The Mahdi (مهدي transliteration: Mahdī, also Mehdi; “Guided One”) is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on earth seven, nine, or nineteen years (depending on the interpretation) before the coming of the day, Yaum al-Qiyamah (literally “Day of the Resurrection” or “Day of the Standing”). Muslims believe the Mahdi will restore righteousness and change the world into a perfect and just Islamic society alongside Jesus. The concept of Mahdi is not explicitly mentioned in the Qu’ran, but there are many hadith (traditional sayings of Muhammad ﷺ) on the Mahdi.
The concept of Mahdi
The advent of Mahdi is not a universally accepted concept in Islam and among those that accept the Mahdi there are basic differences among different sects of Muslims about the timing and nature of his advent and guidance. The idea of the Mahdi has been described as important to Sufi Muslims and a “powerful and central religious idea” for Shia Muslims who believe in Muhammad ﷺ al-Mahdi. However, among Sunni, it “never became a formal doctrine” and is neither endorsed, nor condemned “by the consensus of Sunni Ulama.” It has “gained a strong hold on the imagination of many ordinary” self-described orthodox Sunni though, thanks to Sufi preaching.Another source distinguishes between Sunni and Shia beliefs on the Mahdi saying the Sunni believe the Mahdi will be a descendant of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ named Muhammad ﷺ who will revive the faith, but not necessarily be connected with the end of the world, Jesus or perfection.
Abdullah-bin-Masood has reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “The world will not pass away before the Arabs are ruled by a man (referring to Mahdi) of my family whose name will be the same as mine.”
False Claims Of Being The Mahdi
Many people in the past falsely claimed to be Imaam Mahdi. One of these false claimants was Mohd-bin-Tomart, a tyrant who spread corruption and even buried some of his companions because they didn’t believe that he was the Mahdi described by the Ahadith of Prophet .
Some believe it was Mohd-bin-al Askari who disappeared at the age of 5 and went into hiding and has been hiding for 10 centuries. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (The Cursed) was also one of those who claimed to be the Mahdi as well as many other people. Besides those mentioned there were many others who claimed the office of Mahdi, the most recent being someone from Manchester who claimed the position for himself.
It should be noted that none of the above or anybody else who claimed to be the Mahdi in the past fulfilled the conditions laid down by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ .
Signs That Will Precede The Mahdi
1. General Signs
There are many signs that will precede the Mahdi
A general and very important sign is that he will come at a time when there is great confusion, intense disputes and violent death. When people are afflicted by disturbances and fear. Calamities will fall upon the people, so much so that a man shall not find shelter to shelter him from oppression. There will be many battles and fitnaas before his appearance. Every time a fitnaa has come to an end, another will start, spread and intensify. The people will be troubled to such extent that they will long for death.
It is then that Imaam Mahdi will be sent.
Abu Saeed al-Khudri has reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: ”He will be sent at a time of intense disputes and differences among people and earthquakes.”
2. The Double Eclipse In Ramadan
This is a statement quoted from Darequtni but it is NOT verified, indeed it’s authenticity is questionable. It is NOT to be considered as authentic Hadith.
3. The Battle In Mina
Before Imaam Mahdi emerges an inter-tribal fight will take place. In the same year Hajj will be looted and a battle will erupt in Mina in which many people will be killed.
Amr-bin-Shuaib reported from his grandfather that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, ”In Dhul-Qada (Islamic month) the tribes will fight, Hajis will be looted and there will be a battle in Mina in which many people will be slain and blood will flow until it runs over the Jamara-tul-aqba. Their companions (referring to Imaam Mahdi) will flee to a point between the Corner and the Maqaam and will be forced to accept people’s allegiance.”
4. The Euphrates Will Disclose a Mountain Of Gold
The final hour will not come until the river Euphrates (which flows through Syria and Iraq and finally opens in the Gulf) will disclose a mountain of gold over which people will fight and die. It should be noted that this is a sign, which will precede Imaam Mahdi only according to some Ulama.
The Messenger of Allah said, ”The hour shall not occur until the Euphrates will disclose a mountain of gold over which people will fight . Ninety- nine out of which hundred shall be killed and every one of them will say’ Perchance I shall be the one to succeed. ”
Muslim, Narrated by Abu Huraira
In another narration we have been told that whoever is present at the time when the Euphrates discloses a mountain of gold should not take the gold.
5. Emergence Of The Suffyani
The Suffyani (a descendant of Abu Sufyan) will emerge before Imam Mahdi from the depths of Damascus. According to some weak narration his name will be Urwa bin Muhammed and his Kuniya ‘Abu-Utba’. The Ahadith regarding the Suffyani specify that he is a tyrant who will spread corruption and mischief on the earth before Imam Mahdi. He will be such a tyrant that he will kill the children and rip open the bellies of women. When he hears about the Mahdi, he will send an army to seize and kill him. However the Earth will swallow this army before it even reaches Imam Mahdi.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, ”A man will emerge from the depth of Damascus. He will be called Suffyani. Most of those who follow him will be from the tribe of Kalb. He will kill by ripping the stomachs of women and even kill the children. A man from my family will appear in Haram, the news of his advent will reach the Suffyani and he will send forth one of his armies. He (referring to Imam Mahdi) will defeat them. They will then travel with whoever remains until they come to a desert and they will be swallowed . None will be saved except the one who had informed the others about them. ‘
Mustadarak, Narrated by Abu Huraira
6. The Emergence Of Haris-Al-Harrath And Mansur
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, ”There will be a man from Transoxania who will be called Harith-Harrath and a man called Mansur will be at his vanguard. He will give abode to the family of Mohammad (referring to Imam Mahdi) just as the Quraish gave abode to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Mishkat, Narrated by Hazrat Ali
7. An Army Will Perish In Baidah
Once he has appeared an army that has come to fight him will perish in Baidah (a flat piece of land next to Madinah facing the direction of Mecca).
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said ”There shall be differences and intense dispute at the time of the death of a Khalifh. Then a man from the inhabitants of Madinah (referring to Imam Mahdi) will come out of the flee to Mecca (so that he does not get caught in the dispute and is not made the Khalifh). Some Makkans will come to him and take him out though he will be unwilling. They will then make him accept their Bayat between the Black Stone and the place of Ibrahim . An army will then be sent to fight him from Syria , however it will perish in Baidah, between Mecca and Madinah. When the people see and hear about this event ,the awliya (God fearing people) of Syria and Iraq will make Bayat with him.”
Abu Daud, Narrated by Umme-Salama
8. A Star With A Luminous Tail Will Rise From The East Before His Emergence. (Al-Iza’ah).
9. A Voice In Ramadan Will Awaken Sleeps And Alarm Those That Are Awake (Ibid)
10. The Emergence Of Al-A’hraj Al-Kindi, Abqa And Ashab Before Imam Mahdi (Ibid)
11.The Earth Will Swallow A Village Near Damascus (Ibid)
12. An Army With Black Banners Will Come From The East (Ibid)
Characteristics Of Imaam Mahdi
He will be from the progeny of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and descendent of Fatimah
Umme Salama (R.A) reported: I heard Prophet Muhammad ﷺ of Allah saying, “The Mahdi will appear from my progeny, from the descendants of Fatimah.” (Abu Daud)
His name will be Muhammad ﷺ or Ahmad and his father’s name will be Abdullah
Ibne Masood reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “If there remains in the world but a day, the mighty Allah will greatly prolong that day till he will send there in a man from me or from the members of my house. His name will be similar to my name and his father’s name to my father’s name.” (Abu Daud)
He will resemble Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in character
Hadrat Ali (R.A) once looked at his son and remarked, “This son of mine is Saiyid who was named by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and soon from his loins will come forth a man by the name of your Prophet and who will resemble him in conduct but not in appearance.” (Abu Daud)
He will have a shiny forehead and a high bridge nose
Abu Saeed reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The Mahdi will appear from me, shining of forehead, long of nose.” (Abu Daud).
Once Hadrat Ali (R.A) was asked regarding his description. He replied, “He is a well built youth of average height and a handsome face, his hair reaches his shoulders and the light of his face is contrasted by the darkness of his hair and beard.” (Al-Isha’ah)
He will be slow of speech with a slight stutter
“…and when he is delayed, he will strike his left thigh with his right hand.” (Al-Isha’ah)
He will appear from the east.
Thawban (R.A) reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Three men will be killed at the place where your treasure is. Each of them will be the son of a Khalifah but none of them will get hold of the treasure. Then the black banners will come out of the east, and they will slaughter you in a way that has never been seen before. If you see him give him your allegiance, even if you have to crawl over ice, because he is the Khalifah of Allah, the Mahdi.” (Ibne Majah)
Only some of the signs that will precede Imaam Mahdi and of the Mahdi himself have been gathered in this book. The true Mahdi, the one referred to in the Ahadith of Prophet as one of the signs of Qiyamah, is the one in whom the pre-mentioned signs are found.
His Emergence And The People’s Bayat
After the death of a Caliph there shall be intense dispute and difference of opinion in whom should become the next Caliph. Fearing he may get caught up in the dispute and made the Caliph, Imaam Mahdi will flee from Madinah to Mecca. However, to his surprise on reaching Mecca, some Makkans will bring him out of his house against his will and take him to Masjid Haraam and 313 as has been mentioned in the hadith reported by Imam Hakim in Al-Mustadrak will force him to accept their Bayat between the Rukn (corner of the Ka’aba containing the black stone) and the place of Ibrahim.
The news of his allegiance will quickly spread and thus an army from Syria will be sent to fight him. However no harm will come to Imaam Mahdi nor his followers who will be supported by Allah. The earth will swallow up this army before it can get near to the Imaam in a place called Baidah (a flat piece of land between Mecca and Madinah). After seeing and hearing about this extraordinary event and sign, the Awliya (pious saints) of Syria and Iraq will come to Imaam Mahdi and swear allegiance to him between the black stone and the Maqam (the place of Ibrahim which is near the Ka’aba). (The above content can be found in the Hadith of Umme Salama/Abu Daud)
The First Battle
His first battle will be against the tribe of Kalb. A short period after the eminent saints of Syria and Iraq have sworn allegiance; a man from the Quraish will rise whose maternal uncle’s belong to the Kalb tribe and he will send an army to fight Imaam Mahdi. However this army will be overcome and defeated. This will be his first victory.
The Great War
(The author of al-Isha’ah has mentioned that this battle will take place in Imam Mahdi’s time).
Imam Mahdi will have to fight many battles, the most important and difficult being the battle against the Christians in which a large number of Muslims will be martyred.
‘ Yusayr bin Jabir said, “A red sandstorm erupted in the city of Kufah. Afterwards, a man came shouting and repeating the same words, ‘O Abdullah bin Mas’ud! The hour has come.’ He (Yusayr) then said that he sat up after he was leaning (on his side) and said, ”The hour will not arrive until no inheritance will be divided and no war possessions will bring about satisfaction. ”He pointed with his hands towards Ash-Sham saying, ”An enemy will gather its forces against the followers of Islam.”I said, ”Do you mean Ar-Rum?” He said ”Yes.”Then, during this war, fierce fighting will occur. Muslim will ask for a volunteer expedition that will vie to die or return victorious. They will fight until the night separates them. Both sides will return to their camps not yet victorious and the expedition will perish.
Muslims will then (in the third day) ask for volunteer expedition that will vie to die or return victorious. They will fight until the night separates them. Both sides will return to their camp not yet victorious and the expedition will perish. In the fourth day, the rest of the Muslim forces will turn against them (the disbelieves) and Allah will defeat them (the disbelieves). They will suffer casualties never heard of before or he said, ”Never seen before, even birds flying near them will not pass without falling down dead.
Afterwards, sons of the same fathers (from the Muslim side), who were near a hundred, will count the survivors and will find out only one of them survived. Therefore, what war possession will bring satisfaction and what inheritance will be divided? While they are doing this they will hear of an even bigger calamity; That is, a man will scream amongst them that the Dajjal has appeared among their families which they left behind. They will discard what they have in their hands and proceed. They will send ten horsemen as an expedition force.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, ”I know their names and their fathers name and the colours of their horses. They will be the best horsemen on the face of Earth, ”or (he said) ”(They) Will be amongst the best horsemen on the face of Earth.’
The cause of this great battle will be the Christians. The Christians and Muslims as allies will conquer a third enemy. However, the Christians will act treacherously as they will claim the victory on the strength of their religion, thus the Muslims will be driven to arms and will fight them.
Dhu Makhbar said, ”I heard the Apostle of Allah ( ) say, ”You will make a secure peace with the Byzantines, then you will fight an enemy behind you, and you will be victorious, take the boot, and be safe you will the return and alight in a meadow with mounds and one of the Christians will raise the cross and say, ‘The cross has conquered’. One of the Muslims will become angry and smash it, and the Byzantines will act treacherously and prepare for battle.”’
Conquest Of Constantinople
The great war between the Christians and Muslims will result in the Muslims conquering Constantinople (which is modern day Istanbul) without army by the sheer force of Takbeer (Allahu Akbar).
Abu Hurairah reports that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, ”Have you heard of a town of which a part is in the sea?”
”Yes” said they. He said: ‘The last hour shall not occur till 70,000 of the children of Isaac shall attack it. When they come to it, they (Muslims) will not fight with arms, nor throw arrows. They will only say: There is no god but Allah, Allah is the greatest, and then on of its sides will fall down. They will recite for the second time : there is no god but Allah, Allah is the greatest, and then another of its side will fall down. After that they will say it for the third time: there is no god but Allah and Allah is the greatest, and then it will be opened for them and they will enter and acquire booty. While they will be dividing the booty, a proclaimer will come to them and proclaim: ‘Verily Dajjal has come out. ‘Then they will leave everything and return. ‘
It should be noted that the conquests will take place during a very short period.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has said: ‘Between the Great War and the conquest of the city (Constantinople) there will be six years, and the Dajjal shall appear in the seventh year
Blessings At The Time Of Imam Mahdi
Once again the Quran and Sunnah will govern the people, this time by the rightly guided Caliph, Imam Mahdi. Islam will gain an upper hand and will be firmly established in the land. The oppression, tyranny, and darkness that prevailed all over the globe will be replaced with justice, peace and equity. The smile, which was long forgotten, will be restored on the Muslim faces and the inhabitants of the Heaven and Earth will be pleased with him. Everybody will be happy to the extent that even birds an wild animals will rejoice in his rule. Heaven will end rain profusely, livestock will be in abundance, land will become fertile, the earth will become green and sprout with abundant fruit ad vegetation.
The above content has been taken from various hadith, which can be found in Abu-Daud and from the hadith narrated by Abu-Saeed al-Khudri in Musnad Ahmad.
Due to the loot acquired from the various conquest everyone will have so much wealth that an eyebrow will not even be raised at somebody else’s wealth. Callers will proclaim in the street, ”Is anybody in need of anything?” Nobody will respond except one person.
”A caller will call ‘Who is in need of wealth?’ Only one person will stand (and response to the call and say I am in need of wealth) he will be told to go to the treasurer and tell him that the Mahdi orders you to give some wealth. ‘Gather and take it’, he will be told. (He will begin to put it in his lap, when he realized that nobody else has come and he was the only one) he will regret it and say ‘I was the greediest from among the Ummah of Muhammed . The narrator says, he will return it but it will not be accepted and it will be said to him that we do not accept what we have given.
The above content has been taken from various hadith, which can be found in Abu-Daud and from the hadith narrated by Abu-Saeed al-Khudri in Musnad Ahmad. Ahmad, Narrated by Abu-Saeed al-Khudri
Abu-Saeed al-Khudri has also reported that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said regarding Mahdi; that a man will come to him and say, ‘Give me, give me’. Then he will spread his cloth and put in it as much as he can carry.
His Reign As Caliph and the Arrival of Prophet Essa
There are different narration’s regarding his reign as a Khalifh. Some traditions indicate that is reign will be seven years like the hadith of Umme Salama in Abu-Daud, ”He will remain seven years, then die, and Muslims will pray over him. ” (Abu-Daud)
Other traditions indicate that his reign will last seven, eight or nine years like the Hadith of Abu Saeed in Mustadrak.
Due to different traditions the period of Imaam Mahdi’s reign is disputed. Many Scholars have taken seven years to be the period of his reign due to the fact that the Ahadith which indicate seven years are the most authentic. Other Scholars like Shah Rafiud-din, after careful analysis have concluded that the first seven years if his reign will pass without worry, he will spend the eight preparing to fight the Dajjal and spend the ninth with Prophet Isa (Jesus) . He will thereafter die, Prophet Isa will read his funeral prayer and bury him.