As revealed by the Holy Qur’an, the world will one day face injustice of such immense proportions that it will threaten to engulf everyone of that time. In that age, even the pious ones will despair of justice and equality as they will be surrounded by inequity. A true believer at that time will recognize that the appearance of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) is close at hand and rejoice.
However, not everyone will comprehend the sense of justice that will be dispensed by the Mahdi. The paper will discuss the main traditions on the appearance of the Imam of the time and will focus on Imam Mahdi’s (A.S.) administration and dispensation of justice and equality when he reappears. Through a proper study and examination of the traditions preserved by primary Christian, Sunni, and Shia sources, this paper will also link the administration of the Islamic state under the Mahdi (A.S.) with the Qur’anic demand for a just social order.
Religious traditions on the appearance of Imam al-Mahdi (A.S.)
There are numerous traditions about the appearance of an awaited savior, which are evident in many religious sources, including the Christian Bible, as well as Sunni hadith and our own Shia tenets. The difference is in how the different religions interpret his appearance and what he will accomplish on this earth.
The Holy Bible, regardless of the fact that it was changed during the Tenth Century Council of Trent and in recent centuries, cannot hide the fact that there are many prophesies about the Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) contained within its pages. For our purpose, we will only concentrate on those chapters and verses dealing with Imam Al-Mahdi (A.S.). There are many such references, but these are some of the most apparent. For instance, in The Holy Bible by the Gideons (1978), Genesis Chapter 17, verse 20 states that “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly: twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation” (p.16). This lends credence to the fact that twelve imams are foretold arising from the progeny of Ishmael. It is a well known fact that our own Prophet Muhammad (Pbuhahf) is a descendant from Ishmael.
In Revelations, chapter 12, verse 1, it states, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Holy Bible by the Gideons, 1978, p.1282). In Fatima the Gracious, which was compiled by Abu-Muhammad Ordoni, he writes “As was narrated by Ibn Abbas, I heard Amir Al Mo’mineen, Ali (A.S.) say: Once the Messenger of Allah entered the house of Fatima and found her in a sad mood. So he said, “What has made you sad daughter? “ Fatima replied, “Father I remembered the gathering (day) and people standing naked on the Day of Resurrection.” He said “Daughter, surely it will be a great day. But Gabriel informed that Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, said that the first one upon whom the ground shall be split open is me, then your husband Ali ibn Abu Talib (A.S.), then Allah shall send Gabriel accompanied by seventy thousand angels and he will erect on your grave seven domes of light, after which Israfil will bring you three garments of light and stand by your head and say to you, “Oh Fatima bint Muhammad, rise towards your gathering place.” “You Fatima shall them rise secure from fear and veiled in privacy. Israfil will hand you the garments and you will wear them” (p. 279-280). Thus, we know that Fatimah az-Zahra (A.S.) spoke about not wanting to be resurrected without clothes and she was promised that she would be given clothes of light to wear on the Day of Judgment. We also know that hadith states that “Heaven lies under the feet of mothers” and who is both the Chief of the Women of the Universe and a mother? None other than our beloved Fatimah az-Zahra (A.S.). We also know from Chapter 12, verse 5 that her last, i.e. twelfth “child” was a male “who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Holy Bible by the Gideons, 1978, p.1282). This could possibly account for our Imam’s occultation.
n Revelations, chapter 12, verse 17, we learn about a dragon who was “wroth (mad) with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Holy Bible by the Gideons, 1978, p.1282). As we all know, the last descendant, or “remnant of the seed” of Fatimah Zahra (A.S.) is our Imam al-Mahdi (A.S.) or, as he is also called, Baqiyatullah, meaning the remnant.
Revelations, chapter 19 is also an interesting chapter in that from verse 11 to 21, it talks about a man that sat on a white horse that came from heaven. This man is referred to as Faithful and True (verse 11), The Word of God (verse 13), and King of Kings (verse 16). According to a tradition in Ithbat al-Hudat (Volume 2, p.533), Hudhayfa who was a companion of the Holy Prophet (Pbuhahf) stated that the Holy Prophet (Pbuhahf) said that “…The Mahdi of this community is among us. Beware! Truth is with them and they are with truth…” We also note the Al-Mufaddal bin Umar al-Jufi stated that he heard Imam Sadiq (A.S.) say “When God gives the one who will rise (qa-im) permission to come forth, he will go up on the pulpit and summon the people to himself. He will commend them to God and summon them to His truth” (Kitab Al-Irsha, p.551). These then are two references to the “true” that bears out the veracity of this verse. It also states that “in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (verse 11) because of the “wrath of the Almighty God” (verse 15).This means that through the use of justice and due to his high moral values, he makes war against those who are against God and His dictates. It also states that he will smite (hit) the nations with a sharp sword and that he shall rule them with a “rod of iron”, which could mean that he is unwilling to go against his moral principles, and therefore must do what he deems correct and just in the eyes of God. Another verse speaks about how “the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army” (verse 18). His army was from Heaven, wore white clothes, and rode white horses (verse 14). Finally in verses20-21, it speaks about how he was victorious in ridding the world of false prophets and the kings and their armies that fought against him. It is also interesting that the Holy Bible mentions that this man will have a “sharp sword” when we know that Muslim traditions also state that Imam al-Mahdi (A.S.) will wield God\’s Sword, also known as Zulfiqar.
Last, but not least is a Psalm in the Holy Bible which has a corresponding Qur’anic verse. In the Holy Bible by the Gideons, Psalm 37 states:
Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land… For the wicked shall be cut off: but those who wait for the Lord shall possess the Land…But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace…The wicked plotteth against the just…The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever…The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous shewth mercy, and giveth…For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off…The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way…I have not seen the righteous forsaken, not his seed begging bread…He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed…For the Lord loveth judgement and forsaketh not his saints…The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever…The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgement…The law of God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide…The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him…The Lord will not leave him in his hand…Wait on the Lord and keep his way, and he shall exult thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut of, thou shalt see it…I have seen the wicked in great power…Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found…Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace…But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the end of the wicked shall be cut off…But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble…And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him (Verses 1-40).
in the Holy Qur\’an, we find suras and ayats that remarkably correspond to the above Psalm. For instance, one of the most astonishingly similar suras and ayats is that of Sura al-Anbiya, verse 105 in which it states, “Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Musa): My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth.” Another Sura, an-Nur, verse 55 states that “Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion- the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (Lived), to one of security and peace…” These are just a few of the suras and verses which have been revealed that correspond with what was written in the Holy Bible. No matter how much the wicked or kafirs, of which the entomological meaning is to hide the truth, have covered up of the truth, Allah (SWT) reveals what He wishes of the truth. “Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge?” (The Holy Qur’an, Sura Al-E-Imran, ayat 71).
Thus, even though the Holy Bible has undergone a great many transformations since it was delivered and numerous attempts have been made to hide the truth, there are still many references to Imam al Mahdi that have made themselves apparent to those with knowledge.
Source : The Scientific Committee of the International Conference of Mahdism Doctrine