Q&A: Imaam Mahdi



Are there any authentically established narrations about when Imaam Mahdi will appear? Some people claim that his appearance is imminent. When will he appear and how will this take place?



There are numerous narrations that discuss the person of Imaam Mahdi (R.A.) and his appearance on the earth. However, the Ahadith do not mention in which century or in which year he will appear. Some narrations do mention some details about the appearance of Imaam Mahdi (R.A.).



In a narration of Sunan Abu Dawood it is narrated from Umme Salma (radhiallahu anha) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Upon the death of a Khalifa there will be much differences and confusion (regarding his successor). A person from the people of Madina will leave and rush over to Makkah. (He will be in reality the Mahdi, though at that time he will not be aware of it. He will leave Madinatul Munawwarah due to fear that he will be made the Khalifa. Thus in an attempt to avoid this he will come over to Makkatul Mukarramah). However, despite his resistance the people will force him to become the Khalifa and they will take the pledge of allegiance (bai’ah) on his hands between the Hajrul Aswad and the Maqaame Ibrahim.”

Thereafter from the land of Shaam (this refers to the Syria of those days that encompassed a much larger area than which it presently comprises of) an army will be dispatched against the newly appointed Khalifa. This army will reach a place known as Baida between Makkah and Madina and here they will be swallowed by the earth. Thus when the people will observe this they will realize that the newly appointed Khalifa is indeed the Mahdi. As a result everybody will flock to take bai’ah at his hands. Imaam Mahdi (R.A.) will then go to battle with the army of Banu Kalb and defeat them.



It is also mentioned in some narrations that the appearance of Imaam Mahdi will be one of the first major signs of Qiyamah. Many of the minor signs of Qiyamah that have been explained in the Ahadith are as apparent as daylight. However, it is impossible to say with absolute certainty when exactly this major sign of the appearance of Imaam Mahdi will occur. This is only known to Allah Ta’ala.

Those aspects about Imaam Mahdi (R.A.) which we should be aware of have been explained in the Ahadith. It was in the wisdom of Allah Ta’ala that the exact time of his appearance be unknown to us. The Ulama have stated: “Leave unknown what Allah and His Messenger have not explained.” From various signs it is clear that the time of his appearance is close. But how close? Only Allah Ta’ala knows. The Qur’an and Hadith have declared that Qiyamah (the last day) is extremely close. Indeed, in the sight of Allah Ta’ala and compared to the time that has already past upon this universe, it is extremely close. But only Allah Ta’ala knows when exactly it will occur. Likewise is the case of Imaam Mahdi. We are indeed not obliged to attempt to unravel what Allah Ta’ala and His beloved Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) have kept secret from us. And Allah Ta’ala knows best.


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