Published on 30th
Identifying Al-Mehdi - Traditions & References
Seyed Dr Fadhil H Milani
report on the lecture given
e Ali, Harrow, Middlesex
the 15th Shaban 1418
is the list of traditions reported by Sunni and Shia sources about
the identification of Al- Mahdi':
The lmams are twelve in number, among whom the first is Ali b Abi
Talib and the last is the Mahdi - 91 hadith.
The Imams are twelve,
and the last one is the Mahdi - 94 hadith.
The Imams are twelve, nine among whom are the descendants of
Husayn, and the ninth is the Qa'im - 107 hadith.
Mahdi is from among the progeny of the Prophet (saw) - 389 hadith.
Mahdi is from among the descendants of Ali
('a). - 214 hadith.
Mahdi is from among the descendants of Fatimah ('a) - 192 hadith.
Mahdi is from among the descendants of Husayn
('a) - 185 hadith.
Mahdi is the ninth descendant of Husayn
('a) - 148 hadith.
Mahdi is among the descendants of Ali b. al Husayn
('a) - 185 hadith.
Mahdi is among the descendants of Imam Muhammad Baqir
('a) - 103 hadith.
Mahdi is among the descendants of Imam Ja’far Sadiq
('a) - 103 hadith.
Mahdi is the sixth descendant of Imam Sadiq
('a) - 99 hadith.
Mahdi is among the descendants of Imam Musa al- Kazim ('a) - 101
Mahdi is the fifth descendant of Imam Kazim
('a) - 98 hadith.
Mahdi is the forth descendant of Imam Ali Rida
('a )- 95 hadith.
Mahdi is the third descendant of Imam Muhammad Taqi
('a) - 90 hadith.
Mahdi is among the descendants of Imam Ali al- Hadi
('a) - 90 hadith.
Mahdi is Imam Hasan Askari’s
('a) son - 145 hadith.
The name of Mahdi’s father is Hassan - 148
The name and patronymic of the Mahdi will be that of the prophet's
name and patronymic - 47 hadith.
Birth of Imam Al-Mahdi in Sunni Books
group of Sunni historians have related the event of the birth of
Mahdi and have recorded his and his father's history in their
Muhammad b. Taiha Shafi1a writes: "Abu al- Qasim Muhammad b
Hasan was born in the year 255 AH in Samarra. His father's name
was Hasan Kbalis Among the titles (of this last lmam) are:
this statement he has related several traditions on the subject of
the Mahdi, with the concluding statement:
"These hadith -
reports confirm the existence of Imam Hasan Askari's son, who is
in concealment and will appear later. "(1)
Muhammad b. Yusuf, following his entry on the death of Imam Hasan
Askari, writes: "He did not have any child beside Muhammad-
It is said that he is the same as the awaited 'main (Imam Muntazar)."(2)
Ibn Sabbagh Maliki writes: " Section Twelve on the life of
Abu al Qasim Muhammad, Hujjat, Khalaf Salih, the son of Abu
Muhammad Hasan Khalis: He is the twelfth Imam of the Shia.
he has recorded the history of the Imam and has related the
traditions about the Mahdi. (3)
Yusuf b. Qazughli, after writing his account of the life of Imam
Hasan Askari, writes: “ His son's name is Muhammad, and his
patronymic is Abu Abd Allah and Abu al - Qasim. He is the proof of
God’s existence, the Master of the Age, the Qa'im and the
Muntazar. The Imamate has come to an end with him." Then he
reports traditions about the Mahdi. (4)
Shablanji in the book entitled Nur al - absar, writes:
"Muhammad is the son of Hasan Askari. His mother was a slave
girl by the name of Narjis or Sayqal or Sawsan. His patronymic is
Abu al- Qasim. The Twelver Shi'ites know him as: Hujjat, Mahdi,
Khalaf Salih, Qa'im, Muntazar, and Master of the Age.” (5)
Ibn Hajar, in his al- Sawa'iq al- Muharriqa, following the
biography of Imam Hasan Askari writes: "He has not left a son
besides Abu al- Qasim, who is known as Muhammad and Hujjat. That
boy was five years old when his father died.” (6)
Muhammad Amin Baghdadi in the book entitled: Saba'ik al -dhahab
writes: “Muhammad, who is also known as Mahdi, was five years
old at the time of his father's death."(7)
Ibn Khallikan relates in his biographical dictionary Wafayat al-a'yan:
"Abu al Qasim Muhammad b. al-Hasan al- Askari is the twelfth
Imam of the lmamiyya, that is the Twelver Shi'ites. The Shi’ites
believe that he is the one who is the awaited Qa'im and the Mahdi-"(8)
Rawdat as'- safa Mir Khwand writes: "Muhammad was the son of
Hassan. His patronymic is Abu al-Qasim. The lmamiyya acknowledge
that he is the Hujjat, the Qa'im and the Mahdi."(9)
Sha'rani writes in his al- Yawaqit wa al- Jawahir: "Mahdi is
the son of Imam Hasan Askari. He was born on the fifteenth night
of Sha'ban, 255 AH. He is alive and will remain so until he will
emerge with Jesus. Now it is 957 A.H. He is, thus, 703 years
Sha'rani, quoting Ibn Arabi's Futuhat makiyya, section 366,
writes: "when the earth will be filled with tyranny and
injustice the Mahdi will rise and fill the earth with justice and
equity. He will be among the descendants of the Prophet arid from
the line of Fatimah. His grandfather will be Husayn, and his
father will be Imam Hasan Askari, the son of Imam Ali Naqi, the
son of Imam Muhammad Taqi, the son of Imam Ali Rida, the son of
Imam Musa Kazim, the son of Imam Jafar Sadiq, the son of Imam
Muhammad Baqir, the son of Imam Zayn al - Abidin, the son of Imam
Husayn b. Ali b. Abi Talib."(11)
Khwaja Parsa in his book Fasl as' khitab writes: "Muhammad,
the son of Hasan Askari, was born on fifteenth night of Sha'ban,
255 AH / 870 CE. His mother's name was Narjis. His father died
when he was five years of age. From that time until now he is in
occultation. He is the awaited Imam of Shi'a. His existence is
well established among his companions, trusted associates and
family. God will prolong his age as He has done in the case of
Elijah and Eliash."(12)
Abu al- Falah Hanbali in his Shadharat al - dhahb and Dhahabi in
al- Ibr fi khabar min ghabar writes: "Muhammad is the son of
Hasan Askari, the son of Ali Hadi, the son of Jawad, the son of
Ali Rida, the son of Musa Kazim, the son of Ja'far Sadiq, 'Alawi,
Husayni. His patronymic is Abu as' Qasim arid the Shi'a know him
as Khalaf Salih, Hujjat, Mahdi, Muntazar, and the Master of the
Age (Sahib al- Zaman)."(13)
Muhammad b. Ali Hamawi writes: "Abu as'- Qasim Muhammad
Muntazar was born in Samarra."(14)
short, besides all these above intentioned Sunni scholars there
are numerous others who have recorded the birth of Imam Hasan
Askari's son. (15).
al-su'al (1287 AH edition), p.89
al-muhimma (Second edition), p.273 and 286
al-absar (Cairo edition), p.342.
al-a’yan (1284 AH edition), Vol.2, p.24
al-safa, Vol.3, p.143
al-jawahir (1351 AH edition), Vol.2~ p.143
As cited in Yanabi
al-mawadda, Vol.2, p.126.
Shadlharat al- dhabab (Beirut edition), Vol.2, p.141;
khabar min ghabar (Kuwait edition), Vol.2, p.31.
mansuri, microfilm copy of the Moscow manuscript, folio
See the references compiled in the volume Kashf al-astar, by
Muhammad Taqi Nuri and Kifayat al-inuwahhidin by Tabarsi,
especially volume 2.