The Muslim must understand that evidence from both the Qur’aan and Sunnah are of the same level and must be followed equally. Both the Qur’aan and Sunnah are Revelation (Wahy) from Allaah and must be followed. Allaah says concerning His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (interpretation of the meaning):“Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed” [al-Najm 53:4-3]
It was narrated from al-Miqdaam ibn Ma’dikarib that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Beware! I have been given the Qur’aan and something like it, yet the time is coming when a man replete on his couch will say: ‘Keep to the Qur’aan; what you find in it to be permissible treat as permissible, and what you find in it to be prohibited treat as prohibited.’” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4606; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani – may Allah have mercy on him – in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 3848).
Imam al-Mahdi will be a righteous man from among the descendants of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who will appear at the end of time, through whom Allaah will set mankind’s affairs straight, and will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as it was filled with wrongdoing and oppression. His name will be the same as the name of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and his father’s name will be the same as that of the father of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). So his name will be Muhammad ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Mahdi, or Ahmad ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Mahdi. He will be descended from Faatimah the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), through al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him). The sign of his appearance will be widespread corruption and the earth being filled with wrongdoing and aggression.
There are saheeh ahaadeeth that indicate that the Mahdi (peace be upon him) will appear at the end of time. He is one of the signs of the Hour. Among these ahaadeeth are the following:
- Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: “At the end of the time of my ummah, the Mahdi will appear. Allaah will grant him rain, the earth will bring forth its fruits, he will give a lot of money, cattle will increase and the ummah will become great. He will rule for seven or eight years. (Mustadrak al-Haakim, 4/557-558; he said: this is a hadeeth whose isnaad is saheeh, although it was not reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. Al-Dhahabi agreed with him, and al-Albaani said: this is a saheeh sanad, and its men are thiqaat (trustworthy), Silsilat al-ahaadeeth al-saheehah, vol. 2, p. 336, hadeeth 771)
- ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: ‘The Mahdi is one of us, a member of my family. Allaah will guide him in a single night.’” (Musnad Ahmad, 2/58, hadeeth 645, edited by Ahmad al-Shaakir, who said: its isnaad is saheeh; Sunan Ibn Maajah, 2/1367. This hadeeth was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, 6735). Ibn Katheer said: “This means that Allaah will forgive him, grant him help, inspire him and guide him, when he was not like this before.” (Al-Nihaayah, al-Fitan wa’l-Malaahim, 1/29; edited by Taha Zayni).
- Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: ‘The Mahdi is of my lineage, with a high forehead and a long, thin, curved nose. He will fill the earth with fairness and justice as it was filled with oppression and injustice, and he will rule for seven years.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitaab al-Mahdi, 11/375, hadeeth 4265; Mustadrak al-Haakim, 4/557; he said: this is a saheeh hadeeth according to the conditions of Muslim, although it was not reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. See also Saheeh al-Jaami, 6736).
- Umm Salamah said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) say: ‘The Mahdi is of my lineage and family, from the descendants of Faatimah.’” (Sunan Abu Dawud, 11/373; Sunan Ibn Maajah. 2/1368. Al-Albaani said that it is saheeh in Saheeh al-Jaami, 6734)
- Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: ‘‘Eesaa ibn Maryam will descend, and their leader the Mahdi will say, “Come and lead us in prayer,” but he will say, “No, one of them should lead them as an honour to this ummah from Allaah.”’” The version narrated by Muslim says: “… Then ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam (Peace be upon him) will descend and their leader will say, ‘Come and lead us in prayer,’ but he will say, ‘No, some of you are leaders over others as an honour from Allaah to this ummah.’” (Reported by Muslim, 225)
- Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: “He is one of us, behind whom ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam will pray.” (Reported by Abi Na’eem in Akhbaar al-Mahdi. Al-Albaani said it is saheeh; see al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, 5/219, hadeeth 5796).
- ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood reported that the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: “The world will not come to an end until the Arabs are ruled by a man from my family whose name will be the same as mine.” (Musnad Ahmad, 5/199, hadeeth 3573. Another version says: “… whose name is the same as mine and whose father’s name is the same as my father’s.” Sunan Abi Dawud, 11/370).
The ahaadeeth concerning the appearance of the Mahdi reach the level of Tawaatur in meaning (tawaatur refers to a hadeeth which was narrated by so many people through so many isnaads that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed on a lie). The imaams and scholars of this ummah have stated this, and a few of their comments are quoted below:
- Al-Haafiz Abu’l-Hasan al-Aabiri said: “The mutawaatir reports from the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) describing the Mahdi are very many. They state that the Mahdi will be of his family, that he will rule for seven years, that he will fill the earth with justice, that ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam will emerge and help him to kill the Dajjaal, and that he will lead this ummah in prayer and ‘Eesaa will pray behind him.”
- Muhammad al-Barzanji said, in his book al-Ishaa’ah li Ashraat al-Saa’ah: “The major signs and the signs that will be immediately followed by the Hour: these signs are many, of which the Mahdi will be the first. Know that the ahaadeeth that have been narrated about him in various reports are numerous.” He also said: “You know that the ahaadeeth which speak of the Mahdi, his appearance at the end of time, and his lineage and descent from the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) via Faatimah reach the level of tawaatur in meaning, so there is no point in denying them.”
- Al-‘Allaamah Muhammad al-Safaareeni said: “There are so many reports which speak of the appearance of the Mahdi that they reach the level of tawaatur in meaning; they are very popular among the scholars of Sunnah and have become part of their faith.” Then he quotes a number of ahaadeeth and reports about the appearance of the Mahdi and the names of the Sahaabah from whom they were narrated: “Many reports were narrated from the Sahaabah whose names were mentioned and others whose names were not mentioned, may Allaah be pleased with them all, and from the Taabi’een after them, all of which proves that this is definitive knowledge. Belief in the appearance of the Mahdi is obligatory, as it has been confirmed by the scholars and is listed among the beliefs of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.”
- Al-‘Allaamah al-Mujtahid al-Shawkaani said: “The ahaadeeth that we have come across that speak of the awaited Mahdi reach the level of tawaatur, including fifty saheeh, hasan and da’eef munjabar ahaadeeth. There are mutawaatir without a doubt; indeed they are more mutawaatir than others, according to all the standards of usool. There are also many reports from the Sahaabah that speak about the Mahdi and that reach the level of marfoo’, so there is no room for individual opinions in such an issue.”
- Al-‘Allaamah al-Shaykh Siddeeq Hasan Khaan said: “Even though there are different versions of reports concerning the Mahdi, they are so many that they reach the level of tawaatur in meaning. They are to be found in al-Sunan and other books of Islam.”
- Al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ja’far al-Kattaani said: “The conclusion is that the ahaadeeth narrated concerning the Mahdi are mutawaatir, as are the ahaadeeth concerning the Dajjaal and the descent of ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam, upon whom be peace.” (See Ashraat al-Saa’ah by Yoosuf ibn ‘Abdullaah al-Waabil, pp. 195-203).
The appearance of these three signs, the Mahdi, the Dajjaal and the descent of ‘Isa (peace be upon him), will undoubtedly happen, as is indicated in the saheeh reports. These three signs will appear within a short space of time, as ‘Isa (peace be upon him) will pray behind the Mahdi, and will kill the Dajjaal, as was reported in the saheeh ahaadeeth. As for when this will happen, Allaah knows best about that. As to whether it will happen soon, the texts seem to indicate this, but the question of whether it will be in our lifetime or after is part of the Unseen, which no one knows except Allaah. The Muslim should seek refuge with Allaah from fitan (tribulations) in general, and from the fitnah (tribulation) of the Dajjaal in particular; he should pray to Allaah, openly and in secret, to help him remain steadfast in this world and the next.
The appearance of the Mahdi, who will appear before the Dajjaal and before the descent of ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). This is indicated by the hadeeth of Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “ ‘Eesa ibn Maryam will come down and their leader the Mahdi will say to him: ‘Come and lead us in prayer.’ But he will say: ‘No, one of them should lead the others in prayer, as a sign of honour from Allaah to this ummah.’: Narrated by al-Haarith ibn Abi Usaamah in his Musnad. And Ibn al-Qayyim said in al-Manaar al-Muneef (1/147): its isnaad is jayyid. The hadeeth is narrated with a mawsool isnaad in Saheeh Muslim, without naming their leader. Muslim’s report says: “… ‘And ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) will come down and their leader will say to him: ‘Come and lead us in prayer.’ But he will say: ‘No, one of them should lead the others in prayer, as a sign of honour from Allaah to this ummah.’” Narrated by Muslim, 225. So ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) will follow the Mahdi in prayer, which indicates that the Mahdi will appear before ‘Eesa, and ‘Eesa will kill the Dajjaal, which indicates that the Dajjaal will appear during the time of the Mahdi.
Do nothing (No Da’wah, No Jihad, etc), wait for Mahdi???
This miserable situation in which the Muslim ummah is today is one that is disgraceful, and every Muslim is responsible for setting things straight. But some Muslims fail to strive, relying on hope and avoiding doing anything to set the ummah’s situation straight, on the grounds that it was caused by those who came before us and will be set right by those who come after us. So they fail to strive to support the religion of Allaah, on the basis that the Mahdi is the one who will do that.
The Muslim should not wait for the emergence of the Mahdi, rather he has to strive hard and devote his efforts to support Islam, and to do whatever he can for the religion. He should not hope and wait for the emergence of the Mahdi or anyone else, rather he should correct himself, his family and the people around him, so that when he meets Allaah he meet Him having done his best.
“It will not be in accordance with your desires (Muslims), nor those of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof, and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allaah” [al-Nisa’ 4:123]
This negativity from which some Muslims are suffering nowadays is not something that could be prescribed by the Islamic texts, rather it is a misunderstanding, incapability and laziness, and an evasion of responsibility.
Allaah has commanded the Muslims to strive for this religion and to call people to it, to debate with the kuffaar and invite them to Islam with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and to fight them until there is no longer any shirk on earth. Allaah says (Interpretation of the meaning):
“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah), and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allaah), then certainly, Allaah is All-Seer of what they do” [al-Anfaal 8:39]
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to make preparations for everything, drawing up a plan, as happened during the hijrah, when he prepared mounts and a guide, and chose a traveling-companion, and he decided on a place to hide until the pursuit had cooled down, and he shrouded all of that in secrecy. This is how he acted in all his campaigns, and this is how he trained his noble companions. They used to prepare themselves with all kinds of weapons. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered Makkah with his helmet on his head, although Allaah had said (interpretation of the meaning): “Allaah will protect you from mankind” [al-Maa’idah 5:67]
And when he traveled for jihad or Hajj or ‘Umrah, he took his provisions with him.
Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not permissible for the Muslims to ignore striving for Islam and the establishment of an Islamic state on earth, waiting for the emergence of the Mahdi and the descent of ‘Eesa (peace be upon them), out of despair or imagining that that is not possible before they come. This is a false notion and false despair. Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not tell us that Islam will not return or regain power on earth except at their time. It is possible to achieve that before they come, if the Muslims implement the means of doing that, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allaah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm” [Muhammad 47:7]
“Verily, Allaah will help those who help His (Cause)” [Al-Hajj 22:40]
You should be aware that some liars have fabricated ahaadeeth about the Mahdi, and others have even claimed to be he, or that he belongs to a group other than Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. Some of these “false mahdis” have tried to deceive the slaves of Allaah for some worldly gain and to distort the picture of Islaam. Some have started movements and revolutions and gathered those people and supporters whom they were able to deceive. Then they were destroyed, and their lies and falsehood were exposed. None of this affects the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah in the Mahdi, upon whom be peace, and that he will undoubtedly appear and rule the earth in accordance with Islamic Sharee’ah. And Allaah knows best.