Finding the True Imam al-Mahdi

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SHAFAQNA – By: Sayed Jamaluddin Hejazi
The prescribed system of governance in Islam is the khilafah. It is led by a khalifah – who is also alternatively called an Imam or an amir. He rules for life, and represents Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi, on the earth. He is equally an heir of Prophet Ibrahim al-Khalil from his pure offspring. The khilafah is irrevocable, and shall continue uninterruptable till the Hour.
Allah has stated concerning the khilafah: And when Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with some statements, and he fulfilled them, He said, “I will appoint you an Imam of mankind.” He (Ibrahim) asked, “And of my offspring?” He (Allah) replied, “My Covenant shall not reach the wrongdoers.”
Explaining this ayah, al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774 H) states: Allah the Most High says: {And when Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with some statements, and he fulfilled them, He said, “I will appoint you an Imam of mankind.” He (Ibrahim) asked, “And of my offspring?” He (Allah) replied, “My Covenant shall not reach the wrong-doers.”} When he fulfilled the huge obligations which his Lord commanded him with, he appointed him the Imam of mankind, whom they must follow, and whose guidance they must copy. He requested Allah that this Imamah be connected with his lineage, and be uninterrupted within his offspring, and be perpetual forever among his offspring. So, what he asked WAS GRANTED, and he was granted full authority of Imamah, and the wrong-doers were excluded from its reach, and it was made exclusive to the righteous scholars among his offspring.1
Our Lord made His dear prophet, Ibrahim, ‘alaihi al-salam, a khalifah over all mankind of his time. Ibrahim then made a du’a to him to make it uninterrupted and eternally perpetual within his offspring after him. The supplication was answered, but with a condition: the khilafah would never reach any wrong-doer among his descendants. Prof. Ibn Yasin also records in this regard: Al-Tabari records with his sahih chain from Mujahid that he said: “(My Covenant shall not reach the wrongdoers) There will never be an Imam who does wrong.”2
Of course, every sinner is a wrong-doer: And whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah, then indeed he has wronged himself.3
And: And whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah, then such are the wrongdoers.4
Therefore, the khilafah – which is a Covenant of Allah (and therefore His exclusive affair) – will never reach any sinner. Whosoever claims the Imamah but is a sinner, he is only an impostor.
Interestingly, even though he was the khalifah of the earth, Ibrahim had no political or military power. This is a crucial point about Imamah. Whether the people recognize their khalifah and give him their allegiance or not, he remains the only legitimate Imam on the face of the earth. His authority does not come from the people, nor is he appointed by them. Rather, he holds the “Covenant of Allah” which He bestows upon some of His pure servants from the offspring of Ibrahim.
Some other khalifahs after Ibrahim also lacked political and military power, and were nonetheless the true Imams of mankind: And We bestowed upon him (i.e. Ibrahim) Ishaq and Ya’qub. Each one We made righteous. And We appointed them IMAMS, guiding by Our Command.5
Neither Ishaq nor Ya’qub was ever allowed to rule, even though they were both khalifahs.
In line with the du’a of Ibrahim, which was answered by Allah, the khilafah remains eternally perpetual and uninterruptible within his sinless offspring. Naturally, it exists in our Ummah too, till the Day of al-Qiyamah. However, amongst us, it has been limited to the descendants of Ibrahim from the tribe of Quraysh only, as Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256 H) documents: Abu al-Walid – ‘Asim b. Muhammad – my father – Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both: The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “THIS AUTHORITY shall never cease to be in Quraysh, as long as (at least) two of them are alive.”6
Apparently, the Quraysh – who are in their millions today – will continue to exist in multitudes till the Hour. Therefore, the khilafah will always be in them till the Day of al-Qiyamah. Meanwhile, the nature of “this authority” – the Imamah – is mentioned in this sahih hadith of Imam Ahmad (d. 241 H): ‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Zayd b. al-Hubbab – Mu’awiyah b. Salih – Abu Maryam – Abu Hurayrah: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “THE KINGDOM is in Quraysh.”7
Assessing the sanad, al-Albani (d. 1420 H) says: This chain is sahih.8
Then, he adds: I say: Zayd is thiqah (trustworthy), saduq (very truthful) as stated in al-Mizan, and he has narrated it in a marfu’ manner. It is a ziyadah which must be accepted as it has been repeatedly mentioned in al-Mustalah.9
It is royalty. It is monarchy. It is dynasty. Each khalifah is a king, who is appointed by Allah and awarded His Covenant, from the sinless offspring of Prophet Ibrahim.
We also read this hadith of Imam Ahmad: ‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Yunus b. Muhammad – Hammad b. Zayd – Mujalid – al-Sha’bi – Jabir b. Samurah: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, delivered a sermon to us at ‘Arafat and said, “This affair will never cease to be strong, invincible and victorious over whoever opposes it as long as twelve (people) RULE BY KINGDOM. All of them….”
(Jabir said): I did not understand what was said after that. So, I said to my father, “What did he say after ‘all of them…’?”. He replied, “All of them will be from Quraysh.”10
Al-Arnauṭ says: A sahih hadith11
Of course, these twelve men are the only twelve khalifahs of this Ummah till the end of the world. Imam Muslim (d. 261 H) records in this regard: Qutaybah b. Sa’id and Abu Bakr b. Abi Shaybah – Hatim b. Isma’il – al-Muhajir b. Musmar – ‘Amir b. Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas: I sent a letter to Jabir b. Samurah through my servant, Nafi’, to inform me of something he heard from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. So, he wrote in reply back to me: “I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying on a Friday, on the eve of the stoning of al-Aslami, saying: ‘The religion will never cease to stand until the establishment of the Hour or as long as there are twelve khalifahs over you, all of them from Quraysh.’”12
The hadith is explicit: Islam will remain standing throughout the khilafah of the twelve kings, and this will be until the Day of al-Qiyamah. So, the twelve khalifahs will rule, uninterrupted, till the Hour.
We further read this hadith of Ahmad: ‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – Mumal b. Isma’il – Hammad b. Salamah – Dawud b. Hind – al-Shu’bi – Jabir b. Samurah: I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: “There will be for this Ummah TWELVE KHALIFAHS.”13
Shaykh al-Arnauṭ says: A sahih hadith.14
Therefore, any other khalifah apart from these twelve is NOT “for” this Ummah. He is only an impostor.
Meanwhile, one of these twelve royal khalifahs is our beloved Mahdi. Imam Abu Dawud (d. 275 H) records: Sahl b. Tammam b. Buzay’ – ‘Imran al-Qaṭṭan – Qatadah – Abu Nadhrah – Abu Sa’id al-Khudri: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “The Mahdi is from me, with a broad forehead, a curved nose. He will fill the earth with equity and justice just as it had been filled with oppression and injustice, and he will RULE BY KINGDOM for seven years.”15
Al-Albani says: Hasan.16
Obviously, Imam al-Mahdi is the twelfth and last of these royal khalifahs, since he will rule over the last generation of our Ummah. Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H) documents this relevant hadith: Abu al-‘Abbas Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Mahbubi – Sa’id b. Mas’ud – al-Nadhr b. Shumayl – Sulayman b. ‘Ubayd – Abu al-Siddiq al-Naji – Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “The Mahdi will come out at the END of my Ummah.17
Al-Hakim comments: This hadith has a sahih chain18
Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) agrees: Sahih19
‘Allamah al-Albani also says about the hadith in his Sahihah: I say: This chain is sahih20
Dr. al-Bastawi has the same verdict on it: Its chain is sahih.21
The grand Salafi scholar, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin (d. 1421 H), declares the same thing in his commentary of al-‘Aqidah al-Safariniyyah: His statement (among them): that is, among its signs.
His statement (the Last, Eloquent Imam): that is, from the signs of the Hour is the Imam. “The Imam” (here) refers to the one who leads mankind, not (just) in salat but in government. This Imam will be their supreme Imam, as the khalifah.
He says that he (the Mahdi) is the last, the last of whom? The last of the Imams, because there will be NO Imam after him. As such, he is the LAST of the Imams. His name is Muhammad, and his title is “the Mahdi”, meaning the one who has been guided by Allah the Almighty. This is the Mahdi who will be SENT during the End of Time, when the earth will have been filled with injustice and oppression, and the truth will have been forgotten, and the oppressed will have become a morsel to the oppressor, and chaos will have become widespread. At that period, Allah the Almighty will SEND this man as as a male Imam to reform THE CREATION and to restore the truth.22
He will be sent by Allah to “the creation”, and will be the last of the lines of royal Imams on this earth. These Imams are twelve for this Ummah. So, the Mahdi is the twelfth Imam.
1. Abu al-Fida Isma’il b. Kathir, Qisas al-Anbiya (Dar al-Kutub al-Hadithah; 1st edition, 1388 H) [annotator: Musṭafa ‘Abd al-Wahid], vol. 1, p. 232; Abu al-Fida Isma’il b. Kathir al-Dimashqi, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah (Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1408 H) [annotator: ‘Ali Shiri], vol. 1, p. 191
2. Prof. Dr. Hikmat b. Bashir b. Yasin, Mawsu’at al-Sahih al-Masbur min al-Tafsir bi al-Mathur (Madinah: Dar al-Mathar li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’ wa al-Taba’at; 1st edition, 1420 H), vol. 1, p. 229
3. Qur’an 65:1
4. Qur’an 2:229
5. Qur’an 21:72-73
6. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Isma’il b. Ibrahim b. Mughirah al-Bukhari al-Ju’fi, al-Jami’ al-Sahih al-Mukhtasar (Beirut: Dar Ibn Kathir; 3rd edition, 1407 H) [annotator: Dr. Musṭafa Dib al-Bagha], vol. 3, p. 1290, # 3310 and vol. 6, p. 2612, # 6721
7. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurṭubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnauṭ], vol. 2, p. 364, # 8746
8. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh b. Tajati b. Adam al-Ashqudri al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahihah wa Shayhun min Fiqhihah wa Fawaidihah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma’arif li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 1st edition, 1415 H), vol. 3, p. 72, # 1084
9. Ibid
10. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurṭubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnauṭ], vol. 5, p. 96, # 20944
11. Ibid
12. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Sahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 3, p. 1453, # 1822 (10)
13. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurṭubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnauṭ], vol. 5, p. 106, # 21051
14. Ibid
15. Abu Dawud Sulayman b. al-Ash’ath al-Sijistani al-Azdi, Sunan (Dar al-Fikr) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 2, p. 509, # 4285
16. Ibid
17. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1411 H) [annotator: Mustafa ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Aṭa], vol. 4, p. 601, # 8673
18. Ibid
19. Ibid
20. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh b. Tajati b. Adam al-Ashqudri al-Albani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahihah wa Shayhun min Fiqhihah wa Fawaidihah (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma’arif li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’; 1st edition, 1415 H), vol. 2, p. 328, # 711
21. Dr. ‘Abd al-‘Alim ‘Abd al-‘Azim al-Bastawi, al-Mahdi al-Muntazar fi Dhaw-i al-Ahadith wa al-Athar al-Sahihah wa Aqwal al-‘Ulama wa Ara al-Firaq al-Mukhtalifah (Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm; 1st edition, 1420 H), p. 165
22. Muhammad b. Salih al-‘Uthaymin, Sharh al-‘Aqidah al-Safariniyyah (Riyadh: Dar al-Waṭan li al-Nashr; 1st edition, 1426 H), pp. 450-451
Imamah is from Allah, and He bestows it only to those descendants of Ibrahim, ‘alaihi al-salam, who never commit wrongdoing. Sin, of course, is a form of wrongdoing, as explained by Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606 H): His Statement {My Covenant shall not reach the wrongdoers}: So, whosoever commits a sin, he is a wrongdoer to himself due to His, the Most High’s Statement: {And of them are those who wrong themselves} [35:32]1
This is confirmed by the Book of Allah too: And whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah, then such are the wrongdoers.2
Therefore, Allah grants His Covenant of Imamah to those among the offspring of Ibrahim who never commit sin, to the absolute exclusion of all else. This process shall continue interrupted till the Hour.
Imamah is also a “kingdom”. Therefore, on account of their khilafah, Ibrahim and his offspring were kings too, appointed by Allah: We have granted the Book and the Hikmah to the family of Ibrahim, and We gave them A GREAT KINGDOM.3
Shaykh al-Kulayni (d. 329 H) reports this authentic riwayah about the verse: ‘Ali b. Ibrahim – his father – Muhammad b. Abi ‘Umayr – ‘Umar b. Uzaynah – Burayd al-‘Ijli: Abu Ja’far, peace be upon him, said concerning the Statement of Allah the Most Blessed the Most High {We have granted the Book and the Hikmah to the family of Ibrahim, and We gave them a great kingdom}: “He appointed messengers, prophets and Imams from them. So, how can they accept concerning the family of Ibrahim, peace be upon him, while denying it in the case of the family of Muhammad?!”
I said: {and We gave them a great kingdom}?
He (Abu Ja’far) said: “The great kingdom is to appoint Imams among them. Whosoever obeys them has obeyed Allah, and whosoever disobeys them has disobeyed Allah. So, that is the great kingdom.”4
‘Allamah al-Majlisi says about the hadith: Hasan.5
‘Allamah al-Ruhani, on his part, states: Sahih.6
Then, he adds: The kingdom is the royal power. So, He appointed the Imams and, in terms of the command to obey them, He made it equivalent to obedience to Allah the Most High. Obviously, “the possessor of the great kingdom” is another terminology for the absolute government.7
The Qur’an has further given the specific example of Dawud, ‘alaihi al-salam, who was one of the Imams from the family of Ibrahim: O Dawud! We have appointed you A KHALIFAH over the earth. Therefore, judge between mankind with the truth.8
Meanwhile, while referring to his khilafah elsewhere, Allah emphasizes its royal nature: We made HIS KINGDOM strong and gave him wisdom and sound judgment.9
So, he was – as in the case of all the other Imams too – a royal khalifah. More importantly, his khilafah was also hereditary in nature: And Sulayman INHERITED Dawud.10
Imam al-Tabari (d. 310 H) says in his exegesis of the ayah: He, the Most High, says: Sulayman INHERITED the knowledge which Allah gave his father during his lifetime and the kingdom which He specially bestowed upon him above all of his people.11
Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774 H) also states: Allah the Most High said: {And Sulayman inherited Dawud…} [27:16], that is, INHERITANCE of prophethood and kingdom.12
And Imam Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 H) has these words too: Allah the Most High says {And Sulayman inherited Dawud}, that is: he INHERITED his prophethood, knowledge and kingdom.13
The moral of all this, simply, is that the khilafah is clearly a hereditary royal system. The khalifah is an absolute monarch, and he rules over the earth by kingdom. His authority, by its nature, is equally hereditary. Therefore, Allah places His chosen khalifahs in the loins of the reigning Imam, except in extraordinary cases.
At this point, it is imperative to clear a slightly common misconception within the Ummah: that monarchy is an inherently illegitimate system of government. This wrong notion, interestingly, is held among many Sunnis and Shi’is alike. In fact, the opposition of some brothers from the Ahl al-Sunnah – including the Salafiyyah – to the regime in Saudi Arabia hinges primarily upon its royal nature14. However, kingdom is a legitimate, Islamic mode of governance. In fact, it is Allah’s Own style of government: So Exalted be Allah, the True King. There is no god but He, the Lord of the Honourable Throne.15
This was equally His chosen form of government for many of His prophets, messengers and Imams: And their prophet said to them, “Indeed, Allah has appointed Talut as a king over you.”16
And: And Dawud killed Jalut, and Allah gave him the kingdom.17
Of course, as we mentioned, his son, Sulayman, ‘alaihi al-salam, inherited the kingdom from him.
Even in Paradise, the system of government there will be monarchy: And when you look there, you will see delight, and a magnificent kingdom.18
And: They will recline on thrones arranged in ranks.19
Looking at these verses, one may even say that kingdom is the best form of government. Allah never chooses for Himself except the best, and He never chooses for His prophets, messengers and awliya and the people of Paradise except the best.
Meanwhile, it must be re-emphasized that Allah gave “a great kingdom” to the “family of Ibrahim.” This made them a royal family, from which the sinless kings were appointed by our Lord. Interestingly, He has bestowed the same blessing upon the family of Muhammad too, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa ‘alaihim, in line with this hadith of Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256 H): Qays b. Hafs and Musa b. Isma’il – ‘Abd al-Wahid b. Ziyad – Abu Qurrah Muslim b. Salim al-Hamdani – ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Isa – ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Layli: Ka’b b. ‘Ujrah met me and said, “Shall I not give you a present I got from the Prophet, peace be upon him?” I said, “Yes, give it to me.” He said, “We asked the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is the manner of the salat upon you, Ahl al-Bayt, for Allah has taught us how to send salam you (Ahl al-Bayt)?’ He replied, ‘Say: O Allah! Send salat upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, in exactly the same manner as You sent salat upon Ibrahim and upon the family of Ibrahim. You are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious. O Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, in exactly the same manner as You blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. You are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious.’”20
So, the family of Muhammad are a royal family as well, to which “a great kingdom” has been granted by Allah. They have been blessed in exactly the same manner as the family of Ibrahim. Imam Ibn Abi Shaybah (d. 235 H) also records a hadith which leaves no doubt about the matter: Abu Dawud ‘Umar b. Sa’d – Sharik – al-Rukayn – al-Qasim b. Hassan – Zayd b. Thabit – the Prophet: “I have left behind over you the two all-comprehensive KHALIFAHS: the Book of Allah and MY OFFSPRING. Verily, both shall never separate from each other until they meet me at the Lake-Fount.”21
The two annotators say: The hadith is sahih. It has witnesses (shawahid).22
The word khalifah, of course, is both singular and plural. Therefore, it can refer to only one khalifah or to many, as submitted by Imam al-Raghib al-Isfahani (d. 501 H): The word khalifah is used to refer to a single person or to a group.23
As such, we know from the above sahih hadith that the offspring of Muhammad are the khalifahs of this Ummah. They are the twelve Qurayshi khalifahs who rule by kingdom till the Day of al-Qiyamah. In particular, the hadith has emphasized upon their sinlessness – a fundamental requirement in Imamah: Verily, both shall NEVER separate from each other until they meet me at the Lake-Fount.
Therefore, those offspring of Muhammad meant in the riwayah never separate from the Qur’an for even a millisecond in any situation or circumstance – in their thoughts, sayings, actions and omissions. Their number is only twelve, as indicated in other authentic Sunni narrations. They are the living Qur’ans, just like their father – Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah the Messenger of Allah. Everything they think, say or do is a fulfilment of the Qur’an – absolutely everything! Imam Ahmad (d. 241 H) records the same situation for the Prophet: ‘Abd Allah (b. Ahmad) – my father (Ahmad b. Hanbal) – ‘Abd al-Razzaq – Ma’mar – Qatadah – Zurarah – Sa’d b. Hisham: I asked ‘Aishah, saying: “Tell me about the behaviour of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.” She replied, “His behaviour was the Qur’an”.24
Shaykh al-Arnauṭ comments: Its chain is sahih upon the standard of the two Shaykhs25
Muhammad gave the same description for the twelve khalifahs from his offspring too. They never separate from the Qur’an.
The first of these royal khalifahs was Amir al-Muminin ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, ‘alaihi al-salam, according to the Prophet himself. Imam Ibn Abi ‘Asim (d. 287 H) documents: Muhammad b. al-Muthanna – Yahya b. Hammad – Abu ‘Awanah – Yahya b. Sulaym Abu Balj – ‘Amr b. Maymun – Ibn ‘Abbas: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said to ‘Ali: “You are to me of the status of Harun to Musa, with the exception that you are not a prophet. And you are MY KHALIFAH over every believer after me.”26
Dr. al-Jawabirah says: Its chain is hasan.27
‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) also comments on the sanad: Its chain is hasan.28
Grading the same chain, Imam al-Hakim (d. 403 H) declares: This hadith has a sahih chain.29
Imam al-Dhahabi (d. 748 H) concurs with him: Sahih.30
‘Allamah Ahmad Shakir (d. 1377 H) too says on the same sanad: Its chain is sahih.31
Imam al-Busiri (d. 840 H) does not hold a different opinion either about the isnad: A sahih chain.32
This authentic hadith establishes, among other things, that ‘Ali was – for the purpose of the khilafah – counted among the offspring of Muhammad. This was similar to how Iblis was numbered among the angels by Allah in His Order to them to prostrate to Prophet Adam, ‘alaihi al-salam33, even though he was only a jinn34. Such instances exist in Islam.
The last of the twelve Imams, of course, is the Mahdi. So, to find the true Mahdi, we must look for a man with the following qualities:
1. He is the twelfth Imam from the Ahl al-Bayt, and his name is Muhammad.
2. He is the last khalifah of this Ummah.
3. He is a royal khalifah who will rule by kingdom.
4. He is part of the sinless dynasty of Muhammad. He never does wrong, and never separates from the Qur’an for even a single millisecond in his thoughts, sayings, actions and omissions.
5. All the previous eleven Imams before him were from the offspring of the Messenger, starting with ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, and none of them ever separated from the Book of Allah in any situation and circumstance.
6. None of the eleven Imams before him ever did wrong.
7. All the eleven Imams belong to the royal family of Muhammad – to whom Allah bestowed “a great kingdom”; and all of them ruled by kingdom.
8. Succession of their khilafah was by inheritance, subject to the choice of Allah.
9. The rule of the twelve khalifahs lasts uninterrupted till the establishment of the Hour.
10. Each of the eleven Imams before him held the Covenant of Allah and His Command, never committed any wrongdoing, and was the supreme guide of humanity during his reign.
Whichever “Mahdi” fails any of the above realities is a fake, an impostor, a Dajjal. So, which of the numerous “Mahdis” matches the description?
1. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, ‘Ismat al-Anbiya (1406 H), p. 14
2. Qur’an 2:229
3. Qur’an 4:54
4. Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Ya’qub b. Ishaq al-Kulayni al-Razi, al-Usul min al-Kafi (Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah) [annotator: ‘Ali Akbar al-Ghiffari], vol. 1, p. 206, # 5
5. Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, Mir-at al-‘Uqul fi Sharh Akhbar Al al-Rasul (Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah) [annotator: Sayyid Muhsin al-Husayni al-Amini], vol. 2, p. 412
6. Muhammad Sadiq al-Husayni al-Ruhani, Fiqh al-Sadiq (Qum: Muasassat Dar al-Kitab; 3rd edition, 1413 H), vol. 16, p. 157
7. Ibid, vol. 16, p. 158
8. Qur’an 38:26. Prophet Dawud was both a prophet and a khalifah. In the above verse, Allah is clearly making reference to his khilafah, and not to his nubuwwah.
9. Qur’an 38:20
10. Qur’an 27:16
11. Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir b. Yazid b. Kathir b. Ghalib al-Amuli al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan fi Tawil al-Qur’an (Dar al-Fikr; 1415 H) [annotator: Sidqi Jamil al-‘Aṭṭar], vol. 19, p. 172
12. Abu al-Fida Isma’il b. Kathir al-Dimashqi, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah (Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi; 1st edition, 1408 H) [annotator: ‘Ali Shiri], vol. 2, p. 22
13. Abu al-Faraj Jamal al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Ali b. Muhammad al-Jawzi al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi, Zad al-Masir fi ‘Ilm al-Tafsir (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr; 1st edition, 1407 H) [annotator: Dr. Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abd Allah], vol. 6, p. 60
14. A clarification is needed here. Well, even though kingdom is itself not an inherently illegitimate system of government, there are certain conditions that can make it invalid, from an Islamic point of view, in some situations. We know from Qur’an 4:54 and the hadith of al-Kulayni that it was Allah Himself Who explicitly appointed the family of Ibrahim, and the family of Muhammad, royal families by wahy. Therefore, the legitimacy of every monarchy rests entirely upon this fact. Did Allah name the concerned ruling family with kingdom in any revelation sent down from the heavens? If the answer is “no”, then their kingdom has zero Islamic legitimacy. Moreover, even if the answer is “yes”, what about the reigning king specifically? There has to be a separate wahy from Allah declaring him the king, amir, khalifah or Imam, before his rule can be valid, Islamically. The case of Talut (Qur’an 2:247) is particularly instructive on this point. This has been Allah’s practice with the kings from the families of Ibrahim and Muhammad, ‘alaihima al-salam: “That was the Sunnah of Allah in the case of those passed away of old, and you will not find any change in the Sunnah of Allah” (Qur’an 33:62).
15. Qur’an 23:116
16. Qur’an 2:247
17. Qur’an 2:251
18. Qur’an 76:20
19. Qur’an 52:20
20. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Isma’il b. Ibrahim b. Mughirah al-Bukhari al-Ju’fi, al-Jami’ al-Sahih al-Mukhtasar (Beirut: Dar Ibn Kathir; 3rd edition, 1407 H) [annotator: Dr. Musṭafa Dib al-Bagha], vol. 3, p. 1233, # 3190
21. Abu Bakr ‘Abd Allah b. Abi Shaybah, Musnad Ibn Abi Shaybah (Riyadh: Dar al-Waṭan; 1st edition, 1418 H) [annotators: ‘Adil b. Yusuf al-‘Azazi and Ahmad b. Farid al-Mazidi], vol. 1, p. 108
22. Ibid
23. Abu al-Qasim al-Husayn b. Muhammad b. al-Mufadhdhal al-Raghib al-Isfahani, Tafsir al-Raghib al-Isfahani wa Muqadimmatuh (Kulliyat al-Adab, Jami’ah Tanta; 1st edition, 1412 H) [annotator: Dr. Muhammad ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Basyuni], vol. 1, p. 139
24. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurṭubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnauṭ], vol. 6, p. 163, # 25341
25. Ibid
26. Abu Bakr b. Abi ‘Asim, Ahmad b. ‘Amr b. al-Dhahhak b. Mukhlid al-Shaybani, Kitab al-Sunnah (Dar al-Sami’i li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’) [annotator: Dr. Basim b. Faysal al-Jawabirah], vol. 1, pp. 799-800, # 1222
27. Ibid
28. Abu Bakr b. Abi ‘Asim, Ahmad b. ‘Amr b. al-Dhahhak b. Mukhlid al-Shaybani, Kitab al-Sunnah (al-Maktab al-Islami; 1st edition, 1400 H) [annotator: Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani], vol. 2, p. 565, # 1188
29. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah; 1st edition, 1411 H) [annotator: Mustafa ‘Abd al-Qadir ‘Aṭa], vol. 3, p. 143, # 4652
30. Ibid
31. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Dar al-Hadith; 1st edition, 1416 H) [annotator: Ahmad Muhammad Shakir], vol. 1, p. 331, # 3062
32. Ahmad b. Abi Bakr b. Isma’il al-Busiri, Itihaf al-Khiyarah al-Maharah bi Zawaid al-Masanid al-‘Ashara (Riyadh: Dar al-Waṭan; 1st edition, 1420 H), vol. 7, p. 184, # 6630
33. See Qur’an 2:34, 7:11, 17:61, 18:50, 20:116, 38:71-74,
34. Qur’an 18:50

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