The doctrine of the Mahdi (Messiah) is not only shared by Muslims of all denominations, but is also held by non Muslims. All those with faith cling to the day when all of the harm, suffering that plague the earth will be removed and replaced by a pious man that shall implement justice across the globe, bring stability to the nations and peace and tranquility to all men.
If we look at the history of Islam from the death of the Prophet (s) till today we see all manner of charlatan have sought to mislead the masses by proclaiming themselves to be a Prophet or the Awaited Savior Imam Mahdi (as). All Muslims are in agreement that the doctrine of Prophethood had come to an end with the death of Prophet Muhammad (s). Muslims whatever their Sect have never rejected the doctrine of Imam Mahdi (as), rather both agree in the correctness of this doctrine.
Both are in agreement that this individual shall be responsible for spreading truth and justice upon the earth. Hadeeth literature also proves that one that denies the existence of the Imam (as) is a Kaafir. If a difference of opinion exists it is over the identity of Imam Mahdi (as). The majority Ahle Sunnah opinion believes that he (as) shall be born at a later date, and appears when Allah (swt) commands him to appear.
The Shi’a believe that he was the last of the 12th Imams (as) and is in occultation, and shall appear when Allah (swt) wants him to appear. For us the need for of an Imam for all generations at all times is an absolute necessity. We believe that Allah (swt) would not leave the believers without an Imam (as) upon the earth, and we believe that the very lifespan of this earth is linked to his lifespan. When his lifespan expires, the earth will likewise come to an end.
The earth depends on him (as) and when the veil of occultation is raised by Allah (swt) it will be through him that an earth destroyed by bloodshed and misery will be uprooted and restored to beauty and splendor, with the Kingdom of God on the earth. To this effect we have explicit authentic Shi’a traditions affirming what our Imam (as) shall attain when he reappears:Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from Hannan ibn Sadir from Ma‘ruf ibn Kharrabudh from abu Ja'far (a.s.) who has said the following. "We are only like the stars in the heavens. Whenever one star disappears (from sight) another one comes in view until you will point out with your fingers and make a gesture with your necks. Allah will cause your star to disappear from your sight. The descendants of ‘Abd al-Muttalib will all look similar as such that one would not know which is which. When your star will reappear then you must give thanks to Allah."
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from from his father from ibn abu "Umayr from abu Ayyub al-Khazzaz from Muhammad ibn Muslim who has said the following. "I heard abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) say, "The person in charge of this task (Leadership with Divine Authority) will disappear from public sight you must not reject it."
A number of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from Ali ibn al-Hakam from abu Ayyub al-Khazzaz from Muhammad ibn Muslim who has said the following. "When you would hear about the disappearance of your companion (Leader with Divine Authority) from public sight do not reject it."
A number of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from al-Hassan ibn Ali al-Washsha’ from Ali ibn abu Hamza from abu Basir from abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) who has said the following. "It is necessary for the person in charge of this task (Leadership with Divine Authority) to disappear from the public sight and in his disappearance form public sight he must remain away from public. How good is Tayba, the city of Madina, for dwelling and living with thirty people is not frightening isolation."
Through the same chain of narrators it is narrated from al-Washsha’ from Ali ibn al-Hassan from Aban ibn Taghlib who has said the following. "How would it be with you when a lagre scale attack would take place between the two mosques. Thereafter, knowledge will become obscure as the snake goes in to its hiding place. The Shi‘a (Muslims) will hold differences and one group will call the group liars and one group will spit onto the faces of the another." I then said, "May Allah take my soul in service for your cause, there will be nothing good in such conditions." The Imam (a.s.) said, "All goodness will be there." He said it three times.
Through the same chain of narrators it is narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from his father, Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from ibn Bukayr from Zurara who has said the following. " Al-Qa’im (the one who will rise with Divine Authority) will disappear before he will rise with divine power. He will suffer fear. The Imam (a.s.) pointed to his midsection, meaning thereby being murdered."
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Muhammad ibn al-Husayn from ibn Mahbub from Ishaq ibn ‘Ammar who has said the following. "Abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) has said, Al-Qa’im ((the one who will rise with Divine Authority) will have two disappearances. One of them will be for a short time and the other for a longer time. No one would know his place during the shorter disappearance except the special persons from his Shi‘a. During his longer disappearance no one will see him except very special persons from his friends."
A number of our people has narrated from Sa‘d ibn ‘Abdallah from Ayyub ibn Nuh who has said the following. "I said to abu al-Hassan al-Rida (a.s.), ’Isma‘il hope that you will become the incharge of this task (Leadership with Divine Authority). Allah will drive it to your control with the sword now that the pledge of allegiance is offered to you and currency coins are printed in your name." The Imam (a.s.) said, "There has been no one from us with whom letters had been exchanged, being pointed out with the gesture of fingers, questions asked and properties delivered to him but that he was murdered or died in his bed. (It will be as such) until Allah will raise for this task (Leadership with Divine Authority) a young boy from us whose birth place and upbringing would be unknown (to people) but not his ancestors."
Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from al-Husayn ibn Sa‘id from ibn abu ‘Umayr from Hisham ibn Salim from abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) who has said the following. "Al-Qa’im (the one who will rise with Divine Authority) will rise and he will not be obliged to any one under any covenant, agreement or oath of allegiance."
One would assume that a topic wherein both Sects are agreed on would not attract much need for disputes, unfortunately the followers of Mu’awiyah have still deemed it essential that this is also exploited to the Sunni masses as further evidence of the deviancy of the Shi’a. To enable this all manner of Nawasib has entered the arena desperate to incite hatred and violence against the Shi’a. The article ‘the myth of the Shi’I Mahdi’ is one such example, wherein the author has sought to mock and refute the Shi’a stance on Imam Mahdi (as). Azam Tariq then sought to take that hatred a stage further by especially citing those traditions that would appear the most extreme and disturbing to the Sunni masses, enabled through his usual method of tampering with Shi’a texts to create maximum hostility.In this article we shall seek to evidence the existence of Imam Mahdi (as) through reliance of Qur’anic verses, Hadeeth literature and Sunni texts. Thereafter we shall address the lies of Azam Tariq, and conclude with the spiritual aspect of our Imam (as).