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VARIOUS SUBJECTS CONCERNING THE MAHDI

The Mahdi's Spiritual Capture of Istanbul
The Turkish Nation and the Years 700-1400
Recognizing Hazrat Mahdi (as) When He Appears

The Mahdi's Spiritual Capture of Istanbul

Allah will capture Constantinople by the Mahdi's hand.

Naim ibn Hammad reports from Jaffar: 

The blessed Mahdi will send his army in all directions. He will destroy oppression and the oppressors. Nations will come under his command. Allah will make him the instrument of the capture of Constantinople.
Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, 56

Allah will capture Constantinople through His beloved friends.
Portents of Doomsday, 181

 ...Many scholars from various countries will set out, unaware of one another, to seek the Mahdi, and 310 people will accompany each one. Eventually they will all meet in Mecca, and when they ask one another why they have come, they will all reply: "We are looking for the Mahdi, who will prevent this corruption and capture Constantinople, because we have learned the names of his father and his mother and his army.
Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, 52
Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, 42

Abu Hussein Ahmad ibn Jaffar al-Munadi reports from Abu Huraira in his "Kitab al-Malahim:" 
"Your commander, who distinguishes between truth and falsehood, who neither deceives nor steals, and who is devoted to the faith, will capture Constantinople." (Iqdud Durar Fi Akhbar al-Muntadhar) 

The Mahdi will Capture Constantinople and Mount Daylam.
Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, 27

Ibni Majah has quoted Abu Huraira (ra) as saying:
Even if no time is left to the world but a single day, Allah will certainly prolong that day in order for an individual from my family to take Mount Daylam and the city of Constantinople.
 (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 74)

During the capture of Constantinople the Mahdi will plant a flag while performing his ablution for the morning prayer; the sea will party in two and thus the water will be withdrawn, and the Mahdi will cross to the other side through the path that opens up.
Portents of Doomsday, p. 181
Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 57

Allah will capture Constantinople for His beloved friends
Portents of Doomsday, p. 181

It is reported by IbnAmr (ra) that Our Prophet (saas) said: O People! There are six things without which Doomsday will not fall... the sixth is the conquest of the city.
Which city? They asked.
Constantinople, he replied.
(*) This is the capture of Constantinople by the Mahdi.
Portents of Doomsday, p. 204
Ramuz Al-Ahadith, p. 296

Abu Huraira narrated:
After the Greeks [Rum] oppresses a governor from my line whose name matches mine has been appointed, they will wage war against you at a place called Amiq. One-third of Muslims will be killed here. On the third day, the battle will turn against the Greeks. The Muslims will continue fighting and will capture Constantinople and seize all the goods within it. At that exact moment they will hear a voice saying, "The Dajjal has entered your home and taken your children captive."
 Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 73

(The Mahdi) will battle against the Greeks [Rum] for three days, and on the third day the victory will be his. The battle will continue until Constantinople is captured.
Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 29

The Mahdi will fight a savage battle against the Greeks [Rum] and will conquer Constantinople.

 Doomsday will not take place until the Greeks [Rum] descend to the place known as Amiq or Dabiq. Then an army made up of the most auspicious people in the world will oppose the Greeks [Rum]. When the Greeks tell the Muslims "'Vacate a place between us and those who made captives a tribe of ours," the Muslims will respond "No, we will not clear a place between you and our brother Muslims." Then the two great armies will come to blows. Eventually, one-third of the army of Islam will lose heart and flee. Allah will never accept their repentance, and one-third of the army will be martyred. They are the most virtuous of martyrs in the sight of Allah. And one-third will defeat the foe and continue with the conquest never fall into corruption. This victorious army will conquer Constantinople.
Death-Doomsday-The Hereafter and the Portents of the End Times, p. 443

In his commentary, Ibn Jarir relates from Sudiy:
"Their humiliation in this world is for the Mahdi to depart from Medina and capture Constantinople and defeat the Greeks [Rum].
Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 76

Amr ibn Awf (ra) relates:
You will fight the People of Asfar, and those who come after you will fight them. Elect Muslims who fear no condemnation on the path of Allah will battle against them and will capture Constantinople with prayer beads and the taqbir.
Ibn Majah

Where is Constantinople?

Some people have interpreted the city of Constantinople as referring to Rome, though the hadith contain no unequivocal statement that the name does in fact refer to the modern city of Rome. On the contrary, all the evidence shows that Constantinople refers to the city of Istanbul.

Constantinople: One of the names used in the Islamic world to refer to Istanbul.
Buyuk Lugat (The Great Dictionary), TÜRDAV

Istanbul has been known by many names over the years. The oldest known of these is Byzantion. In 196 A.D. it took the name Antoninia in honor of Antonius, son of the Emperor Septimus. When the seat of the Empire was moved there from Rome in 330 A.D., the city was given the name of the Second Rome. This was changed to New Rome in the 5th century. Later, however, the name used by the local population, Constantinopolis (Constantine's city), became generally accepted.
Cumhuriyet Encyclopedia

This city (the present-day Istanbul) took the name of Constantinopolis, in honor of the Emperor, from the 4th century on.
Meydan Larousse

In 325 A.D. the city began to be known by the name of the Roman Emperor Constantine.
Encyclopedia Hachette

The Emperor Constantine built the old Byzantium as a new capital, which began to be known by his own name.
Encyclopaedia of World History and Ancient Civilisations

Some accounts correctly consider Rome and Constantinople (Istanbul) to be separate cities.

The Mahdi and the forces under his command will set out to capture Rome, Constantinople and the Golden Church.
Death-Doomsday-The Hereafter and the Portents of Doomsday, p. 441


We can also see from other accounts that Constantinople refers to Istanbul. This city was founded on the coast and on an estuary.

 This army will be sent and progress along the coast in the area known as Masine in the Maghreb mountains.
Death-Doomsday-The Hereafter and the Portents of Doomsday, p. 439

The work known as the "Iqdud Durar" reads:
Constantinople has seven ramparts. It is built on an estuary opening onto the Greek Sea. The sea stretches as far as the provinces of Rum and Andalusia.
Portents of Doomsday, p. 181

Where Is Rumiyya?

The place that the blessed Mahdi and his people will conquer is referred to as Constantinople in some accounts and as Rumiyya in others.

Hudhaifa ibn Yemani describes the Messenger of Allah (saas) as saying this about the Mahdi and the conquest of Rumiyya:
The walls of Rumiyya will fall when the Mahdi's troops recite the taqbir four times...
Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 74

The blessed Mahdi will conquer Rumiyya with four taqbir...
(The Mahdi) will capture the bastions of Rum and Rumiyya with the taqbir.
...The Mahdi and his army will come to the land of Rumiyya, which contains the Captain's market, and every bazaar of which holds a hundred thousand traders. 
Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, pp. 35-46-36

Ibn Hajar Makki describes where this city known as Rumiyya stands:

Historians ascribe various characteristics to this land known as Rumiyya which no other city possesses. The city most closely matching these is Constantinople.
Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 31

As we have seen, Rumiyya and Constantinople are names given to the same city, and both refer to Istanbul.

The Qur'an refers to messengers being sent to holy lands and their main centers, in other words, their capitals.

Your Lord would never destroy any cities without first sending to the chief of them a Messenger to recite Our signs to them. We would never destroy any cities unless their inhabitants were wrongdoers. (Surat al-Qasas, 59)

Declaration of the Coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as)

Division and disputes will continue until a hand appears from the sky and a voice cries, "Your commander is Hazrat Mahdi (as)."
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 55)

The sign of that day is; a hand will be extended from the sky and people will look upon it and see.
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 55)

Asma bint Umays is reported as saying:
The sign of that day is a hand extended from the sky and people stopping to look upon it.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 69)

 The "hand" in the hadith refers to an unknown power. Allah refers to hands in the Qur'an, and we know that this is not a hand of the kind we are familiar with.

Those who pledge you their allegiance pledge allegiance to Allah. Allah's hand is over their hands. He who breaks his pledge only breaks it against himself. But as for him who fulfils the contract he has made with Allah, We will pay him an immense reward.
(Surat al-Fath, 10)

The "hand" in this verse (Allah's hand); 

It is He Who sent down the Book to you from Him: verses containing clear judgments - they are the core of the Book - and others which are open to interpretation. Those with deviation in their hearts follow what is open to interpretation in it, desiring conflict, seeking its inner meaning. No one knows its inner meaning but Allah. Those firmly rooted in knowledge say, "We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord." But only people of intelligence pay heed. (Surah Al Imran, 7)

This is one of the verses, which is open to interpretation. It refers to Allah's Might. In the same way, the "hand" referred to in the above hadith is a term open to interpretation.

The waves of television broadcasts emitted from the sky form a power like a sort of hand (Allah knows the truth). This hand reaches just about all homes and can be seen by everyone. The words, "...People will look upon it and see" also refer to this. Other accounts on the subject read:

A voice from the sky will call him by name, and even people asleep in the east and west will hear that voice and wake.
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 56)

There will be a voice calling his name from the sky, and nobody will be able to deny that he is Hazrat Mahdi (as).
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 49)

A man will be called by name from the sky, and the evidence will not deny him, nor lack thereof hinder him.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 52)

The first hadith speaks of "...People looking upon and seeing it," a reference to television broadcasting, while the words "a voice from the sky will call him by name" refers to sounds capable of transmission by radio. (Allah knows the truth) And this voice that will cry out the name of the Mahdi will be heard by evereyone in the eastern and western worlds will hear it, and everyone will hear the voice in their own language.
The Iqd al-Durar says: This voice will spread across the world, and all peoples will hear it in their own tongues.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 51) 
(Portents of Doomsday, p. 201)

There will be a voice from the sky that everyone on Earth will hear in his own tongue.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 37)

 It appears from the accounts that when Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears, he will be announced to everyone, east and west, through such means of communications as radio and television, and every nation will hear this by translating it into its own tongue. (Allah knows the truth) 

Bediüzzaman Said Nursi speaks of the coming of the Dajjal in similar terms. 

One account says: The whole world will hear on the day the Dajjal appears...
 
The meaning of these completely reliable accounts is this: These accounts impart miraculous tidings: 
"Means of communications in the time of the Dajjal...Will be so advanced that a hadith will be heard all over the world in one day. It will speak over the radio, east and west will hear and it will be read in public newspapers...It miraculously speaks of the telegraph, telephone, radio...Ten centuries before their appearance. (Rays, 496)

Other hadith referring to the subjects are: 

Naim Hz. Ali is reported as saying: 
When a voice from the sky cries "The truth lies with Muhammad" Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear, and everyone will speak of him. They will absorb his love and speak of nothing else.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 33) 
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 40) 
(Portents of Doomsday, p. 200)

There will be widespread, seemingly endless, corruption, and that corruption will persist until a voice three times cries out "Hazrat Mahdi (as) is the lord, he is the truth."
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 55) 
(Portents of Doomsday, p. 200)

A voice will be heard from the sky: "O People, Allah has finally distanced the deniers and hypocrites and their helpers from you. He has appointed the most auspicious of the Community of Muhammad to lead you."
(Portents of Doomsday, p. 165)

Where Hazrat Mahdi (as) Will Appear

"Bearers of black flags will soon come from the direction of Horasan. Join them, though you have to crawl over snow. Because among them is the "Mahdi," the caliph of Allah.
(Hazrat Savban r.a. / Ramuz Al-Ahadith, Vol. 1, p. 298, No 2)

It is related that: "It is certain that in the End Times an individual known as Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear from the furthest part of the Maghrab. And helpmates will walk 40 miles ahead of him. Hazrat Mahdi's (as) banners are white and yellow. There are lines on them. The great name of Allah is written on them. No force under that banner can ever be defeated..." (Imam Sharani, Death-Doomsday-The Hereafter and the Portents of Doomsday, p. 438)

The Taking of the Oath of Allegiance to Him against Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Wishes

According to Ummu Salama (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah (saas) said:

There will be disputes the moment the caliph dies. One of the people of Medina will run to Mecca. A group from the people of Mecca will bring him out (from where he is), against his wishes. They will swear allegiance to him between Al-Hajar al-Aswad and Ibrahim's Maqam.
(Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 5/94)
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 20)

After the people compel him, saying, "If you refuse, we will strike you on the neck," Hazrat Mahdi (as) will accept the oath of allegiance between the Rock and the Station. In addition, after a period of great corruption, people will go to him to demand he lead them, and he will only agree to rule them after being threatened with death. After that, not a drop of blood will be shed among anyone. They will swear allegiance to Hazrat Mahdi (as) against his wishes. Hazrat Mahdi (as) will then lead them in the salat (prayer) consisting of two rakat and will ascend to the pulpit alongside the Ibrahim's Maqam.
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 34, 50, 44)

Naim ibn Hammad related from Ibn Masud:
At a time when trade routes and roads are cut and corruption has grown, seven scholars from various land, each accompanied by some three hundred and ten retainers, will come together in Mecca, each one unaware of the others. They will ask each other "What are you looking for here?" They will reply: "We have come to seek that personage by whose hand this corruption can be ended. Konstantiniyya (Constantinople) will be captured by him. We know that he is in Mecca." The seven scholars will reach agreement and look for him and find him in Mecca. And they will say to him, "You are so-and-so, the son of so-and-so." And he will say, "I am merely someone from Ansar." And he will escape them. They will then describe him to those who know him, and they will be told, "He is the one you are looking for, and he has gone to Medina." This time they will seek him, but he will have returned to Mecca. When they find him again in Mecca, they will say: "You are so-and-so, the son of so-and-so, and your mother is the daughter of so-and-so, these are the portents concerning you, you escaped us the first time, but let us now take the oath of allegiance to you." At that, he will say, "I am not the one you are looking for," and he will go back to Medina. When they look for him in Medina, he will return to Mecca. In Mecca they will find him by the Rukun and will say: "If you refuse to accept our oath of allegiance, if you do not protect us against the army of the Suyani, led by one from Haddam, that is looking for us, may our sins be on your head and our blood on your hands." At that, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will sit between the Rock and the Station and will extend his hand and accept their oaths of allegiance.

Dani relates from Qatada: 
At a time of bloodshed and corruption, people will come to Hazrat Mahdi (as) as he sits at home and will say, "Rise up for us." He will refuse, and will only stand up when threatened with death. After that, no blood will be shed.

Naim ibn Hammad relates from Zuhri: 
Hazrat Mahdi (as), a descendant of Hazrat Fatima, will be found in Mecca, and the oath of allegiance will be taken to him against his wishes.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 52,53)

The hadith also describe how the oath of allegiance will be taken to Hazrat Mahdi (as) even though he does not desire it. This shows that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will never declare himself to be Hazrat Mahdi (as), and that he will deny it even when people say, "The signs are upon you, you are Hazrat Mahdi (as)." Hazrat Mahdi (as) will only agree to lead them after being threatened with death. We do not think that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will wish to be caliph from any earthly desire. This duty is a heavy one, full of difficulties. The caliph is responsible to Almighty Allah for all Muslims, and even for the Peoples of the Book living under his protection. For that reason, the Messenger of Allah (saas) warns people to be on their guard about people who request the task.

Abu Said relates from Abdurrahman ibn Samura (r.a.): One day, the Messenger of Allah (saas) addressed me as follows:
O Abdurrahman, do not ask for a post as clerk; because if you are made a clerk without your asking, you will receive help from Allah. But if you are appointed by your own request, you will be left to get on with it as best you can." (Riyadhu al-Salihin from Buhari and Muslim, 2/89)

From Abu Dhar (r.a.): O Messenger of Allah (saas)! Will you not appoint me clerk? I said. He placed his holy hand on my shoulder and said:
 Abu Dhar, you are weak; the post of clerk is one of trust. It is sorrow and regret on Doomsday. Only one exception can assume the post and succeed in it. ((Muslim) Riyadhu al-Salihin, 2/90)

It was revealed to the Prophet (saas) by Almighty Allah Himself that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be the caliph. At that, the Messenger of Allah  (saas) referred to Hazrat Mahdi (as) as "Halifatullah" (the Caliph of Allah). When Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears, he will unanimously be elected caliph by the scholars. After that, oaths of allegiance will be accepted. (Allah knows the truth) 

Surah 12 of the Holy Qur'an reveals that Prophet Yusuf (as) was also raised up by the monarch, against his own wishes, on account of his honesty, justice, knowledge and trustworthiness.

The King said, 'Bring him to me straight away! So I may draw him very close to me.' When he had spoken with him, he declared, 'Today you are trusted, established in our sight.' (Surah Yusuf, 54)

What Is the Issue Regarding the Mahdi's Disappearance?

 Abu Abdullah Hussein ibn Ali is reported as saying:

Hazrat Mahdi (as) will twice disappear from men's sight. The first time, he will disappear for so long that some people will imagine he has gone for good, and none but his closest friends will know where he is.
 
This hadith exists in a hand-written manuscript of the Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zamanin the Sulaymaniya Library.

This hadith reveals that following Hazrat Mahdi's (as) appearance he will vanish twice, once for a short time and once for longer. In addition, the hadith notes that Hazrat Mahdi's (as) second disappearance will take place under difficult conditions and will be longer than the first, that it will be difficult to contact him and that only those closest to him will be able to do so.  (Allah knows the truth) 

According to descriptions set out in other hadith, Hazrat  Mahdi (as) will begin his struggle as soon as he appears and will call people to the Truth and the signs leading to faith. Since it is inconceivable that Hazrat Mahdi (as) can abandon his efforts he makes in Allah's path, his most important obligation at such a time when he knows it is most essential, his withdrawl from other people will take place outside his own free will. (Allah knows the truth) 

Dani relates from Salama ibn Zufar: 
It was one day said in Huzayfa's hearing that Hazrat Mahdi (as) had appeared. He said: If he appears among you as one of the people of the Prophet Muhammad (saas) you will be restored. Certain it is that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not appear before men until he has become their most beloved due to the evils they are faced with.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 27)

This hadith also makes clear the groundless nature of the Shiite belief in the "Lost Mahdi." In other words, the disappearance of the Hazrat Mahdi (as) is not a mythical-type one lasting hundreds of years, but a withdrawal from public view for a specific length of time and his remaining apart due to prevailing difficulties. The final part of the hadith notes that people's love and longing for Hazrat Mahdi (as) will increase during the time of his absence because of various evils that they are afflicted by.

The close links between the story of Yusuf in the Qur'an and Hazrat Mahdi (as) is described as a separate chapter in due course. However, it will also be appropriate to note one similarity here.

Like Hazrat Mahdi (as), the blessed Prophet Yusuf (as) also disappeared twice from the sight of men, once for a short time and once for longer. In the former Yusuf was cast into a well, from which he was shortly thereafter rescued by a passing caravan. In the second he was falsely imprisoned for a much longer period. He was eventually released, however, when his innocence was established.

But when, in fact, they did go out with him and gathered all together and agreed to put him at the bottom of the well. We then revealed to him that: 'You will inform them of this deed they perpetrate at a time when they are totally unaware.' (Surah Yusuf, 15)

Then, after they had seen the Signs, they thought that they should still imprison him for a time. (Surah Yusuf, 35)

The Matter of the 12 Caliphs

There is a Shiite belief regarding Hazrat Mahdi's (as) disappearance and return to Earth as the 12th and last imam. This erroneous belief stems from the corruption of two of our prophet's (saas) hadith. The first refers to the disappearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as) as outlined above. The second is the hadith referring to the tradition of the coming of the 12th caliph. These hadith are true in essence, but have been distorted.

In his account, Jabir ibn Samura (r.a.) quotes the Messenger of Allah (saas) as saying: The superiority of this faith will persist until the 12th caliph. All these caliphs will be from the Qur'aysh (descended from the Prophet (saas)). (Sunan Abu Dawud, 5/90)
 
First and foremost the Shiites have altered the word "caliph" in the hadith to "imam" and maintain that these imams are immaculate (without sin). In addition to these two distortions, our Prophet (saas) says that the caliphs are "from the Qur'aysh," thus emphasising their descent from the Prophet (saas).

The majority of Islamic scholars say that the first four of the 12 caliphs in this hadith are the first four caliphs of the Prophet (saas) (Abu Bakir, Omar, Osman and Ali). Hazrat Mahdi (as) is also one of these pure caliphs. Another hadith refers to three pure caliphs who will assume the leadership after Hazrat Mahdi (as)(Allah knows the truth). The four remaining caliphs are not fully known. But it is highly likely that they were immaculate caliphs who led the world in earlier periods. (Allah knows the truth) 

 A verse from the Qur'an makes this illustrative reference: 

We raised up twelve leaders from among them  (Surat al-Maida, 12)

Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Opponents

Almighty Allah reveals in the Qur'an that every prophet has had a principal foe. The Prophet Musa's (as) principal foe was Pharaoh, and the Prophet Ibrahim's was Namrud. The main enemy of our Prophet (saas) was Abu Jahl, the leader of society.

In this way We have assigned to every Prophet an enemy from among the evildoers. But your Lord is a sufficient guide and helper. (Surat al-Furqan, 31)

What about the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord, on the basis that Allah had given him sovereignty? Ibrahim said, 'My Lord is He Who gives life and causes to die.' He said, 'I too give life and cause to die.' Ibrahim said, 'Allah makes the sun come from the East. Make it come from the West.' And the one who was a disbeliever was dumbfounded. Allah does not guide wrongdoing people. (Surat al-Baqara, 258)
 
The names of Hazrat Mahdi's (as) foes are given several times in the hadith. These include the Sufyani, among whom the Dajjal is one of them. The main distinguishing feature of the Sufyani is that he will attempt to hinder Hazrat Mahdi's (as) ongoing cause.

SUFYANIS

 In his book, Ibn Munavi states:  There are three Sufyani and three Mahdis. The first Sufyan will come for the first Mahdi, the second Sufyani for the second Mahdi and the third Sufyani for the third Mahdi.(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 64)

This hadith says there will be three Sufyan corresponding to three Mahdis. The third Mahdi for the third Sufyan is the true and great Mahdi (Hazrat Mahdi (as))

It is related from Abu Huraira (r.a.):
One known as the Sufyan, most of whose followers are from the tribe of Kalb. He will kill by ripping open the stomachs of women and slaughtering children. 

In the blessed Ali's account (additional):
The Sufyan's head will be rather large. He will bear the scars of a skin disease on his face.  And there is a white spot in his eye. He will obliterate the tribe of Kays that muster against him. (At that time) a man from my Ahl al-Bayt will appear. When news of him reaches the Sufyan, the Sufyan will send an army against him. But this army will be swallowed up when it reaches Bayda. None will survive save those who carry these tidings.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 40)

The oppressive regime established by Hafiz Asad following his seizure of power in a coup in 1970 propelled his country in the direction of communism.

Hostility towards Islam has reached considerable dimensions in the country. Not only are Muslims prevented from carrying out their religious obligation; their lives are also endangered. Thirty thousand Muslims were killed in the Hama massacre of 1982 alone.

The actions of the Sufyan are also described in another hadith.

The Sufyan, the son of the liver eaters," will emerge from a dry valley. He will build an army of men with fierce faces and hardened hearts from the tribe of Kalb. And these will oppress all places. He will tear down mosques and madrassas and will punish all those who bow and prostrate themselves in prayer. He will bring forth oppression, strife and vice. He will murder scholars and people of taqwa. He will seize many cities. He will make bloodshed lawful and will be the enemy of Muhammad. He will kill any who oppose his cruelty and licentiousness."
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 37)

A lengthy hadith set out on Pages 52 and 53 of Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman refers to a Sufyan with a helper known as Haddam. Hafiz Asad's assistant was one General Abdulhalim Haddam.

"The Sufyan will come from a place (known as the Valley of Yabis) in the direction of Sham. The Sufyan will set out from Kufa. It is related he will come from ruined Sham, but elsewhere that he will come from Iraq."
(Portents of Doomsday, p. 172)

"As for the Sufyan, one of the descendants of the blessed Ali; (1) He is a very stocky individual. (2) This individual will devastate everything around him before the [coming of] Hazrat Mahdi (as). (3) He will travel all the countries of the East. (4) He will wage war against many kings and (5) he will defeat everyone."(Mahdism and the Imam, p. 82-taken from al-Isa'a, li Esrat's Saa, p. 167)

One possible interpretation is this:

(1) The fact that he is stocky may perhaps indicate that the Sufyan is extraordinarily large in terms of his various aspects or attributes, as well as personally.

(2) This individual will devastate everything around him before the [coming of] Hazrat Mahdi (as). This means that the Sufyan will appear before Hazrat Mahdi (as), will participate in many battles and will ruin the surrounding areas with his weapons of war.

(3) He will travel all the countries... This part of the hadith may indicate, as well as the Sufyani travelling personally to many countries, that his ideological system will spread widely among the nations._

(4) He will wage war against many kings... In his time, the Sufyan will engage in armed conflict against numerous states

(5) And he will defeat everyone... The Sufyan will overcome all the armies that oppose him and absolute victory will be his. (Allah knows the truth)

As we are told in the hadith, the Messiah Dajjal will emerge from among the Jews, and in later years. And he, personally, will be a Jew. The Dajjal will perform deceptive but alluring illusions, along the lines of magic and hypnotism, will claim that he is the awaited Messiah and will subsequently claim divine status for himself. He will encourage atheism and all forms of immorality, thus gathering considerable support for himself. But he will eventually be slain by the Prophet 'Isa (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as).

This aspect has gained considerable renown among earlier and later scholars; a man will definitely appear during the End Times. He will be one of my Ahl al-Bayt. He will be known as Hazrat Mahdi (as). He will later slay the Dajjal. (Crown Book of Hadith, Canaan and the Sahara, Vol. 1)

When Hazrat Mahdi (as) comes to the border of Hijaz and Sham he will stop there. When they say, "What have you stopped for? Keep going!" he will reply: "Let me first write to my cousin (Sahari). If he refuses to submit to me, I will march against him." When Hazrat Mahdi's (as) letter reaches him, his friends will say, " Hazrat Mahdi (as) has appeared... Either follow him, or we will kill you." At this, he will come to Jerusalem... Then one from the tribe of Kalb, by the name of Knana, will come to Sahari and say: "We have sworn loyalty to you and helped you. You also took the oath of loyalty to this man (Hazrat Mahdi (as)) when the opportunity arose. Shame on you! Allah gave you a shirt to wear, but you have cast it off."
"Are you telling me I should break my word?"
"Yes." Another account says: "After three years have passed he will break his oath, and it will no longer have any meaning."
(Portents of Doomsday, p. 175)

Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Struggle against the Reactionists

 "He will stand the faith back on its feet and restore it to its former nature. He will breathe the spirit back into Islam, and after it has been debased He will give Islam back its former, powerful character. Through Hazrat Mahdi (as) He will resurrect Islam after it has died. He will abolish the tax on non-Muslims and will call people to Allah's true faith by way of the sword. Those who flee will be killed, and those who seek to oppose him will be laid waste."

Even were the Messenger of Allah (saas) alive, he would do nothing to him. His law would bind him. Thus not even the Messenger of Allah (saas) would interfere in his work. The faith will be restored to its former nature in his time, free of all impurity. Many of his laws will oppose the ideas of the ulama. He will therefore keep his distance from them."

The hadith state that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will confront various reactionist bigots. They will be displeased at Hazrat Mahdi's (as) efforts to rid the faith of superstitions and restore it to its former nature. They will even go so far as to say, "This man wishes to ruin our faith." But Hazrat Mahdi (as) will rule in the light of the verses of the Qur'an and the Sunna of our Prophet (saas), and he will be most determined and eventually victorious in this intellectual struggle. In the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as), Allah willing, the faith will return to how it was in the days of the Prophet (saas), to its original essence.

The Holy Qur'an speaks of the prophets' struggle against the deniers and idol-worshipers, and describes the bigoted mindset of their opponents. That mindset by no means vanished during the days of the prophets, however. We know that it still survives today. The verses of the Qur'an describe many of the attributes of the bigots and strongly condemns them.

1. They make the faith needlessly difficult. As a result, belief in Allah, the main foundation of faith, and devotion, the main foundation of worship, are forgotten. In reality, however, the Holy Qur'an states that the faith is easy and that all fanaticism is to be avoided.

"He has selected you and not placed any constraint upon you in the religion..." (Surat al-Hajj, 78)

"Allah does not impose on any self any more than it can stand..." (Surat al-Baqara, 286)

"Allah desires to make things lighter for you. Man was created weak." (Surat an-Nisa, 28)

"Allah does not want to make things difficult for you, but He does want to purify you and to perfect His blessing upon you so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 6)

"Those who follow the Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel, commanding them to do right and forbidding them to do wrong, making good things halal for them and bad things haram for them, relieving them of their heavy loads and the chains which were around them. Those who have iman in him and honour him and help him, and follow the Light that has been sent down with him, they are the ones who are successful'." (Surat al-A'raf, 157)

Abu Musa relates:
Our Prophet (saas) said: Make it easy, not difficult. Give glad tidings and do not cause people to hate it [the faith].
(Al-Lu'luu Val-Marjan, p. 296)

In Ibni Abbas' account: Our Prophet (saas) said: "Avoid division in the faith. For that reason alone, those before you were destroyed."
(Ramuz Al-Hadith, 1/176)

In the blessed Aysha's account, our Prophet (saas) said: Allah did not charge me with monasticism. Beside Allah, the best faith is the path of easy union.
(Ramuz Al-Ahadith, 2/498)

2. They make many things unlawful that are really lawful (food, drink, technology etc.). They forbid these things to people in the name of Allah.

"Do not say about what your lying tongues describe: 'This is lawful and this is unlawful,' inventing lies against Allah. Those who invent lies against Allah are not successful -" (Surat an-Nahl, 116)

"Say: 'What do you think about the things Allah has sent down to you as provision which you have then designated as halal and haram?' Say: 'Has Allah given you authority to do this or are you inventing lies against Allah?'" (Surah Yunus, 59)

"Those who kill their children foolishly without any knowledge and make what Allah has provided for them haram, inventing lies against Allah, such people are lost. They are misguided. They are not guided." (Surat al-An'am, 140)

"You who have faith! Do not make unlawful the good things Allah has made lawful for you, and do not overstep the limits. Allah does not love people who overstep the limits." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 87)

3. They portray minor details of no divine origins as commandments of the faith.

The Holy Qur'an attaches considerable importance to this subject:

In the time of the Prophet Musa (as), Allah told the believers to sacrifice a cow. This was revealed very clearly, simply and distinctly. But people of that time with the same mindset were unsatisfied and demanded that Allah clarify the most minor details.

He said, 'He says it should be a cow not trained to plough or irrigate the fields - completely sound, without a blemish on it.' They said, 'Now you have brought the truth.' So they sacrificed it - but they almost did not do it. (Surat al-Baqara, 71)_

Nothing is related for no reason in the Holy Qur'an. Note that people's preoccupation with minor details is most unwelcome here. Because minor details make religious observances more difficult and lead to people forgetting their true purpose._

 4. Not content with the faith's simplicity and easiness, they invent many new additions to it, including their own superstitions.

The Holy Qur'an is never an adequate reference source for them.

Illustrative verses:

"What is the matter with you? On what basis do you judge? Or do you have a Book which you study?" (Surat al-Qalam, 36-37)
 
5. They blindly accept the information reaching them, without investigating its accuracy. They then repeat that information to their children, even if it is false.

Illustrative verses:

"When they are told: 'Follow what Allah has sent down,' they say, 'No, we will follow what we found our fathers doing.' What! Even if satan is calling them to the punishment of the Blazing Fire?" (Surah Luqman, 21)

"When they are told, 'Follow what Allah has sent down to you,' They say, 'We are following what we found our fathers doing.' What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided!" (Surat al-Baqara, 170)

6. They attach great importance to external appearances, thinking that their faith was revealed in that form.

7. Morality is of secondary importance to them. They are generally unable to get on with other people, are hurtful, speak cutting words, have no idea of tolerance and are crudely behaved. Yet our Prophet (saas) says: "I was sent only to complete proper moral virtues."

8. They have little conception of proper behaviour and good manners.

9. Another of their distinguishing features is that they look down on women and regard them as second-class citizens. Loving, respecting and admiring women are foreign concepts to them.

10. They have no comprehension of art and take no interest in any of the fine arts, and as if that were not enough they try to get of the matter by saying it is unlawful.

11. They are opposed to any form of novelty. This can be seen in their attitude to new technology or to any new means of preaching the faith (*).

12. All bigots maintain that the group they belong to is in the right. They are hostile to other groups. Because of their fanaticism they have no hesitation about offending their brothers in religion, and they immediately reject any piece of information coming from them, no matter how excellent. They envy their successes and seek to hinder their service.

 In fact, however, all human beings are created with a predisposition to have faith, to be virtuous and to live by religion.

"...Allah has given you love of faith and made it pleasing to your hearts, and has made disbelief, deviance and disobedience hateful to you. People such as these are rightly guided..." (Surat al-Hujurat, 7)

 They imagine that every negative form of behaviour they exhibit actually stems from the faith itself and abandon their intent right at the very beginning. There arises a coldness towards religion, and even a hostility. All Muslims find themselves denigrated as "backward and superstitious," and the blame for all sorts of adversity is sought to put on a Muslim.

The importance of this subject is as follows: Because the public lack a proper knowledge of Islam, they begin judging the faith as manifested in the person of bigots. It is also a fact that anti-religious press and broadcasting organisations play a major role here by deliberately encouraging this and equating Islam with bigotry and backwardness.
What the public actually hate is not Islam, but the bigot mindset. People are hesitant, from a concern that "If I start living by my faith will I end up like them?" It is therefore most important that everyone describing themselves as Muslims should have a sound knowledge of the faith, read about and research it, and learn what they do not know from people with specialist knowledge. All Muslims must strive to be enlightenencourd and cultured. Never abandoning tolerance, they must call on people to know Allah and eage them to be virtuous.

Hazrat Mahdi's (as) Restoration of the Faith to Its True Form

In his book "The Conquests of Mecca," Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi says: "... Hazrat Mahdi (as), will restore the faith exactly as it was in the time of the Prophet (saas). He will eliminate schools from the world. No school will be left apart from the true and genuine faith. He will have enemies who imitate doctrinal scholars. Because unlike the imams of the school of Hazrat Mahdi (as), they will be displeased when they see his laws, but will be unable to oppose them. His open enemies will be scholars of jurisprudence (religious law). Because they will have no more esteem in the public eye.
(Portents of Doomsday, 186-187)

Hazrat Mahdi (as) will implement the faith in exactly the same way as our Prophet (saas). In other words, his guides will be the sublime book of Allah, the Holy Qur'an, and the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas). The practices, words, decrees and Sunnah of our Prophet (saas) will occupy an important place in Hazrat Mahdi's intellectual struggle. In addition, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will rule and labour among Muslims with only the Holy Qur'an, Almighty Allah's revealed scripture. He will eliminate denominational differences among Muslims and do away with many beliefs and forms of worship not in the original form of the faith, having been added onto it later. People will be amazed by this state of affairs they have never seen before, and some will even imagine that Hazrat Mahdi (as) is trying to do away with their religion.
 
"Hazrat Mahdi (as) will leave behind no customs that have been introduced into faith and that do not form part of its original essence."  (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 43)

"Hazrat Mahdi (as) will leave no customs that have been introduced into faith and that do not form part of its original essence in tact. He will implement the observances of the faith in the End Times as did the Prophet (saas)." (Portents of Doomsday, p. 163)    

Imam Rabbani says on this subject:
When Hazrat Mahdi (as) promises in the future to seek to increase the worth of the faith and resuscitate the Sunnah, some people who imagine that things outside the essence, the heart of the faith are actually the commandments of the faith will be amazed and say:

-This person (Hazrat Mahdi (as)) wishes to eliminate our faith and destroy our law.  (Letters of Rabbani, 1/535)

In the same way that our Prophet (saas) kept Islam alive at the beginning, so Hazrat Mahdi (as) will keep Islam alive at the end.
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 27)

Naim ibn Hammad relates from Hazrat Ali (ra):
Our Prophet (saas) said:
Hazrat Mahdi (as) is descended from me. In the same way that Allah initiated this faith with me, so He will bring it to an end with him. And in the same way they were freed from polytheism by me, so they will be freed from corruption by him. (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p.20 )

The revelation that Hazrat Mahdi (as) "will rule contrary to the imams of the schools" shows that he will follow his own rules. Bediüzzaman says that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be a radiant personage, "the greatest expounder of Islamic laws," and the greatest renovator, and a judge, and Hazrat Mahdi (as), and a spiritual guide, and the chief of Allah's saints on Earth, and that he will be from the Ahl al-Bayt.  (Letters, p. 411)

There Must Be no Division in the Faith

Illustrative verses: 

"The various factions among them differed. Woe then to those who did wrong on account of the punishment of a painful Day! (Surat az-Zukhruf, 65)

"But they disagreed and split up, dividing into sects, each party exulting in what it had." (Surat al-Muminun, 53)

"If anyone desires anything other than Islam as a deen, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers." (Surah Al Imran, 85)

"Those who divide the Qur'an into little pieces." (Surat al-Hijr, 91)

"That is because Allah has sent down the Book with truth and those who differ from the Book are entrenched in hostility." (Surat al-Baqara, 176)

 The appropriate importance will be attached to the Holy Qur'an in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as). In that time, the Qur'an will stop being a book only opened occasionally but learned off by heart, and will be the most important reference books in people's regulating their lives. That is the meaning of the words "Hazrat Mahdi (as) will implement the faith as it was in the time of the Prophet (saas)."

The Mahdi's Close Helpmates

These viziers will be fewer than ten but more than five.
(Portents of Doomsday)

He will share the heavy burden of the nation's affairs with them. They will consist of nine people. 
(Portents of Doomsday, 187)

Abu Jafar narrates from Muhammed ibn Ali: 
Even before Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears a friend of his will encounter some of his followers and will ask, "How many of you are there?" They will reply, "There are 40 of us." Then he will ask, "What will you do when you see Hazrat Mahdi (as)?" and will receive the reply, "If he stays up in the mountains, we will stay there, too." At that this man will depart, but he will return the following night and say, "Take 10 of your leaders," and they will meet with Hazrat Mahdi (as).

Artah relates: 
...(The most numerous army in Hazrat Mahdi's (as) war against the Sufyan consists of 100 (one hundred) people.
Note; these two accounts exist in a manuscript copy of the Small Book of Portents of the Mahdi of the End Times in the Sulaymaniya Library. 

He will have 313 people, soldiers, under his command as in the Battle of Badir, and he will challenge those around. Because these 313 people are servants by night and heroes by day.
(Portents of Doomsday, 169)

It is reported from Muhammed ibn Hanafi (r.a.) that: 
...As clouds gather in the sky, Allah will muster a community around him. He will reconcile their hearts. There will be no grieving for those who are martyred, nor rejoicing at those who join them. Their number will be that of the people of Badir (313). In the same way that those of the past could not surpass them, so later men will fail to match them, and their numbers are those of the men who crossed the river with Talud.
(Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p. 57)

314 people, including women, will take the oath of allegiance to Hazrat Mahdi (as).
(Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 25)

Hazrat Mahdi's (as) army may consist of different parts, such as elite followers and the airs of the elite. It is possible that these different accounts refer to the numbers in their different ranks.
The fact that so few (313) people swear allegiance to Hazrat Mahdi (as) must be regarded as quite normal. That has been so in all periods of history. It was the case in the times of Prophet Nuh (as) and Musa (as). Twelve people believed in 'Isa (as). Our Prophet (saas) had very few believers at first. According to some reports, there were only 40 believers in the first six years of the prophethood.
 
When Talut marched out with the army, he said, 'Allah will test you with a river. Anyone who drinks from it is not with me. But anyone who does not taste it is with me - except for him who merely scoops up a little in his hand.' But they drank from it - except for a few of them. Then when he and those who had iman with him had crossed it, they said, 'We do not have the strength to face Goliath and his troops today.' But those who were sure that they were going to meet Allah said, 'How many a small force has triumphed over a much greater one by Allah's permission! Allah is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Baqara, 249)

  So when Our command came, and water bubbled up from the earth, We said, 'Load into it a pair of every species, and your family - except for those against whom the Word was preordained - and all who have faith.' But those who had iman with him were only few. (Surah Hud, 40)

Pharoah sent marshals into the city.These people are a small group;" (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 53-54)

  No one had faith in Musa except for a few of his people out of fear that Pharaoh, and the elders, would persecute them. Pharaoh was high and mighty in the land. He was one of the profligate. (Surah Yunus, 83)

 The Community That Will Struggle Until Doomsday

It is related from Muaviya (as) that:
Doomsday will not take place until a group from my community rule over all. These will pay no heed to those who abandon them, nor to those who help them. 
(Ramuz Al-Ahadith, 472) (Hanbal al-Musnad-Buhari-Muslim)

It is related from Muaviya ibn Kirra (as) that:
A group from my community will continue to receive help until Doomsday. Neither will their being abandoned by those who depart from them do them any harm. 
(Ramuz Al-Ahadith, 472)

A group from my community will constantly mercilessly battle the foe to implement Allah's commandments and their opponents will never harm them. This state of affairs will continue until Doomsday.
(Portents of Doomsday, p. 286)

 
The above hadith reveal that one body from the Community of the Prophet (saas) will struggle for the truth until Doomsday. We already know from other hadith that shortly before Doomsday He will take the souls of believers and Doomsday will break over the unbelievers. Therefore, the Doomsday referred to here must be something else. Another account on the subject helps to clarify the matter:
 
From Muaviya ibn Jurra (r.a.)'s account: 
...A group from my community will continue to enjoy the victory of "the truth" until the war against the Dajjal. 
(Ramuz Al-Ahadith, 65) (History of Ibn Asakir -Abu Muaym)

As we have seen, the Doomsday referred to here actually means "the beginning of the war against the Dajjal." Another hadith reveals that this holy group that will struggle against the Dajjal is Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his followers.

Ahmad, Muslim, Ibni Jurayr and Ibni Hibban all relate from Jabir ibn  Abdullah (as): 
A group from my community will fight and be victorious for the truth. And when 'Isa (as) son of Maryam appears from the sky their leader (Hazrat Mahdi (as)) will say to him "Lead us in the salat (prayer)." But he will reply, as a blessing of Allah, to that community, "One of you is the leader of the others." (Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-Zaman, p.80)

From Hazrat Imran (ra):
A group from my community will continue in their struggle for the truth despite being victorious over their enemies. The last of them will wage war against the Messiah Dajjal.
Ramuz Al-Ahadith, p. 472 (Hanbal al-Musnad -Abu Dawud-Tabarani -Haqim)

 
 

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