The Holy Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam has prophesied about several events that will occur just before the advent of the day of judgment. Among these, Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam has foretold the advent of one of his descendants, Al Mahdi (the guided one), which will materialize when the believers are severely oppressed in every corner of the world. He will fight the oppressors, unite the Muslims, bring peace and justice to the world, rule over the Arabs, and lead a prayer in Makkah at which Eisa (Jesus) alayhis salaam will be present.
Throughtout the history of Islam, a few individuals -- driven either by the desperate state of Muslims in their community or a selfish pursuit of power and prestige -- laid claim to being Mahdi and found a following among the uninformed masses who were looking for salvation from the heavens. For some of these individuals (like Bab of Iran or Mirza Ghulam of India) the claim to being Mahdi was just a stepping stone to the development of heretic sects which broke away from the fold of Islam.
Thus, it is at least prudent to visit the facts of this prophecy and avoid falling pray to false claimants that will appear from time to time.
As Muslims, we should remember that the prophecy about Mahdi is one
that will come to pass. This prophecy, however, does not absolve the Muslim ummah from its
duty to strive in the cause of Allah, oppose injustice, and seek peace and
betterment of human condition. Centuries have passes from the time of the holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi
wasallam and there is a good
possibility that many more will expire before the advent of Al Mahdi. Muslims who
are negligent in their duty hoping for a savior are committing a grave mistake and are not
following the divine decrees ordained in Qur'aan or taught by Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam .
The following are the collection of Saheeh (authentic) Ahaadith regarding Mahdi.
Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas'ood radhiyallahu anhu reports from the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam , who said:
The world will not come to pass until a man from among my
family, whose name will be my
name, rules over the Arabs.
(Tirmidhi Sahih, Vol. 9, P. 74; Abu Daawood, Sahih, Vol.
5, P. 207; also narrated by Ali ibne Abi Taalib, Abu Sa'eed, Umm-e-Salmah, Abu Hurayrah)
The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
Allah will bring out from concealment al-Mahdi from my family and just before the day of Judgment; even if only one day were to remain in the life of the world, and he will spread on this earth justice and equity and will eradicate tyranny and oppression.
(Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, P. 99)
Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Taalibradhiyallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
Even if only a day remains for Qiyamah to come, yet Allah will surely send a man from my family who will fill this world with such justice and fairness, just as it initially was filled with oppression.
Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Taalibradhiyallahu anhu has related a tradition from the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam who informed him:
The promised Mahdi will be among my family. God will make the provisions for his emergence within a single night.
(Ibne Maajah, Sahih, Vol. 2, P. 519)
Ummul Mu'mineen Hadhrat Umme Salmah radhiyallahu anhaa, Prophet's wife, narrates that she heard the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam say:
The promised Mahdi will be among my progeny, among the descendants of Fatima.
(Abu Dawud, Sahih, Vol. 2, P. 207; Ibn Majah, Sahih, Vol. 2, P. 519)
Rasulullahsallallahu alayhi wasallam announced: The Mahdi will be of my family, of the descendants of Fatima (the Prophet's daughter).
(Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2, Tradition No. 4086)
The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam taught:Al-Mahdi is one of us, the members of the household (Ahlul-Bayt).
(Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2, Tradition No. 4085)
Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri radhiyallahu anhunarrated that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
Our Mahdi will have a broad forehead and a pointed (prominent) nose. He will fill the earth with justice as it is filled with injustice and tyranny. He will rule for seven years.
(Abu Dawood, Sahih, Vol. 2, p. 208; Fusul al-muhimma, p. 275)
Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri radhiyallahu anhurelates that Rasulullahsallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
Al Mahdi will be from my progeny. His forehead will be
broad and his nose will be high. He will fill the world with justice and fairness at a
time when the world will be filled with oppression. He will rule for seven years.
Ummul Mu'mineen Hadhrat Umme Salmah radhiyallahu anhaa narrates that Rasulullahsallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
After the death of a Ruler there will be some dispute between the people. At that time a citizen of Madinah will flee (from Madinah) and go to Makkah. While in Makkah, certain people will approach him between Hajr-ul-Aswad and Maqaam-e-Ibraheem, and forcefully pledge their allegiance to him.
Thereafter a huge army will proceed from Syria to attack him but when they will be at Baida, which is between Makkah and Madinah, they will be swallowed into the ground.
On seeing this, the Abdaals of Shaam as well as large numbers of people from Iraaq will come to him and pledge their allegiance to him. Then a person from the Quraish, whose uncle will be from the Bani Kalb tribe will send an army to attack him, only to be overpowered, by the will of Allah. This (defeated) army will be that of the Bani Kalb. Unfortunate indeed is he who does not receive a share from the booty of the Kalb. This person (Imam Mahdi) will distribute the spoils of war after the battle. He will lead the people according to the Sunnat and during his reign Islam will spread throughout the world. He will remain till seven years (since his emergence). He will pass away and the Muslims will perform his Janazah salaat.
The holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
A group of my Ummah will fight for the truth until near the day of judgment when Jesus, the son of Marry, will descend, and the leader of them will ask him to lead the prayer, but Jesus declines, saying: "No, Verily, among you Allah has made leaders for others and He has bestowed his bounty upon them.
It is reported fromHadhrat Abu Hurayra radhiyallahu anhu that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
What will be your reaction when the son of Mary (Jesus)
descends and your
Imam is from among yourselves?
(Sahih Muslim, bab nuzul 'isa, Vol. 2; Sahih Bukhaari, kitaab bada-al-khalq wa nuzul 'Eisa, Vol. 4)
The holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
What would be your situation if the Son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends upon you and your Imaam is from among you?
(Bukhari, kitabul-Anbiyaa, Chapter Nuzul Eisa bin Maryam)
According to these reliable, authentic, and universally accepted narrations, Mahdi will:
The following narrations have been taken from books on which there is no consensus among Muslim scholars. Their authenticity is in question:
The holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam ) said:
The world will not come to an end until a man from my
family (ahl-al-bayt), who will be called al-Mahdi, emerges to rule
upon my community.
(Bihar al-anwar, Vol. 51, P. 75; Ithbat al-hudat, Vol. 1,
Ummul Mu'mineen Hadhrat Umme Salmah radhiyallahu anhaa , the wife of the Prophet, has related a tradition of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam :
Mahdi will be among my progeny, among the children of Fatima.
(Bihaar al-anwaar, Vol. 51, P. 75)
Rasullullahsallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
The world will not come to an end until a man from the
descendants of Hussain takes charge of the affairs of the world and
fills it with justice and equity as it is filled with injustice and
(Bihaar al-anwaar, Vol. 51, P. 66)
Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri radhiyallahu anhu has related a tradition from the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam who declared:
The earth will be filled with injustice and corruption. At
that time, a man from among my progeny will rise and will rule for
seven or nine years and will fill the earth with justice and equity.
(Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 3, P. 27)
Hadhrat Abu al-Hujaaf radhiyallahu anhu quotes the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam saying three times:
Listen to the good news about the Mahdi! He will rise at
the time when people will be faced with severe conflict and the
earth will be hit by a violent quake. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it is filled with injustice and tyranny. He will fill the
hearts of his followers with devotion and will spread justice
(Bihaar al-anwaar, Vol. 51, P. 74)
Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Taalib radhiyallahu anhu said, I asked the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam :
"Is Mahdi going to be among our own family or from some other?" He replied: "He will be among us. God will conclude His religion through him, just as He began it with us. It will be through us that people will find refuge from sedition, just as it was through us that they were saved from polytheism. Moreover, it will be through us that God will bring their hearts together in brotherhood following the animosity sown by the sedition, just as they were brought together in brotherhood in their religion after the animosity sown by polytheism."
(Bihaar al-anwaar, Vol. 51, P. 84; Ithbaat-ul-hudaat,
Vol. 7, P. 191; Majmaa az-zawaa'id by `Ali ibne Abi Bakr Haythami (Cairo edition), Vol. 7,
I heard the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam ) declare from the pulpit:
The Mahdi from among my descendants, from my family, will
rise at the End of Time, while
the heavens will pour rain and the earth will bring forth green grass for him. He will fill the
earth with justice and equity as it is filled with tyranny and injustice.
(Bihaar al-anwaar, Vol. 51, P. 74; Ithbaat-ul-hudaat,
Vol. 7, P. 9)
Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri radhiyallahu anhu narrated that Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
Severe calamity from the direction of their ruler will befall my people during the Last Days. It will be a calamity which, in severity, shall be unprecedented. It will be so violent that the earth with injustice and corruption will shrivel for its inhabitants. The believers will not find refuge from oppression. At that time God will send a man from my family to fill the earth with justice and equity just as it is filled with injustice and tyranny. The dwellers of the heavens and the earth will be pleased with him. The earth will bring forth all that grows for him, and the heavens will pour down rains in abundance. He will live among the people for seven or nine years. From all the good that God will bestow on the inhabitants of the earth, the dead will wish to come to life again.
(Ibn Hajar, al-Sawa'iq al-muharriqa, P. 161; Yanabi' al-mawadda, Vol. 2, P. 177)
Hadhrat Abu Hurayra radhiyallahu anhunarrated on behalf of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam :
People will pay allegiance to the Mahdi between rukn and
maqam (in Makkah).
(Ibne Taaous, Kitaab al-malaahim wal-fitan, P. 64.)
According to these ahaadith, Mahdi will:
The following are narrations not attribute to the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi
wasallam and only represent
second hand narrations attributed to
companions of the holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam . Thus, they are included only for completeness and are unreliable.
Ammar Yasir has related:
At the time when Nafs al-Zakiyya is killed a caller from
the heaven will say: 'Your commander is so-and-so.' (announce
Mahdi) Following it the Mahdi will emerge and fill the earth with
justice and equity.
(Ibne Taaous, Kitaab al-malaahim wal-fitan, P. 179)
Abdullah ibne Umar mentioned the name of Mahdi in the
presence of an Arab who said: Mahdi is Mu'awiya ibne Abu Sufyaan. Abdullah
said: "It is not as you say. Mahdi is a person
behind whom Jesus will offer his prayers".
(Ibne Taaous, Kitaab al-malaahim wal-fitan, P. 179)
Mujaahid said about Mahdi:
One of the Prophet's companions told me that the Mahdi will not appear until that time when Nafs al-Zakiyya will be killed. At that time he will take the command and will fill the earth with justice and equity.
(Ibne Taaous, Kitab al-malaahim wal-fitan, P. 171)
Nufayl's daughter Umayrah narrates that she heard Hasan bin Ali's daughter saying:
This affair about which you are waiting will not occur until among you some seek to distance themselves from the others and curse each other.
(Majlisi, Bihaar al-anwaar, Vol. 52, P. 211)
Salmah binte Zafaar reports that one day people were
talking about the appearance of the Mahdi in the presence of Hudhayfah.
If Mahdi has indeed appeared while you are living close to the Prophet's period and while his companions are living among you, then you are truly fortunate. However, that is not the case. Mahdi will not appear until people are devoured by oppression and tyranny and there is no one absent more beloved and more needed than him.
(Kitaab al-hawi li al-fataawaa, Vol. 2, P. 159)
These narrations are based on opinion of single individuals and are not reliable. However, they indicate that Mahdi might:
The following narration has not been attributed to the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam . It has been identified as false and has been rejected by Muslim scholars for centuries.
Amr son of Shamer quoted Jabir, who quoted Muhammad bin Ali to have said:
For our Mahdi, there are two signs. Since the birth of Universe, these events have never taken place. Those two signs are that there will be Lunar Eclipse on the first night of Ramadhaan and Solar Eclipse in the middle of Ramadhaan.
(Dar-e-Qatni, Vol. 1, P.188)
This narration is not attributed to holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam , but attributed to Muhammad bin Ali. No other person has substantiated this statement attributed to Muhammad bin Ali.
Muslim scholars have always rejected this and other
narrations of Amr and Jabir, as both have been known to transmit unreliable and forged