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THE

CONCEPT

OF THE

MAHDI

AMONG

AHL

AL-SUNNA

Suhaib Hasan

Thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the degree of Ph.D.

Department of Theology

Faculty of Arts

The University of Birmingham

October 1991

"The

Concept of the Mahdi

among Ahl

al-Sunna"

SYNOPSIS

The Mahdi, "the

one", has been

guided

popularly

awaited throughout

extremely

parts: the

Islamic history as a just and pious leader

the methodology

Introduction,

reign

over the

who would be

successful during his

investigate the concept of the Mahdi among AN

Muslims.

This study aims to

al-Sunna according to

is divided into five

of the traditionists, and

Parts One, Two and Three, and the Conclusion.

The Introduction,

with the earliest written Sunni sourceson the subject of the Mahdi.

these, the most important for the

which is divided into five sections, deals initially

Of

subject of this study is Kitab al-Fitan

which

only exists in

of Nu`aim b. Hammad (d. 228 AH),

form,

manuscript

and reasonsare given for choosing this particular collection as a

A brief

summary of the opinions held

is

and lists of

then

given,

the idea of the Mahdi on this

main points

study.

rejected

in the form of Appendices. Further, the

and difference

between the Sunnis and the Shiites

substantial basis for this

by various scholars with regard to the Mahdi

scholars who either endorsed or

issue are provided

of agreement

concerning this concept are presented.

Because the idea of the Mahdi has been firmly

rooted in the minds of

the Muslim masses for

history have claimed this title for

individuals throughout Islamic

centuries, many

themselves or others and based

movements, whether political or otherwise, on it; concise accounts of thesefigures are also included in the Introduction.

The main body of this study is based around a selection of one hundred

and forty-six

Musannaf

the subject of the Mahdi: thirteen from al-

al-San än

(d.

ahadith on

of `Abd

(d. 211), one hundred and

al-Räzzaq

twenty-two from the above-mentioned Kitäb al-Fitan, and eleven from

the collections of various prominent later traditionists, such as Ahmad

b. Hanbal (d. 241), Ibn Maja

273), Abn Däwnd (d. 275) and

Tirmidhi

(d. 279).

Part

One, which is divided into four

chapters, contains the English

summary of the

translation of the text of each hadith, and ends with a

distinctive features of the

Mahdi as portrayed by these texts collected by

the end of the third century AH.

Part Two, which is divided into

six chapters, is devoted to the analysis

to the Hadith.

given and analysed according

the criticism

of

al-Hadith,

are repeatedly

to

Each isnad is

of these al adith.

principles laid down by the traditionists for

Since

known as Mustalah

these principles,

the

referred to in

course of this analysis, an exhaustive introduction

the discussion on the alladith. Although the isnad

authenticity is

al-Mustalah precedes

and text of each

judged,

hadith is the ultimate basis on which its

the historical

aspects of the ahädith, so favoured by

in the form

of critical

the

reviews of the

orientalists, are also treated

writings

Mahdi.

of two prominent European writers on the subject of the

The Conclusion

depicts the Mahdi in the light of those ahadith which

are found to be authentic, leaving aside all narrations which fail the test

of authenticity.

The above-mentioned ahädith are given in full in the original Arabic in

Part

Three.

The whole study, excluding the Arabic text in Part Three, consists of sixty-five thousand words.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. David Kerr, former Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Selly

Oak College, who was a great help to me as I embarked on this study

five years ago;

to Dr. Jorgen S. Nielsen, for his valuable supervision

after the departure of Dr. Kerr to the U. S.A.; and to Dr. M. Ibrahim

Surti, who honoured me with his suggestionsand guidance while I was in the final stagesof compiling this thesis.

I would also like to thank my son, Usama, and his colleague, Farhat

Abbas, for typing the manuscript, a laborious task which confined them

to the computer desk for many days and nights.

Khola deserves my deepest appreciation for her effort in going through

my work and correcting my English.

Finally,

my daughter

I wish them all successand a happy future.

Notes on Tynogrpv.

Transliteration

and Arabic

Terms

A. Unlike the

each Arabic

name preceded by the

Schacht's

For

way of

example, the

or

`b.':

normal practice of mentioning

where

appropriate,

`al-' if

definite article `al-'

dropping it before namesmost commonly used in this study.

following

I have followed

they are not preceded by `ibn'

names appearwithout

Hasan,Husain, Tirmidhi,

ShafiTand their like.

As for hamzat al-wasl (the

hamza of continuity), it hasbeen retained,e.g. in `Abd

al-Rahm'gn,except in two cases:

(i) where it is

preceded by Abu; in this case, it is written ase.g. Abü 1-Hasan, not

Abu al-Hasan;

(ii) where `Abd precedesthe Divine Name,i. e. `Abdull1h, not `Abd AllAh.

B. The following common Arabic terms are left unitalicised: hadith, ahadiih, isnäd, asänid,shaikh.

C. The Arabic of Mecca and Medina (i. e. Makka and Madfna

is

respectively)

followed,

from Arabic.

except when thesewords do not occur aspart of a quotation translated

D. SomeArabic termscommonly used in this study are as follows:

fitna (pl. fitan):

trial, trouble, affliction.

S.A. S.: Sall Alläh `alaih wa Sallam, i. e. may Allah have mercy upon him and blesshim (the ProphetMuhammad).

Shaikh: the teacherof a reporter of hadith.

tarjama:

biographical notesabouta reporter of Hadith.

Umma .: nation, people; esp.the Muslim nation.

E. The words badfth, isnäd and shaikh are used with their Arabic plurals, i. e. ahädrth,asänidand shuy'ukhrespectively.

F. The Arabic translation of The Atlas of Islamic History (compiled by Harry W. Hazard)is consulted for the conversionof Islamic dates(AH - After Hijra) to AD dates.

G. Where an isnädis given,the following convention is observed:

line stands for `an, i. e. the first

reporter reported from the second the text personally,

"on

the authority of Ibn

A

single

is

--- one but it

e.g.

Wahb."

not certain whetheror not heheard

`Nu`aim --- Ibn Wahb' means that Nu`aim says,

=== A double line stands for haddathanä

`Nu`aim

===

Ibn

Wahb'

informed/narratedto us. "

or akhbaranä, i. e. the first reporter

authority,

Nu'aim

says, "Ibn

Wahb

acknowledges having heardit from his immediate

e.g.

means that

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

A.

Preamble

B.

C.

D.

E.

Two Early Traditionists who transmittedahadithon the Mahdi The Difference between the Sunnis& the Shiites regardingthe Mahdi

Claimants to the Title of Al-Mahd(

Thosebelievedby othersto be the Mahdi

Appendix One:

A list of early

traditionistswho transmittedthe ahädiith

aboutthe Mahdi with their own asänrd

Appendix Two:

idea of the Mahdi Appendix Three: A list of Muslim scholarswho rejected the conceptof the Mahdi

Later

traditionistsand scholarswho wrote in supportof the

PART

ONE:

TRANSLATION

OF AHÄDITH

ON FITAN

ChapterOne:

ChapterTwo:

ChapterThree: Ahädith of Later Traditionists

ChapterFour.

Ahädith of `Abd

a1-Razz7aq b.

Hammann al-San 'RT (d. 211)

Ahädith of Nu'aim

b. Hammäd(d. 228)

Picture of the Mahdi from Ahädith collected by the endof the

third century

PART TWO:

ANALYSIS

OF THE AHÄDITH

ON FITAN

Abbreviations used in Part Two ChapterOne: RulesGoverning the Criticism of Hadith Introduction The Classification of Hadith Mustalah

FurtherBranches of

and Rijäl al-Hadith

ChapterTwo: Analysis of the Ahädith of `Abd

ChapterThree: Analysis of the Ah-adiith of Nu'aim

a1-Razz7aqal-San`ani

b. Hammäd

Tarjama of Nu'aim b. Hammäd

Hadith

Hadith

Uiadith nos. nos. 41-60 Hadith nos. 61-80 Ijadith nos. 81-100 Hadith nos. 101-122

nos. 1-20

21-40

ChapterFour. Analysis of the Ahädith of Later Traditionists

ChapterFive: An Historical Approach

Ahädi-th

concerningthe Mahdi

to the

D.S. Margoliouth, `On Mahdis and Mahdism' Wilfred Madelung, `Mahdi' Wilfred Madelung on the Hadith of Umm Salama

CONCLUSION

Numerical Summary of the Ahädith

analysed

Description of the Mahdi from theauthenticahädith Discussion of the inauthentic ahädith

Bibliography

PART

THREE:

THE

ARABIC

TEXTS

Page

1

2

5

8

13

31

36

38

42

43

44

47

70

73

78

79

81

81

84

104

110

120

121

132

142

151

159

167

175

184

194

194

202

213

220

221

221

222

228

240

INTRODUCTION

SECTION A

PREAMBLE

On Thursday, 1st Muharram 1400 AH / 20th November 1979, world

news bulletins carried an

of Islam. This

from Makkar_, the holiest

alarming report

place

has been reported by the Encyclopedia Britannica

episode

in its 1980 Book of the Year as follows:

"NOVEMBER

extremists.

20 Grand Mosque in Mecca attacked by Muslim

Several hundred armed Muslim extremists, some apparently

Arab nations outside Saudi Arabia, seized control of the

from

Grand

Mosque in Mecca while thousands were worshipping inside the

huge compound.

inside

Because the terrorists

barricaded

military

themselves units were

Islam's most sacred Shrine, Saudi

delayed in their counterattackuntil

religious authorities had ruled

almost two weeks of bloody

up

in the lower levels of

that such action was justified.

fighting to subduethe last invadersholed

the Mosque.

It took

More than 150

persons were said to have died

during the fighting.

The leader, identified by some sources as

Muhammad Abdullah

promised

kingdom

claimed to be the

al-Kahtani, reportedly

come

Islamic messiah who had

to establish Allah's

meant an end to

on Earth. To his followers,

this

Western influences in Saudi Arabia and adherence to strict

Islamic precepts. "'

What the writer

failed

of the above report

to appreciate was that

the

Muhammad `Abdulläh al-Qahtan did

Islamic "Messiah", but the awaited Mahdi who would fill

be

not claim

to

promised

the earth with

justice after it had beenfilled with injustice and tyranny. Both Sunni and

Shia

concept of which has prompted a great number of people to claim this

literature throng with extensive descriptions of this Mahdi, the

of Islam,

in different parts

times, this was

of the the first

authenticity of issue:

some

title throughout the fourteen centuries

Muslim lands. Nonetheless,in our contemporary

claimant of this nature, and rekindled the

this belief.

debate on the

The scholars of Islam were divided

on this

rejected the idea completely by labelling all those ahädith that speak of the

Mahdi

rejected the last claimant on the

as spurious, while others supported this belief

laid down in the texts for

vehemently but

not

fulfil

the

grounds that he did

the true Mahdi.

A detailed list of

criterion

these scholars and traditionists appears in the following introduction.

sections of this

2

The incident also moved the writer of these lines aswell to seek the oldest

an early collection of such

Sunni source on the Mahdi. In his

for

pursuit

ahädith, he came acrossa book entitled al-Maldh. im wa al-Fitan ft Zuhtr al-Gha'ib al-Muntazar by Radl al-Din Abt 1-Q57sim`Ali b. Mttsä b. Ja'far

The compiler

b. Muhammad b. Tawüs al-Häsani al-Husainr (d. 663 AH).

of this collection gave the following three sources for his work:

a) Kitäb al-Fitan by Nu'aim b. Hammäd al-Khuza

b)

dated307), and

c)

(d. 228),

Kitäb

Kitäb

by Abu Salih al-Salili b. Ahmad b. `Isä (manuscript

by Abü

Yah_ ya Zakariyya b. Yahyä b. al-Härith al-

.

al-Fitan

al-Fitan

Bazzaz (manuscript dated391).

The reference to Nu'aim b. Hammäd in this

Library,

copy

(no.

collection prompted the

of the British

405 folios.

author to trace this collection, which was found as a well-preserved

manuscript

under no. OR 9449 in the Oriental Section

following

London. It consistsof nine parts covering

135 folios,

A second

is kept at Atif Library

of this manuscript, consisting of

The

602), Istanbul, Turkey.

are prominent features of

thesetwo manuscripts:

i) The British manuscript is dated 607 AH by its scribe, Muhammad b.

Muhammad b. `Ali

al-Sairafi al-Ansar

who completed copying this work

Turkish

manuscript is given

date of the

,

at Mount Qasyun,Damascus. The

as 11 Rabi' al-Awwal, 687 AH.

ii)

There are four reporters

in the British whereas in the

and Nu'aim b. Hammäd,

five.

manuscript between the scribe

Turkish

manuscript, there are

iii) In the British manuscript, the whole isnäd from Nu'aim b. Hammäd to

his original

the

Turkish

Part I&

is

given, while the early part of the isnäd is omitted in

For example, the

isnffd of H. adith 62 (Chapter 2,

source

manuscript.

Chapter 3, Part II of this work) is given as follows in the British

manuscript:

Nu'aim === Abü `Umar --- Ibn Lihya'a --- `Abd al-Wahhab b. Husain --- Muhammad b. T habit --- his father --- al-Härith --- `Abdulläh b. Mas`üd.

However, in the Turkish manuscript, it appearsas follows:

Nu`aim === Abu `Umar, who refers back to `Abdullähb. Mas`nd.

3

iv) The texts of each hadith in the two manuscripts are identical.

This

study is based mostly

photocopy of the Turkish manuscript obtained from Istanbul legible.

on the British manuscript due to its

clarity;

the

was less

At al-Zahiriyya Library, Damascus, Syria, a third version of Kitäb al-

Fitan,

of selected ahädith by Sharaf al-Din Nasrulläh b.

a composition

b.

`Abd al-Mun'im

Shuqayyir al-Ta nükhi

(d. 683 AH), consisting of 124

folios, is also preservedunder no. 62, Adäb.

Kitäb al-Fitan of Nu`aim b. Hammäd is valuable because of all the sources, it contains the largest number of ahädith and athär on the issue of

the Mahdi: it has around three hundred and fifty

the Mahdi or the

third, fourth and fifth

sayings about the life of

his

appearance,mostly spread in the

events preceding

parts.

Owing to a sizeable number of repeated

author of this

paper has selected one

study,

which aims at

ahädith in this collection, the

hundred and twenty-two of the ahädith for this

distinguishing the authentic traditions from the unreliable ones.

4

SECTION B

TWO

EARLY

TRANSMITTED

TRADITIONISTS THE AHADITH

WHO ON THE

WITH

COLLECTIONS

MAHDI

THEIR

FORM

ISNADS

AND

THE

BASIS

WHOSE OF THIS

PAPER

The detailed tarjama (biography), with critical notes by the traditionists,

of `Abd al-Razzäq,compiler of al-Musannaf,

compiler of

each

and Nu'aim b. Hammäd, the

A brief introduction to

Kitäb

in

Part Two.

al-Fitan,

appears

traditionist is given below.

1. `Abd al-Razzäq b. Hammäm (d. 211)

Dhahabi(d. 748) says:

"`Abd al-Razzaq b. Hammm

b. Näfi`, the Häfiz (great preserver

AbU

of Hadith),

belongs through

master's tribe after being set free), al-San`äni.

books."2

Bakr, from the tribe of Himyar, to whom he

Wald- (i. e. a

himself

to his

slave attributing

He compiled many

His famous collection of hadith is known asal-Musannaf.

depends

`Abd al-Razzaq mostly

compiled

collection. Of 21033 ahffdith in

other than Ma'mar. `Abd al-Razzäq admitted having ahädith from Ma'mar. 3

upon his shaikh, Ma'mar b. Räshid, who

al-Razzäq in his few have

`,

which is totally

absorbed by `Abd

very

al-Jämi

al-Musannaf,

a source heard ten thousand

`Abd al-Razzaq

the chapter heading `al-

transmitted thirteen ahadithunder

Mahdi', and two under the chapter heading `al-Dajjal'.

2. Nu'aim b. Hammäd (d. 228)

Ibn Sa'd says:

"Nu'aim belongs to Marw, from the people of Khuräsän. He

ahädith in Iraq and Hijäz; then he came to Egypt

acquired many

where he

stayed until he left it during the caliphate of Abu. Ishäq

5

b. Härün.

Qur'an is created or not) but he refused to answer to their liking,

so he was imprisoned in 228 AH. "4

He was asked about the Qur'än (i. e. whether the

at Samarra, where he stayeduntil his death

Muslimab. Qäsim says:

"He was truthful, but with

many mistakes. He has many munkar aliädith

(malahim).

He

Qur'an: he used to believe that the

the one which is in the PreservedTablet (al-

which he was alone in reporting regarding the troubles

had an abominable opinion about the

Qur'an was of two kinds,

Lauh

hands

being the Word of Alläh, while the one which is in the

al-Mahfuz)

of the people is created. "

Al-Däraquini says:

"He is an Imäm in the Sunnah,but prone to a lot of speculation. "

Abu Ahmad al-Ijdkim says:

"He could be opposed in someof his ahädith. "5

6

Footnotes

and References for

Sections A-B

1 Encyclopxdia Britannica: Book of the Year 1980, p. 46

2 Ibn Hajar: Tadhkira al-Huf;

, 1:364

3 ibid, 1:190 4Ibn Sa'd: al-Tabagätal-Kubrä, 7:519

5 Ibn Hajar. Tahdhtb al-Tahdhib, 10:458-463

7

THE

AND

SECTION C

DIFFERENCE

BETWEEN

SHI'A

REGARDING

THE

THE

MAHDI

THE

SUNNIS

CONCEPT

OF

This

of the Mahdi among the

on the ahadith recorded by their sources. The study of the

study concentratesprimarily

on the concept

Sunnis, based

Shiite

concept would enlarge the scope considerably for the

viewpoints;

instead,

distinction

between the two

difference are mentioned

the points of agreement and

briefly as follows:

A) The points of agreement between the two are:

(i) that the

Mahdi

descends from the progeny of the Prophet, either

through Hasan or Husain;

(ii) that his name and his father's name are the same as those of the

Prophet and his father respectively;

(iii)

that he appearsat the end,of time; and

(iv)

that he is the leader of the Muslims when `Isä b. Maryam descends

from the sky.

B) The distinctive features of the Mahdi among the Shi`ites which are

confined to them are many and prominent; among them are

exclusively

the

following:

(i) The Mahdi is Abt 1-QäsimMuhammadb. al-Masanal-`AskarT, claimed

to be born in 256 AH and held to be the twelfth ImRm of the Shi`ites6. The namesof these twelve Imams are as follows, in chronological order7:

1. Abü 1-Hasan`Ali b. Abi Tälib al-Mustardi

2. AbU Muhammad al-Uasan b. `Ali al-Zaki

3. Abü `Abdulläh al-Husain b. `Ali

4. Aba Mul; iammad `Ali b. al-Uusain Zain al-'Abidrn

5. Abü Ja'far Mubammad b. `Ali

al-Bägir

6. Abii `Abdulläh Ja`far b. Mubammad

al-Sädiq

7. AbU Ibrahim Müsä b. Ja'far al-Käzim

8. Abü 1-Hasan`Ali b. Müsä al-Ridä

8

(d. 40 AH) (d. 50) (d. 61)

(d.

95)

(d.

114)

(d.

148)

(d.

183)

(d. 203)

9. Abü Ja'far Muhammad b. `Ali al-Jawäd 10.Abü 1-Hasan`Ali b. Muhammad

al-Hädi

11. Abn Muhammad al-Hasan b. `Ali al-`Askari"

12. Abü Muhammad b. al-Hasanal-`Askari`al-Mahdi

(d. 220)

(d. 254)

(d. 260)

(b. 256)

(ii) The alleged

Mahdi went into hiding five

after his birth at the

years

Samarra (Iraq) in 261 AH.

He had

been in contact with his

cave of

disciples through

messages during his "lesser occultation" which lasted

8

Then

he disappeared

for an indefinite

completely

The Shiites believe

for seventy years.

period which

is

known as the "greater occultation".

that he is still alive, as al-Khumaini confirms:

"More

have

than a thousand

passed since the greater

before

more may pass

Imäm."9

years

occultation of our Imäm Mahdi. Thousands

the circumstances demand the arrival of the awaited

(iii)

Muhammad Ridä al-Muzaffar says:

The Mahdi

appear, not known

will

to anyone except Allah.

"The Imämiyya

believe

the Mahdi,

is

that this

reformer,

a

particular person known as Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-`Askari,

who was

born in

256 AH and is still alive in accordancewith what

is proved from the Prophet and his household about his

in

accordancewith the mutawätir reports

It is not permissible that the

Imam

and

occultation.

any time. Even if the

promised

except

coming,

and

about his birth

Imämate terminates at

appear on the day

is hidden, he is to

by Alläh Almighty: a divine secretwhich no one knows

Allah Almighty. "lo

(iv) According to the doctrine of Raja

(Return), as Zanjah defines it,

"A people earlier will

of al-Hasan, to receive the reward of their support and rejoice

from

the friends

who died

and supporters

among

be resurrected at the appearanceof al-Qa-'im, the son

at

group, his enemies, will

revenge, such that they

They will be stamped with

the establishment of his rule. Another

also be resurrected; he will carry out his

receive a part of the punishment they deserve.

by his supporters (the Shiites)

and be

killed

humiliation and disgrace at the sight of his supremacy. " 11

To be morespecific, Muhammad al-Bägiral-Majlisi says:

9

"Ibn Bäbawaih

Bägir said: 'When the

reported in 'Hal al-Shärä'i'

Mahdi

appears

that Mubammad al-

he will bring 'A'isha to life

and inflict upon her the punishment.

" 12

He also narrates:

"When the Mahdi

open.

them

of the Prophet will

burst

the

appears,

Abü

grave

He will take

Bakr

and `Umar out of their graves,give

life and crucify them. "13

(v) The Prophet and `Ali will give pledgeto him.

A1-Majlisi states:

"Al-Nu`mäni

Muhammad,

from Muhammad

that he said, `When

reports

al-Bagir

the lir äm Mahdi

peace Allah will aid him

appears, the first one to give pledge to him, will be

be

with

him, then `Ali,

upon angels'. " 14

peace

be

upon him, and

(vi) The day the Mahdi was born is the greatest `rd (festival) for the whole of mankind.

Al-Khumaini says:

"His birthday -

may our souls be ransom to him - is one of the

Muslims and of the human beings as well,

biggest `Ids of the

becausehe will fill the earth with justice."15

(vii) He will

stand for justice and will

saints failed to achieve.

Äl-Khumaini states:

achieve what the prophets and

"The Imam Mahdi - peace be upon him - will strive to establish

justice throughout the world. He will succeed in

the

in their

is that there had been

achieving what

prophets and saints failed to achieve because of the obstacles

way.

The

reasonwhy Allah Almighty prolonged his age

no one among mankind, including

the

prophets, saints and the

fulfil

would

this

great

have

grandfathers of the Mahdi, who could

Imäm

Mahdi met his Lord, there

to establish

the

task. Had the

been no one

among mankind

principles of justice or to implement them in the world. "16

10

(viii) The Mahdi, also known as al-Qä im, will bring forth the

of the Qur'an as reported by `Ali.

copy

to

Sulaim b. Salama, who said:

Al-Kulaini

genuine

reports with his isnäd

"A man read to Abn `Abdulläh -

peace be upon

him - some letters of

When al-

the Qur'än different to those that

people used to read while I was

reading like this and read as the

listening. Abu `Abdulla-h said: `Stop

appears, he will

according

-

read the

to its limits

which `Ali

people read until al-Qä'im - peace be upon

Qä'im

Glorified,

him - appears.

the

Book

of Alläh,

Exalted and

bring forth the Mushaf

and will

peace be upon him - wrote'. "17

This, in short, is the conceptof the Mahdi according to Shiite

sources.

As for the distinctive characteristicsof the Mahdi according to the Sunnis,

them by differentiating

this study

will

aim to pinpoint

ahädith from those proved to

be weak or fabricated.

the authentic

11

Footnotes and References for

Section C

ý\`

ý:

6 Zirkili: al-I'läm, 8:353; Kabbäla:Mu'jam al-Mu'allifýtn, 13:97 7 Mu$ammädRidä al-Muzaffar: 'Agä'id al-Imümiyya, p. 62f 8 Shah'Abd al-'Aziz al-Dihlawi: Tuhfa Ithnä 'Ashariyya, p. 48 9 Al-Khumaini: al-Hukumät al-Islärniyya, p. 26

10 A1-Mu7, affar,

65; seealso about Muhammad b. al-Hasanal-'Askari as the Mahdi,

5:26

427

p.

al-Bustäni: Dä'ira al-Ma'ärif, al-Tabräsi: l'1äm al -Warä, p.

al-Färisi: al-Kawäkib al-Durriyya, p. 20

For occultation, seealso:

al-Kulaini: al-Kä, f, Kitnb al-Hujja, p.

Mubammadb. Ibrahün

340

al-Nu'mani: Kitäb al-Ghlba, p. 170

al-Tabra"si: I'läm al-Warä, p. 445

11 Zanjani: 'Aga-'id

229

al-Shia,

of

p.

To support the doctrine

Raj'a, the following verseof the Qur'ä'nis given a different

rendering:

o"ý

LLJ is

10

. rte

1

a.

j

/i

ýjw

ý.

fir

. j

%

týlý'

C

"Whether

we show you part of what we have promised them, or we causeyou

to die, to

us is their return, and then Allah will be a witness upon what they h,, ave (Q., 10 : 46)

been doing."

Al-Qimmi gave the following renderingwith his exegesis:

. 00

.ý".

It lä,

k ýo

11

d,

ý j-ýi

i.; ý ýj

% J ýýe-ýý.

Jý-ýcsw

-C jy1 " ýýl. p

Ri

0vJ--ý l:; J

--f

l9

.0ý:

. 41

oo

y

r, y:

tý ý

'

91

"Whether we

0 Muhammad,

part of what we have promised them of the

Mahdi) or we

die before that, to

to

causeyou

what they have been

show you,

Raj `a and the coming of al-Qä `im (i. e. the

us will be their return,

and then Alläh will be a witness upon

doing." (Tafstr al-QimmT,, 1:312)

12 MuhammadBägir al-Majlis% Hdgq al-Yagtn, p. 347

13 ibid, p. 360

14 ibid,

347

p.

15 Majalla al-Mujtama` (Kuwait), issuedated8/7/1980.

16 ibid.

17 Al-Kulaini: al-Käft,

4:452; seealso al-Tabrasi:al Ihtijäj

2:360

Jazä'in: al-Anwar alNu`mliniya,

12

1:224 and Ni'mat Alläh al-

', ý,.

ý ,.

ý.

CLAIMANTS

SECTION D

TO THE

TITLE

OF AL-MAHDI

The study of the sources has enabledus to

trace the following people who have

early

Islamic

period

to

present

to be the Mahdi, beginning from the

claimed

day. Brief accounts of their movementsare presented in chronological order.

1. S51ihb. Tarif a1-Barghaw5ti (d. 174/789)

.

Sälih

believed to be of Jewish

from

al-Barghawäti,

to

origin, was an emigrant

Andalus

himself to be the Mahdi as well as a

Morocco, where in the town of Tamasta in 127/744, he declared

prophet. He was able to establish his rule

years until 174 AH. 1

in Northern Africa, lasting for forty-seven

2. Muhammadb. `Abdulläh b. Hasanb. Hasanb. `Ali (d. 145n62)

Mu}iammad, a descendant of Masan b. `Ali, was born in 93 AH at Madina.

Because of his piety, he was known by the title

("the

of al-nafs

al-zakiyya

purified

soul").

The descendants of both Masan and Uusain had

to the caliphate. of Muhammad

claimed to have the sole right

himself

his grandfather Husain.

However, in the Uusaini line, Ja'far

preferred to engage

which

befell

al-$ädiq, a contemporary

in the

pursuit

of

b. `Abdulläh,

knowledge because of the dreadful fate

Mubammad was

was strongly

not to

by his father to claim to be the Mahdi, but this

encouraged

denounced by Ja`far al-S. ädiq, who advised Mubammad's father

path,

but the latter

saying, "By

rejected the advice,

of

good at his hand."2

continue in this

Alläh, I hope that Alläh will, bring forth a lot

Muhammadbegan spreading his claim during the reign

the last Umayyad

caliph,

`Abbasid caliph, did

but

of Marwän al-Himär,

al-Saffäh,the first

wasnot takenseriously. Even

Muhammad'sfather.

no morethanto admonish

During the reign

caliph'srule.

He

Muhammadbecame an open critic of the

of al-Mansur,

oncewrote to him,

"The right

(of rule) belongs to us. You (i. e. the Abbäsids) have

I

gained the support of our people and achieved rule because of us

13

deserveit more than you. "3

Because of the threat of retaliation from al-Man$ür, Muhammad used to hide

from the

was known

his

people and write to them instead, asking

generally as the promised Mahdi, while

support him. He

always stood by

them to his father

To combat this claim, al-Man$ür gave his own son the title of the

it

had been a political moves

side .4

Mahdi,

although he admitted to his courtiers that

Al-Mansur appointed

to

attempt

`Abdulläh was

capture

Ziyäd b. `Abdulläh as the Amir of Madina in a vain

Muhammad b.

caliph

the claimant. When the latter failed,

purpose.

appointed for this

When this also failed, the

brought a ruthless Amir known as Riyäh b.

`Uthmän al-Misri, who imprisoned

Mubammad's father, uncle and a number of cousins. However, Muhammad

on the move.

and his brother Ibrähim

After him to

performing

Knfa,

escaped arrest by being

continually

Hajj in the

year 1451762, al-Man$ür took the prisoners with

uncle Ibrähim

where `Abdulläh,

the father of Muhammad, his

and two of his cousins died in prison.

Eventually,

Muhammad

in Jumädah al-Akhira,

145 AH,

revolted openly

following a similar move by his brother

Ibrahim in Basra.6 He took control

of Madina, arresting Riyäh b. `Uthmän and setting the prisoners free, while

the people of Madina rushed to offer the oath of allegiance to him. His next

his

in Makka and Yemen,

although his

move was to appoint appointees in Egypt,

own governors Syria and Khurasan

were not accepted by the people.

Al-Mansür's reaction was to despatch a strong contingent

warriors under the leadership of `Isa b. Müsd

of four thousand

Madina. The fighting began

to

in Ramadan and Muhammad

participated gallantly in person, but was killed on

Thus his

short rule came to an end after two

the second day of the fighting.

months and seventeen days.? His brother Ibrahim met a similar fate in Küfa

after fighting `Isä b. Misä. 8

3. `Abdulläh b. Maimtln al-Ahwazi (d. after 200/815)

Maimün was a free slave of Ja'far Sadiq, the

sixth Imam according

governor of movement. 9

to the

Shi'as. For several reasons, he was imprisoned by the

while in `Abdulläh,

prison, he planned

to launch the Bäliniyya

of the Ismaili while claiming

previously a follower

them,

views and began preaching

His followers

prophet. movement flourished (Iran). Il

`Iraq, and

His son

and his

sectlO, adopted his father's

to be the Mahdi as well as a

were known as Qarämila or Muzdakiyya,

in Khurasän, Tabristan, Käshän and Qumm

mainly

14

4. Ahmad b. Ka, yväl al-Balkhi

Due to his

prolific,

scholarly writings

claimed to

people followed

him when

he

in both Arabic be the Mahdi. 12

and Persian, many

5. Hamdän b. Ash'ath al-Oirmiti (appeared around 270/883)

Hamdän, the son of a

Bätiniyya. In 264/877

from Küfa, was influenced by the teachings of the

proclaimed

himself to be the Mahdi, and

well-digger

or

278/891, he

Ahmad the son of Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya to be a prophet of Alläh.

Ini