab Al-Ghaybah by Shaykh Toosi (ar)
- An Introduction to Kamaluddin Wa Tamamun Nemah
- An Introduction to Muntakhabul Asar
- An Introduction to Yanabiul Mawaddah
- Books about Imam Mahdi (as) written by scholars of Ahle Sunnah
- Traditions From Al Bayan Fee Akhbaris Sahebaz Zaman