Birth and Imamate
The promised Mahdi, who is usually mentioned by his title of Imam-i 'Asr
(the Imam of the "Period") and Sahib al-Zaman (the Lord of the
Age), is the son of the eleventh Imam. His name is the same as that of
the Holy Prophet. He was born in Samarrah in 256/868 and until 260/872
when his father was martyred, lived under his father's care and guidance.
Sayyida Hakima who was the sister of the 10th Imam (Imam Mohammad Taqi(a.s.))
relates that she went to her nephew's (11th Imam - Imam Hasan Askari(a.s.))
house for iftaar on the 14th of Sha'ban 255 A.H.The 11th Imam asked her
to stay as his son was to be born soon. There was no sign of pregnancy
on Sayyida Narjis. The 11th Imam asked her to recite Suratul Qadr on Sayyida
Narjis. At the time of Fajr on 15th Sha'ban Sayyida Hakima heard the Sura
being recited from the womb of Sayyida Narjis. The 11th imam told her
that the birth would occur very soon.
As soon as the 12th Imam was born he did sijda and proclaimed the oneness
of Allah and the Prophet hood of the Prophet (S.A.W.)
He also recited the 5th aya of Suratul-Qasas
"And We intend to bestow (Our) favours upon those who are weak in
the land and make them the Imams (leaders) and make them the heirs".
On his right hand was written the 82nd aya of Suratu Bani Israel
"The truth has come and falsehood has vanished; Indeed falsehood
(is a thing by nature) vanishing". The 11th Imam only told a handful
of his most trusted believers of the birth of his son and to a few of
his household slaves.
One of the women slaves called Naseema relates that when she went to
see the baby Imam in his cradle she greeted him with salaam and was replied
to. She then sneezed and the Imam said: "Yarhamukallah - it is a
blessing from Allah and you have 3 days immunity from death".
The last Imam(a.s.) was hidden from public view and only a few of the
elite among the Shi'ah were able to meet him. After the martyrdom of his
father he became Imam and by Divine Command went into occultation (ghaybat).
Thereafter he appeared only to his deputies (na'ib) and even then only
in exceptional circumstances.
Ghaibat (occultation) of the last Imam (a.s.)
The Imam's ghaibat (occultation) was in two phase - Ghaibat-e-Sughra
(minor occultation) was for about 69 years - 260 A.H. (872 A.D.) to 329
A.H. (939 A.D.) and the Ghaibat-e-Kubra (greater occultation) started
in 329 A.H. (939 A.D.)and will continue until Allah(swt) so wills.
the 6th Imam, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) states the reason of the ghaibat as
prevention against being killed.
Ishaq bin Yaqub (on authority from 12th Imam) says that all the Imams
were under oppressive rulers. Our 12th Imam is hidden in order to rise
in arms with obedience to no one.
Muhammad Yaqub Al-Kulayni has said that ghaibat is a test from Allah to
test the steadfastness of belief in Imam.
If he is to remain in Ghaibat, what is the use of his existence?
Belief creates hope giving strength to the oppressed.
It is a deterrent for the committing of injustice as one is always aware
of the constant presence of the Imam.
Why insist on 12? Why Imamat not continued and last Imam near Quiyama
to do 12th Imam's work?
For one who is to cleanse the earth of all wrong and injustice is necessary
for him to be born near early Islam and carry pure and pristine Islamic
ideas. It is necessary to look from his vantage point at all the upheavals
in the world. Personal experience of the past will make him fearless of
the seemingly invincible superpowers no matter how strong they are.
To make the Shias used to approaching scholars instead of Imam himself.
It started during the time of the 10th Imam who was under almost constant
house arrest in Samarra and continuing through
GHAIBAT-E-SUGHRA (160 A.H. to 329 A.H.)
During Ghaibut-us-Sughra, the Imam(a.s.) appointed four deputies/representatives
to represent him among the people. After the death of the fourth deputy,
the Imam(a.s.) went into Ghaibut-e-Kubra (major occultation). This was
on the 10th Shawal 329 A.H. The 4 representatives were :
1. Uthman bin Saeed (A.R.)
It is said that at the age of 11 years he was a servant in the house of
the 9th Imam later to enjoy the confidence of Imam. He occupied the same
position of trust with the 10th and 11th Imam who told their Shias that
after him they would not see the 12th Imam and would have to obey Uthman.
After the 11th Imam's martyrdom Uthman moved to Baghdad and disguised
as a butter seller he set up the collection of khums for Imam. He served
the 12th Imam for 18 months and received a letter near his death from
Imam(a.s.) telling him to appoint his son Mohammed as the next representative.
2. Muhammad bin Uthman (A.R.)
He continued in his fathers footsteps also acting as a butter seller.
He managed to keep Imam's existence a secret from the Abbasids until the
early years of the reign of Al-Mutadid. The rulers then started searching
hard for Imam and killed countless mu'mineen with even the slightest resemblance
to Imam. Spies were set up to probe the khums network. Imam issued an
order for Shias not to take his name nor show mas'ala of khums to anyone
until absolutely sure of them. As instructed by Imam he appointed Husayn
bin Rawh as the next representative after his death in 305 A.H.
3. Husayn bin Rawh (A.R.)
His kuniyya was Abul Qasim. His sociable nature won him respect even from
the Ahlul-Sunnah. He managed to keep his activities a secret from the
rulers whilst maintaining good relations with them. It is to him that
we address the 'ariza' to be delivered to Imam. He served faithfully until
he died in Sha'ban 326 a.h. revealing the appointment of Ali bin Muhammad
Samry after him.
4. Ali bin Muhammad Samry (A.R.)
He served for only three years. A week before his death he received a
letter from the Imam(a.s.) telling him of his forthcoming death and that
there would be no representative after him and that Imam(a.s.) was now
going into Ghaibat-e-Kubra (major occultation). Imam(a.s.) would then
appear when Allah(swt) wills it. Ali bin Muhammad Samry(a.r.) died on
15th Sha'ban 329 A.H.
GHAIBAT E KUBRA (329 A.H. to present)
Imam's ghaibat is described by the Aimma like that of Prophet Yusuf (A.S.)
who was amongst his brothers yet they did not recognise him.
Imam is known to meet a believer on 3 occasions:
1. At the time of trouble.
2. He is present at every Hajj.
3. He attends the funeral of every believer who has no religious obligations
pending on him/her e.g. Khums.
During this time he continues to guide. Numerous letters have been received
from him by (to quote a few) Ishaq bin Yaqub, Sheikh Mufeed...
. It is reported that 30 people all over the world meet with him regularly.
It is also reported that Jaziratul Khadra (green islands or Bermuda Triangle)
is a vast land in Imam's kingdom occupied by a large number of Shia and
governed by Imam's family.
Responsibilities During Ghaibat e Kubra
Pray for the safety of Imam(a.s.) at all time.
Be in waiting for Imam(a.s.) at all times.
Give Sadaqa for Imam(a.s.).
Pray for his re-appearance.
Whenever faced with difficulty (whether small or big) ask for assistance
Whenever his name is heard or recited, one should stand if possible, send
salaams on him, put hand on head and bow.
If possible perform Hajj/Umra for Imam(a.s.). (Hajj-After own Wajibat)
RE-APPEARANCE OF IMAM AL MAHDI (A.S.)
" The actual time of appearance is only known by Allah"
However various indications have been given by our Aimma.
- It will be the day of Friday.
- It will be the 10th of Muharram.
- The century will be an odd number.
- There will be both a solar and lunar eclipse in the month of Ramadhan
but contrary to all norms and calculations.
- A voice will be heard announcing the appearance of Imam which will
be heard by all in their own language.
- Imam Ali (a.s.) related to Sa'sa bin Sawhaan: The 12th Imam will appear
There will be a loud noise from the sky with which the eardrums will pierce.
- Nasibayn (Iraq) will burn on all four sides.
- Basra will be abandoned.
- Turkey will be ruled by Usmanis.
- People will usurp that which they are trusted with.
- People will 'kill' Salaa. (It will not be abandoned but its essence
- People will carry music in their pockets.
- The 5th , 6th and 7th Imams have said:
"A great man from the people of Qum will rise up and take a stand.
He will invite people will invite people towards the truth. Brave people
like strong mountains, not fearing fighting and having trust in Allah
will come to his help.......... Finally the enemy of Islam will withdraw..............
The rule of Islamic Law will be established by the people themselves".
"Kufa will become barren of Islamic knowledge........... whilst
Qum will become the centre of Islamic Fiqh............ so much so that
it will spread throughout the world that not a single person will remain
ignorant of the message of Islam".
"These people will be the vicegerents of the 12th Imam. Their rule
will continue and link with the appearance of the 12th Imam. They will
not entrust the rule established by them to any but Imam on his reappearance".
- Imam Ali (a.s.) took Kumayl bin Ziyad to the outskirts of Kufa and
showed him where he was to be buried. He then told him that all round
his grave there would be tall buildings carrying the sign of Shaitan on
them. The sign would be called Antennae.
- Sufyani will appear. He will be a Jew but make himself apparent as
a Muslim. He will be supported fully by the Christian governments and
his mission will be to destroy Shias. He will offer booty to anyone who
kills a Shia. The result will be such that even neighbours who have lived
as brothers for years will kill Shias for money. He will be finally killed
by Prophet Isa (A.S.)
- Imam will appear in Makka and his 'zahoor' will be in two stages (similar
to Prophet hood of the Prophet).
This will be in secret and not announced to all (only to close followers).
Open announcement on the 10th of Muharram (Ashura).
- In the Zil-Hajjah of the preceding to Imam's appearance on Ashura,
40 momineen who will be Imam's closest companions will realise the nearness
of 'zahoor' and go for Hajj. They will not return home and on the 15th
of Zil-Hijjah they will go to the Ka'ba and cry a lot.
- One of them will be called by Imam(a.s.), introduced and told to be
the representative of the 40. They will all meet Imam(a.s.) between the
16th and 22nd of Zil-Hijjah. Imam will tell them that one of them will
have to announce the arrival of Imam(a.s.) at the door of the Ka'ba but
whosoever would do this would be killed immediately.
- On the 25th Zil-Hijjah the announcement will be made and the announcer
killed (This is the blood of Nafse Zakiyya - pure soul, those whose blood
will touch the Ka'ba and who is mentioned in numerous prophecies).
His blood will be avenged 2 weeks later when Imam(a.s.) will appear himself
at the Ka'ba.
- Those who answer the first call will be 313 in number.
- Imam's army will consist of 10.000 momineen.
- Imam will establish his government in Kufa and his treasury in Masjidus
Additional notes on the re-appearance of Imam(a.s.).
In Sheikh Tusi's 'Ghaybat', Abu Baseer quoted Imam Ja'fer As-Sadiq (A.S.)
"The call in the name of QAIM (i.e. Imam Al Mahdi (a.s.) ) will be
made in the night of the 23rd Ramadhan and he will make his appearance
on the day of Ashura, the day of Imam Hussain's (a.s.) martyrdom".
Sheikh Sudooq in his book Kamaaluddin relates from Zararah that Imam
Jafer as-Sadiq(a.s.) said "The announcer will call the name of the
Qaim(a.s.)". I asked whether this call is for a particular group
or if it is meant for everyone, Imam Jafer Sadiq(a.s.) said:
"Shaitan will not leave the people alone. He will call late in the
night and will plunge people into doubt".
In the 13th volume of Bihar-ul-Anwar, Imam Al-Baqir(a.s.) is quoted as
saying that "The Qaim (Imam Al-Mahdi(a.s.)) will send one of his
companions to Makka and will ask him to inform them that I'm sent by so-and-so
to you and that we are the merciful Ahlul-Bayt and the Store-house of
'Risalat' (religious guidance) and 'Khilafat' and we are the progeny of
Muhammad(pbuh&hf) and from the time that the Prophet of Islam(pbuh&hf)
left this world until now, we've been oppressed and deprived and our rights
have been usurped. So we call you to befriend us. When that young man
will utter these words, he will be caught and beheaded between 'Rukn'
and 'madam' (in Masjidul Haram) and this young man is the 'Nafse Zaki'..........
And between the death of the 'Nafse Zaki' and the re-appearance of Imam
Al-Mahdi (A.S.) there will not be a gap of fifteen nights".
Other signs heralding the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a.s)
Prophet Muhammed (saws) has said:
"Even if the entire duration of the worlds existence has already
been exhausted and only one day is left before Doomsday, Allah will expand that
day to such length of time as to accommodate the kingdom of a person from my
Ahlul-Bayt who will be called by name. He will fill out the earth with and justice
as it will have been full of injustice and tyranny (by then)"
From this Hadith, it is clear to every Muslim that the twelfth Imam will reappear
when this world is full of sins and injustice.
There are many signs mentioned by the Masumeen (a.s) on the reappearance of
the 12th Imam. It is reported in Biharul Anwar that after the last pilgrimage
the Prophet made, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) stood near the Kaaba, and called
his people to listen to him. The Prophet said: listen to me carefully
so that you transmit these words of mine to those who are absent today.
The Prophet began, My people, a time will come when kings and rulers will
be tyrannical. The Prophet also said that the payment of Zakat will be
According to the Masumeen(a.s), Muslim countries will seek aid from non Muslim
countries. This is already evident in a number of Muslim countries. Another
prediction that is come true is that 60 impostors will claim to be Prophets.
By their attractiveness, their persuasion, and their personality, they
will misguide the people. 58 false Prophets have already emerged since
the days of the Prophet (s.a.w.). We have only two more to witness.
It is reported in Qayamat-e-Sughra citing Oqdatud-Durr that Hazrat
Amir(a.s) has said that the Mahdi will not appear until one-third of the
world population will die by being killed and one-third will die as a
result of epidemics.
The Last Signs Heralding the Appearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a.s)
There is a Hadith from Imam Muhammed Baqir (a.s) that for three or seven consecutive
days, one will see reddish yellow fire raging in the East.
Sufiani will emerge in Palestine, where he will start a revolt in the month
of Rajab. 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.
Sufiani will conquer Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and Syria. Sufiani 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. Imam
Ali (a.s) has said that Sufianis hatred of the devotees of the Ahlul-Bait
will be such that any person named Ali, Fatema, Hassan, Hussein, Zainab, Ruquaiya
will be arrested and beheaded straight away without further investigations.
Sufiani will rip the Mimber of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). The holy house of
the Prophet which contains his grave will be pulled and used as a stable. Horses
will be tied in that Holy place.
Sufiani will then decide to attack Makka. His purpose would be to demolish
the Holy Kaaba and kill the entire population of Makka. Sufianis army
will set out via Baghdad but, as Allah would have it, when they get between
Medina and Makka, in the desert of Baida, suddenly one night they will hear
a voice from the sky which will say, O Baida eat up the entire army of
Sufiani. 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
al-Mahdi (a.s) will already have reappeared in Makka. The Imam will establish
his authority in the Holy Mosque at Makka in the Haram. The angel will then
order one of them calling him Bashir. O Bashir, go straight to Makka,
into the Haram and inform the Imam that Sufianis army has been swallowed
up by the land. The other called Nazir will be ordered to go to Sufiani and
tell him that the Imam has already appeared. He should proceed straight to Makka
and declare allegiance to him.
Sufiani will prepare to attack the Imam but will not have enough courage. The
Imam will catch Sufiani in Jerusalem and will kill him.
Imam Ali (a.s) has said that nine definite signs will precede the emergence
of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s). These nine signs are:
- Dajaal will emerge.
- A loud voice will be heard from the sky.
- Sufiani will appear and wage a fierce war.
- The army of Sufiani will be swallowed by a sudden opening of the land between
- Makka and Medina in the desert of Baida.
- A revered wise saint will be murdered in Makka. (This saint is to be a Hashimite
- A Seyyid descendant of Imam Hassan (a.s) will emerge with his army.
- The army of Seyyid-e-Hassan and an image of a man will appear in the sky opposite
- There will be two eclipses in the holy month of Ramadhan contrary to the normal
order and calculation and the eclipse of the moon.
- On three occasions a loud voice from the sky will be heard in the holy month
Other Prophets(pbut) will join the Imam(a.s.)
Hazrat Isa, Hazrat Khizr, Hazrat Ilias, and Hazrat Idris(pbut) will give
allegiance to the Imam(a.s.) when he reapers. Also Hazrat Jibrael(a.s.)
will announce 313 companions of the Imam(a.s.). These 313 companions will
be people of eminent piety, great knowledge and absolutely steadfast in
their determination and faith towards the Imam(a.s.). Another 1000 people
will be in the army of the Imam(a.s.). These people will fight battles
and kill enemies like Dajjal, who will appear from India. Dajjal will
have the musical tunes with him. Then the Imam(a.s.) will lead the prayers,
Hazrat Isa(pbuh) will be behind him.
Lets us all pray for the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi(a.s).