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August 29, 2003 Speaker: Dr.

Israr Ahmed, Founder Tanzeem-e-Islami, Founder-President Markazi Anjuman Khuddamul Quran --------------------------------------------The Final Mujaddid (The Mahdi) & Allama Iqbal

In our times, two prominent and far-reaching tribulations, related to the Islamic creed, have emerged: (a) false claims to prophethood, and (b) rejection and devaluation of Hadith literature. Leaving aside the issue of false prophets, the second tribulation was initiated by Syyed Ahmed. The followers of Syyed Ahmed school of thought have either rejected the validity of the entire Hadith literature, or have devaluated and trivialized this second most sacred source of Islamic law. This attitude is strongest when it comes to the Hadiths concerning prophecies and future events. Much of the controversy revolves around two personalities mentioned in such Hadiths: (a) the emergence of a Perfect Reviver of Islam (Al-Mahdi), and (b) the reemergence of the Prophet Jesus (AS) a prophecy common among both Muslims and Christians. The role of the Mahdi is prophesized as the leader who will establish the Khilafah in Arabia; while Prophet Jesus (AS) is prophesized as the key player to help the Muslims dominate the whole of globe. The opponents of such Hadiths advance three arguments against the coming of the two personalities: Firstly, that such ideas have been propagated from Magianism to Judaism; from Judaism to Christianity; and from Christianity to Islam; hence, such ideas are not credible. My response to this allegation is that, if an idea has presence in so many faiths then this does not discredit it in any way; to the contrary, it strengthens it. As such, the very argument against the credibility of these Hadiths should be counted in their favor. Secondly, that based on these Hadiths, many people falsely claimed themselves to be the Mahdi or the Prophet Jesus. My response is that the wrongful attribution of an idea to oneself does not discredit the veracity of the idea itself. Otherwise, using the same line of argument, the opponents of prophetic Hadiths should reject the institution of prophethood because many people have falsely claimed prophethood for themselves. However, a false claim to prophethood does not invalidate the institution of prophethood. Likewise, the false claim to the person of the Mahdi or Jesus (AS) does not invalidate their emergence. Third argument put forth is that the prophetic Hadiths promote passivity and idleness in the masses. The response to this allegation is that there are many ways to promote idleness. In fact, this is a common disease among the people that they want to run away from responsibility and take the easy way out. This is a comfort zone for weak-willed. This disease was present even in the times of the prophet (SAW) in the form of the Hypocrites. On the same issue, Iqbal has stated in one of his couplets:

amal say farigh huwa musalman bana key taqdeer ka bahana (The Muslim has freed himself from action on the pretext of Qadr).

Based on the same argument, the concept of Qadr would also have to be doubted or rejected because Muslims become inactive and passive due to it.

In summation, none of the three arguments holds any premise for rejecting the emergence of the Mahdi or Jesus (AS).

As to the person of Al-Mahdi, there are two variations in this regard: one Mahdi is that of the Shiahs; he is their twelvth Imam who was concealed in a cave some thousand years ago and will appear sometime in the future. The Shiah conception of Imamate is that the Imams are innocent, absolved of sin. In contrast, the Ahl-e-Sunnahs conception is not that of Imamate, rather, that of Mujaddids. This is evident from a Hadith in which the prophet (SAW) explained that, at the head of each century, Allah (SWT) will send a Mujaddid who will revive the Deen. Important in this regard is the fact that all the previous Mujaddids have been partial, in the sense that each of them has revived some partial aspect of the Deen mostly related to epistemological and/or dogmatic issues. The perfect and complete Mujaddid (Mujaddid al-Kamil) shall be the last one whom we call Al-Imam Al-Mahdi. He shall be a complete Mujaddid for he shall establish the whole Deen that is, the Khilafah in the Arabian Peninsula, as was accomplished by the prophet Muhammad (SAW). Regarding the collection of Hadiths related to the Mahdi, twenty-four Hadiths were noted by Ibn Khuldun, although, none of them is reported either by Bukhari or Muslim. We, however, uphold six collections of Hadiths to be most authentic and the Hadiths related to the Mahdi etc. do appear in the other four collections. As such, they cannot be ignored or brushed aside as unimportant. Let us glance here at two of them. One Hadith relates:

The world shall not end until the land of Arabia is ruled by a man from my household (ahle-bait). His name shall be the same as mine. [Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawood]

The other Hadith mentions:

Upon the death of a ruler, a conflict will arise. Thereafter, a man will run away from Madinah and take refuge in Makkah. People will follow him and find him (hiding in Makkah). They will take Baiyah (oath of allegiance) on his hand, despite his reluctance, between alRukn (corner of the Ka`abah near the black stone) and the Maqam al-Ibrahim.

An army will be sent from Syria to quell the Mahdi, but Allah (SWT) will cause the army to sink beneath the land between Makkah and Madina. This will be the sign for all the Muslims that he indeed is the Mahdi, and Muslims will then accept him en masse. Before these events, another significant event must take place; that is, the Khilafah must first be established in the east of Arabia. This is also mentioned in a Hadith, that the forces will march to aid the Mahdi, from the east and help establish his government in Arabia. Presently, there are three countries situated, in the east of Arabia: Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hence somewhere in this area, the Islamic government must have been established before the emergence of the Mahdi (this will be so as nothing short of a true Islamic government will send forces to help the Mahdi, for they will be, in effect, fighting against the whole non-Muslim world). As to the views of Iqbal on the subject, on the one hand, we find Iqbal supporting Ibn Khaldun in his

denial of prophetic Hadiths related to the Mahdi; and we also find Iqbal negating outright the concept of prophetic personalities in his letters. On the other hand, we find in Iqbals poetry clear evidence in support of the Mahdi and such Hadiths. This contradiction is resolved by reflecting upon the fact that there were two aspects of Iqbals personality: the Iqbal of the day and the Iqbal of the night. Implication here is that during the night, poetry was revealed to him by way of inspiration: whereas, during the day, Iqbal took on the role of a rationalist philosopher. Hence, in his rationalist impulse, Iqbal inclined towards the rejection of Hadiths related to prophetic personalities; whereas the spiritually inspired Iqbal asserted the same. An instance of this assertion is apparent in the following couplet from Zaboor-e-`Ajam:

Khizr-e-Waqt az khalwat-e-dasht-e-hijaz aa-yad baroon Karwan zeen wadi-e-door-o-daraz aa-yad baroon (The leader of the time, from the solitude of the desert of Hijaz, shall emerge The caravan, from this far away valley, shall emerge).

Notice that by utilizing the concept of solitude and future emergence, Iqbal has encompassed both the Shiah and Sunni conception of the Mahdi. Another instance of Mahdis reference in Iqbals poetry is:

Meer-e-arab ko aee thandi hawa jahan say Mera watan wohee hai, mera watan wohee hai. (From whence the cool breeze reached the leader of arabia That nation is mine, that nation is mine). This couplet is based on a Hadith in which the Prophet (SAW) said that a cool breeze has reached me from Hind.

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