The Ahmadi Religion of Peace & Light

The Twelve Mahdis

Do Twelve Mahdis come after the Twelve Imams?

After reading the Will of Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf), most followers of Shia Islam will probably be bewildered by the concept of 12 Mahdis coming after the 12th Imam.

The truth is, even though the narrations of the Ahlulbayt (pbut) have clearly mentioned 12 Mahdis, this concept is not well-known amongst the mainstream Shias.

Let’s have a look at some of the numerous narrations that mention the 12 Mahdis. We’ll start with those that prove the existence of a 13th successor, the first of the Mahdis.

The Thirteenth Successor after the Prophet

The Prophet of Allah (pbuhahf) said: “Me and 12 from my sons and you, O Ali, are the balance of this earth, meaning its pegs and mountains, Allah has made us the pegs of the Earth so it does not become wrecked on its people, so if the 12 from my sons went away then the Earth would be wrecked on its people and they will not have vision/ insight.”

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, 5th ed., v.1, p.534, hadith 17

– Lamahat, Lutfullah Al-Safi, p.217, hadith 3

– Ma’saat Al-Zahraa’, Ja’far Mortada, 2nd ed., v.1, p.154

The Prophet of Allah (pbuhahf) said: “From my sons will be 12 Naqeeb (princes), they are noble, spoken to by angels and are conveyors of knowledge, the last of them is the Riser with the truth (Qa’im) who will fill the Earth with justice just as it was filled with oppression.”

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, 5th ed., v.1, p.534, hadith 18

Ahlulbayt Fe Al-Kitab Wal Sunna, Muhammad Al-Rishhary, 2nd ed., p.75, hadith 86

In the above narrations, the Prophet (pbuhahf) is clearly talking about 12 sons other than Imam Ali (pbuh), and he distinctly mentioned that they are his own sons. Obviously, Imam Ali was not his son. Therefore there is an Imam, other than the 12 known Imams, who comes after the Prophet (pbuhahf).

Several other hadiths also stated that these twelve are from the descendents of Ali, emphasising that the 12 will come after Imam Ali, thus pointing to the 13th successor.

Ali ibn Abi Talib (pbuh) said: “This nation (Ummah) will have twelve Imams of guidance from the descendants of its Prophet, and they are from me.”

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, 5th ed., v.1, p.532, hadith 8

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.36, p.381, hadith 8 and v.109, p.15

– Lamahat, Lutfullah Al-Safi, p.219, hadith 6

Al-Hassan ibn Ali (pbuh) said: “By Allah, the Prophet of Allah (pbuhahf) promised us that this matter shall be in the possession of 12 Imams from the sons of Ali and Fatima.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.27, p.217, hadith 19 and v.44, p.139, hadith 6

– Al-Anwar Al-Bahiyya, Abbas Al-Qommi, p.91

– Al-Insaf fi Al-Nas ‘an Al-A’imma Al-Ithnay Ashr, Hashim Al-Bahrany, p.185

Narrated that Jabir Al-Ansari said: “I entered upon Fatima (pbuh) and between her hands was a tablet that had the names of the successors from her sons, so she counted 12 names, the last of them is the Qa’im (pbuh), 3 of them were Muhammad and 3 of them were Ali.”

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, 5th ed., v.1, p.532, hadith 9

– Al-Khisal, Muhammad ibn Ali Babawayh ‘Al-Sadooq’, p.477-478, hadith 42

– Man La Yahdurhu Al-Faqeeh, Muhammad ibn Ali Babawayh ‘Al-Sadooq’, v.4, p.180, hadith 5408

Anas ibn Malik asked the Prophet (pbuhahf) about the disciples of Jesus (pbuh) then he narrated: 

…So I said: “Who are your disciples, O Messenger of Allah?” So he (pbuhahf) said: “The Imams after me, 12 from the lineage of Ali and Fatima, they are my disciples and the supporters (Ansar) of my religion, salutations and peace from Allah be upon them.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.36, p.309, hadith 149 

– Manaqib Aal Abi Taleb, Ibn Shahr Ashoub, 1st ed., v.1, p.258

– Lamahat, Lutfullah Al-Safi, p.220, hadith 7

Zurara narrated: I heard Aba Ja’far (meaning Imam Al-Baqir pbuh) say: “The twelve Imams, from the Family of Muhammad (pbuhahf), are all spoken to (by angels). They are all from the descendants of the Messenger of Allah and the descendants of Ali ibn Abi Talib. Verily, the Messenger of Allah (pbuhahf) and Ali (pbuh) are the fathers.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 26, p.72, hadith 16 and v.36, p.393, hadith

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, 5th ed., v.1, p.531, hadith 7

– Lamahat, Lutfullah Al-Safi, p.216, hadith 2

The Fifth Son from the Seventh

Imam Ali (pbuh) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (pbuhahf) said: 

“O Ali, you are from me and I am from you, and you are my brother and vizier, so if I die, hatred towards you appears in the chests of the people. And there will be after me a silent disastrous Fitna, every “walijah” and “bitana” will fall in it. And that is when your shia lose the fifth son from the seventh of your sons. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth will grieve for his loss! How many believing men and women will be grievous and anxious and confused when he is lost! … “

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 51, p.108-109, hadith 42 

Who is “the fifth son from the seventh” son of Imam Ali (pbuh)? First let’s count and see who is the 7th son, then we will know who is the 5th from the 7th. 

1st son is Al-Hassan

2nd is Al-Hussain

3rd is Ali Zainul Abideen 

4th is Muhammad Al-Baqir

5th is Ja’far Al-Sadiq

6th is Musa Al-Kadhim 

7th is Ali Al-Ridha   

 

So the 7th son is Imam Ali Al-Ridha (pbuh). Let us see, who is the 5th from Imam Ali Al-Ridha (pbuh):

1st is Muhammad Al-Jawwad

2nd is Ali Al-Hadi

3rd is Al-Hassan Al-Askari 

4th is Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan Al-Mahdi 

5th is The first of the 12 Mahdis, the 13th successor.

The Begotten from the Eleventh of Imam Ali’s Sons

Al-Asbagh ibn Nabata said: I went to the Prince of the Believers Ali ibn Abi Taleb (pbuh) and found him thoughtful drawing lines in the earth, so I said to him: “O Prince of the Believers, why do I see you thoughtful and drawing lines in the earth? Do you desire it?” He said: “No, by Allah, I have never desired it nor have I ever desired the dunya (world) for a single day, but I was thinking about a man who will be born from the eleventh of my sons, he is the Mahdi who fills it with justice and equity just as it was filled with oppression and injustice. There will be confusion and an absence for him, people will go astray in it, and some others will be guided in it.” So I said: “So how long will the confusion and absence be?” So he (pbuh) said: “Six days, or six months, or six years…” 

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, 5th ed., v.1, p.338, hadith 7

– Al-Ghayba, Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan ‘Al-Toosi’, 3rd ed., p.165, hadith 127 (Online book: p.189)

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 51, p.118, hadith 18

The 11th son of Imam Ali is Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan Al-Mahdi. So the man who is born from the eleventh is the 13th successor, the one who succeeds Imam Mahdi.

A ‘Mawla’ with Imam Al-Mahdi: An Assistant and a Successor

There is further proof that the 12th Imam, Muhammad Al-Askari Al-Mahdi, has a Mawla (master) who assists him before succeeding him in rulership.

Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) said: “The Companion of this matter will go into occultation in some of these regions” and he pointed with his hand to the direction of Thee-Towa, then he said: “Until before his emergence, the Mawla (master) who was with him will come forth until he meets some of his companions and asks: “How many of you are there?” They will reply: “We are forty men.” Then he will ask: “How will you be if you see your Companion?” They will reply: “By Allah, if he crumbles the mountains by us we will surely crumble them with him.” Then he will come to them and say: “Point to ten of your leaders or the best of you.” So they point to them for him, so he sets off with them until they meet their Companion, and he promises them the next night.”

– Al-Ghayba, Ibn Abi Zainab Al-No’mani, 1st ed., p.187, hadith 30 (Online book: p.185)       

– Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, Ali Al-Korani, 1st ed., v.5, p.26, hadith 1453 and p.307, hadith 1739

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 52, p.341, hadith 91

Aba Abdillah Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) said: “The Companion of the Matter has two occultations, one of them will be so long that some will say ‘he died’, some will say ‘he has been killed’ and some will say ‘he left’, until none from his companions remain on his matter except a few, and none of his offspring or anyone else will know his location except the Mawla that will succeed his matter.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 52, p.153, hadith

– Al-Ghayba, Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan ‘Al-Toosi’, 3rd ed., p.162, hadith 120 (Online book: p.186)

– Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, Ali Al-Korani, 1st ed., v.3, p.365, hadith 913 (Online book: p.358)

Habbah Al-O’rani said: The Prince of the Believers (pbuh) went out to Heera and said: “This will be joined to this” – and he pointed with his hand to Kufa and Heera – “until a cubit in between them will be sold in Dinars and a mosque shall be built in Heera with 500 doors, the Caliph of the Qa’im shall pray in it, because the mosque of Kufa will be small for them, and verily 12 just Imams will pray in it…”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 52, p.374, hadith 173 

– Tahtheeb Al-Ahkaam, Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan ‘Al-Toosi’, 1st ed., v.3, p.280, hadith 699 (Online book: p.253)

Imam Ali (pbuh) clearly talked about “the Caliph of the Qa’im”, meaning his successor, the caliph (or ruler) after him. So who is this vicegerent who will succeed the 12th Imam?

Saleh ibn Sahl narrated that Aba Abdillah (pbuh) said … [until he said] regarding the verse {Then We gave back to you the return victory over them and We reinforced you with wealth and sons and made you more numerous in manpower} (The Holy Quran, Al-Isra’ verse 6), he (pbuh) said:

“The emergence of Al-Hussain (pbuh) in the Return, with seventy men from his companions who were killed with him. On them will be the golden helmets, each helmet has two faces, and which lead the people to the fact that Al-Hussain had emerged among his companions, so that the believers may not doubt him and so that they know that he is not a Dajjal nor a Shaytan, rather the Imam who is amongst the people in that time. So if it settles in the believers’ hearts that he is Al-Hussain, and they do not doubt him and Al-Hussain informs them about the Hujja, the Qa’im amongst the people, and the believers believed him, then death comes to the Hujja. Therefore it will be that the one who gives him Ghusl, shrouds him, does Hunut to him, and places him in his grave is Al-Hussain. And no one succeeds a Vicegerent except a Vicegerent.” Ibrahim added in his speech: “Then Al-Hussain rules them until his eyebrows sag over his eyes.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.51, p.56, hadith 46

– Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, Ali Al-Korani, 1st ed., v.5, p.218, hadith 1642

Thus the ‘Mawla’ or the master who gathers the companions for Imam Al-Mahdi and will succeed him is Al-Hussain (pbuh) in his return, the first of the Mahdis, who will rule after him.

Further proof that Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip), the first of the Mahdis, is Al-Hussain (pbuh) in his return.

We have therefore confirmed the presence of a 13th successor after the Prophet (pbuhahf). Let us now read a few of the numerous narrations that clearly state “12 Mahdis” after the 12 Imams. These narrations reinforce what was previously stated in the Holy Will.

Twelve Mahdis after the Twelve Imams

Abu Baseer said: I told Al-Sadiq (pbuh): “O son of the Messenger of Allah, I heard your father say that after the Qa’im there shall be twelve Imams”. Then he (pbuh) said: “He had said ‘twelve Mahdis’ and did not say ‘twelve Imams’. However, they are from our followers (Shia), who shall call upon the people to support us and know our rights.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.53, p.115, hadith 21 and p.145, hadith 1

– Mukhtasar Basa’er Al-Darajat, Al-Hassan Al-Helli, 1st ed., p.211

Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) said: “Verily from us, after the Qa’im (pbuh), are twelve Mahdis from the sons of Al-Hussain (pbuh)”.

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.53, p.148, hadith

– Mukhtasar Basa’er Al-Darajat, Al-Hassan Al-Helli, 1st ed., p.49

– Montakhab Al-Anwar Al-Modi’aa, Bahaa Al-Din Al-Najafi, 1st ed., p.354  (Online book: p.404) 

Imam Ali son of Al-Hussain (pbuh) said: “The Qa’im rises from us (meaning the Mahdi) then will be after him twelve Mahdis (meaning from the Imams from his offspring)”. 

– Sharh Al-Akhbar Fe Fada’el Al-A’imma Al-Atthar, No’man Al-Tamimi Al-Maghriby, 2nd ed., v.3, p.400, hadith 1281

Abi Al-Hareth Bilal ibn Farwa narrated that the Prophet (pbuhahf) said: “This Ummah will not perish until it is ruled by 12 Caliphs, all of them are from the Family of the Prophet, all of them work/act by the truth and the religion of guidance. Two of them, one rules 40 years and the other 30 years”.

– Sharh Al-Akhbar Fe Fada’el Al-A’imma Al-Atthar, No’man Al-Tamimi Al-Maghriby, 2nd ed., v.3, p.400, hadith 1282

A supplication by Imam Al-Rida (pbuh): 

“O Allah send your prayers upon Muhammad the Mostafa (the Chosen one), and Ali Al-Mortada, and Fatima Al-Zahraa, and Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain and upon the ‘Rashideen’ Imams (rightly guided) from Aal Taha and Yassin… O’ Allah send your prayers upon the guiding Mahdis, the ‘Rashideen’ (rightly guided), the virtuous, the good, the pure, the righteous …” 

 – Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.81, p.209 

 – Al-Fiqh Al-Mansoob Lil-Imam Al-Rida (A.S.) “Fiqh Al-Rida”, Ali ibn Babawayh, 1st ed., p.109

Those twelve that come after the Mahdi were also mentioned in Sunni books.

Badr Al-Din Al-Ayni Al-Hanafi said: “It is possible that there will be 12 after the Mahdi who emerges in the End Times…” [until he says:] “Then his son rules after him, and so with that there will be 12 kings, each one of them is an Imam Mahdi.

– Umdat Al-Qari’ Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari, Badr Al-Din Al-Ayni Al-Hanafi, v.6, p.466

“He said as part of a long passage: Abu Al-Hussain ibn Al-Munadi: “It is possible that the meaning of the hadith “There will be 12 Caliphs” that this will be after the Mahdi, who emerges in the End Times, for I found in the Book of Daniel, when the Mahdi dies, five men will rule after him from the sons of the elder grandson, then five from the sons of the younger grandson, then the last of them passes the caliphate to a man from the sons of the elder grandson, then his son rules after him, and so with that there will be 12 kings each one of them is an Imam Mahdi.” 

– Fath Al-Bari Sharh Sahih Bukhari, Ibn Hajar Al-Askalany, v.13, p.182 

– Kashf Al-Moshkil Min Hadith Al-Saheehayn, Abi Al-Faraj Abdel Rahman ibn Al-Jawzy, v.1, p.453

All these narrations, from both Sunni and Shia sources, are in fact additional pieces of evidence to prove the statement that was mentioned in the Will: “O Ali, there will be twelve Imams and after them there will be twelve Mahdis”

To all those who are questioning the authenticity of the Will or are having doubts that this statement was falsely added, how can you explain all these other narrations that point to the exact same statement?! The Will is indeed the ‘protection of misguidance’ as described by the Prophet himself.

There are, in addition, other narrations that even describe the rank of these twelve Mahdis.

The Twelve Mahdis are Imams

The ‘Imamate’ is a rank that is higher than ‘Messengership’, meaning that an Imam is actually at a higher rank than all the prophets and messengers. As was stated in the Will, the 12 successors after the Prophet (pbuhahf) were all Imams. However, what about the 12 Mahdis?

The Prophet (pbuhahf) mentioned the Mahdi (pbuh) and what Allah brings of goodness and victory through him. So he was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, all this Allah gathers for him?” He said: “Yes, and what is not from him during his lifetime and days, will be in the days of the Imams after him from his offspring”.

– Sharh Al-Akhbar Fe Fada’el Al-A’imma Al-Atthar, No’man Al-Tamimi Al-Maghriby, 2nd ed., v.2, p.42, hadith 410

Habbah Al-O’rani said: The Prince of the Believers (pbuh) went out to Heera and said: “This will be joined to this” – and he pointed with his hand to Kufa and Heera – “until a cubit in between them will be sold in Dinars and a mosque shall be built in Heera with 500 doors, the Caliph of the Qa’im shall pray in it, because the mosque of Kufa will be small for them and verily, 12 just Imams will pray in it.”

I said: “O Prince of the Believers, will the Kufa mosque which you describe accommodate the people at that time?” He said: “Four mosques will be built for him, the Kufa mosque is the smallest, and this one, and two other mosques at the outskirts of Kufa from this side and that side” and he pointed with his hand towards Al-Basriyeen and Al-Ghariyeen.

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 52, p.374, hadith 173 

– Tahtheeb Al-Ahkaam, Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan ‘Al-Toosi’, 1st ed., v.3, p.280, hadith 699 (Online book: p.253)

– Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, Ali Al-Korani, 1st ed., v.3, p.112, hadith 651 (Online book: p.111)

From Abdullah ibn Umar, that the Messenger of Allah (pbuhahf) said: “Rejoice, for the days of the tyrants are about to end, and after them there will be Al-Jaber with whom Allah will rectify the nation of Muhammad (pbuhahf), the Mahdi, then Al-Mansoor (the Victor), then a number of Imams who are Mahdis.”

The author wrote a comment in the book saying:

“This is what Abdullah did not say except after hearing it from the Prophet (pbuhahf) or after it was reported to him, because this is from the news of what is to come and no one says that except he who has knowledge from Allah SWT. The Mahdi and the Victor (Al-Mansoor) and those after them, who are also guiding Imams, Allah shall accomplish for them what He promised in His Book and what was promised through the tongue of His Prophet (pbuhahf), by His Strength and Might.” 

– Sharh Al-Akhbar Fe Fada’el Al-A’imma Al-Atthar, No’man Al-Tamimi Al-Maghriby, 2nd ed., v.3, p.400, hadith 1283

On a side note, this last narration also points out that ‘Al-Jaber’ (the Mahdi) is followed by ‘Al-Mansoor’ (the Victor), and Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) had also narrated that the Victor shall emerge to this world and he is Al-Hussain (pbuh). So in other words, the 12th Imam Al-Mahdi is followed by Al-Hussain (pbuh), the first of the Mahdis, then they are followed by a number of Mahdis, who are Imams, just as stated in the Will.

In addition to the narrations, there are several Duaa’s or supplications that Shia Muslims recite mentioning the Mahdis, and they point to the fact that they are Imams! Let’s have a look at these well known supplications:

Supplication: “O Allah cherish Your guardian, the one who rises with Your matter Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan (pbuhahf) in this hour and in every hour, as a patron, a protector, a leader, a victor, an evidence, and assister; until you accommodate him on earth being obeyed, and allow him to enjoy it lengthwise and breadthways, and make him and his offspring the inheriting Imams.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 94, p.349 

– Mikyaal Al-Makaarim, Mirza Muhammad Taqi Al-Asfahany, 1st ed., v.2, p.41 (Online book: p.35)

Supplication: “Peace be upon his successors and the Imams from his sons, O’ Allah send your prayers upon them and accomplish their hopes, and increase their lifespan, and cherish their victory, and fulfil for them what you have assigned to them of your affairs, and make us their supporters and Ansar of your religion…”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v. 99, p.228

Imam Al-Rida (pbuh) would pray for the ‘Companion of the Matter’ with this supplication: “O Allah provide him in himself, his family, his sons, his offspring and his Ummah … [until he says] O Allah send your prayers upon his successors and the Imams after him…” 

– Musnad Al-Imam Al-Rida (A.S.), Azizullah Utaridy, 1st ed., v.2, p.36-37

It might seem contradictory how these hadiths and duaa’s are mentioning the sons or the offspring of the Mahdi, the 12th Imam, while other hadiths state he doesn’t have sons from his loin. How can we explain this apparent contradiction?

Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) said: “Verily, 2000 years before Allah SWT created the bodies, He made brothers between the souls in the Shadows. So when our – AhlulbaytQa’im rises, the brother inherits his brother in the Shadows, and he does not inherit his brother from the physical birth.”

– Mustadrak Al-Wasa’il, Al-Mirza Al-Nouri, 1st ed., v.17, p.186, hadith 1

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.58, p.79

Therefore at the time of the Qa’im (pbuh), the inheritance is based on the soul world and not the physical world. So when we read for example “the Imams from his sons”, it is referring to his sons in the soul world thus, there is no contradiction in the words of the Ahlulbayt (pbut).

These narrations clearly demonstrate the rank of the 12 Mahdis. They are Imams and it is obligatory upon the people to follow them and to obey them. They are the rope of Allah in this day and age that will help guide us back to Him SWT.

The Twelve Mahdis are Qa’ims

The term ‘Qa’im’ means a Riser, it is a title given to someone who rises with the truth. 

Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) said: “If the Riser rises he shall call the people to a new Islam and he shall guide them to a matter that was lost and which the people strayed from. Verily, the Riser was called a Mahdi [a Guide] because he guides to a matter which was lost, and he was called a Riser because he rises with the truth.”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.51, p.30, hadith 7

The Imams have confirmed that they are all Risers (Qa’ims) and Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) said:

We are all Qa’ims (Risers) by the command of Allah, one after the other, until the Companion of the Sword comes forth. So if the Companion of the Sword comes, he will come with a matter other than what was.” 

– Al-Kafi, Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulaini, 5th ed., v.1, p.536, hadith 2

So the question is, what about the 12 Mahdis? They are Mahdis, who guide the people back to the path after they’ve gone astray, however they also rise with the truth. Narrations point to the fact that there are several Qa’ims after the 12th Imam (who is known to be the Qa’im for the Shia Muslims).

Aba Bakr Al-Hadramy asked Aba Ja’far (pbuh): “Which of God’s places are best after the Haram of Allah and the Haram of his Messenger?” He said: “Al-Kufa O Aba Bakr, it is the pure land. In it are the graves of the prophets and the messengers, and other than the messengers, and the truthful vicegerents. In it is Masjid Suhail where Allah hasn’t sent a prophet except that he prayed inside it. From it the justice of Allah shall appear, and in it will be His Qa’im and the Qa’ims after him, and they have the ranks of the prophets, the vicegerents and the righteous ones.”

– Wasa’il Al-Shia, Al-Hurr Al-Amili, 4th ed., v.5, p.255, hadith 6476

– Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, Ali Al-Korani, 1st ed., v.3, p.302, hadith 839 (Online book: p.296)

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.53, p.148, hadith 8

The supplication for Ziyarat Imam Al-Mahdi (pbuh): 

“Peace be upon you, O Proof of Allah upon his creation, and his Caliph on his land, and his light in his sky and earth, and the caller to his sunna and to his impositions … Peace be upon you my Mawla the son of my Mawla, my master the son of my masters and upon your successors, the Qa’ims of the matter after you. Peace be upon you and upon them and upon all the Imams.” 

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.99, p.227

Therefore, we can conclude that all the Mahdis are Qa’ims. This is further verified by this narration:

Aba Hamza narrated that Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) said: “O Aba Hamza, verily from us after the Qa’im are eleven Mahdis from the sons of Al-Hussain (pbuh)”.

– Al-Ghayba, Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan ‘Al-Toosi’, 3rd ed., p.478, hadith 504. (Online book: p.498)

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.53, p.145, hadith 2

–  Mukhtasar Basa’er Al-Darajat, Al-Hassan Al-Helli, 1st ed., p.38

After reading this hadith we will automatically think there is a contradiction in the narrations of Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh), as he (pbuh) also said: “Verily from us, after the Qa’im (pbuh), are twelve Mahdis from the sons of Al-Hussain (pbuh)”, as mentioned earlier. Some might even think it is a misprint. The truth is, both hadiths are correct, he (pbuh) was just referring to different Qa’ims! 

When he (pbuh) said “after the Qa’im are twelve Mahdis he was referring to the 12th Imam, who will be followed by 12 Mahdis as the Will stated. However, when he (pbuh) said “after the Qa’im are eleven Mahdishe was referring to the 1st of the Mahdis, who will be followed by eleven other Mahdis.

If anything, this hadith actually proves that the Mahdis are also Qa’ims, because the words of the Ahlulbayt (pbut) will never be contradicting or misleading.

Now, let’s have a look at this exceptionally important narration that demonstrates more than one point.

Aba Abdillah Ja’far Al-Sadiq (pbuh) said that the The Commander of the Believers (pbuh) said in a long hadith: “If the Qa’im rises in Khorasan, and dominates over the land of Kufan and Al-Millatan, and passes the island of Bani Kawan, and a Qa’im from us rises in Jaylan, and the Ibber and Deylaman answer him, then appeared for my son Turkish banners scattered across the countries and were between here and there. If Basra was destroyed and the Prince of the Princes rose in Egypt”. Then he (pbuh) told a long story, then he said: “If the thousands were prepared and the rows were lined and the ram killed the sheep, there rises another, and the rebel rises and the infidels perish. Then the awaited Qa’im and the unknown Imam will rise, he has the honour and the preference, and he is from your sons O Hussain, there is no son like him. He will appear between the two corners in ragged clothes. He will appear upon the Two Weighty Things (Al-Thaqalain: Quran and Ahlulbayt) and will clear the world of every evil. Blessed is he, who lives until his (the Qa’im’s) age and witnesses his days.”

– Al-Ghayba, Ibn Abi Zainab Al-No’mani, 1st ed., p.283-284, hadith 55  (Online book: p.281-282) 

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.52, p.235-236, hadith 104

It clearly shows that there are more than one Qa’im present at the same time, they rise from different places, paving the way for the Holy Qiyam (the Holy Rise). This is what we acknowledge, these Qa’ims are the 12 Mahdis in this day and age, and they play a pivotal role to give victory to the Proof of Allah Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan Al-Askari (pbuhahf).

This narration also points to an important character, the ‘awaited Qa’im and the unknown Imam’.

 

The Awaited Qa’im and the Unknown Imam

The narration stated:

“Then the awaited Qa’im and the unknown Imam will rise, he has the honour and the preference, and he is from your sons O Hussain, there is no son like him. He will appear between the two corners in ragged clothes. He will appear upon the Two Weighty Things (Al-Thaqalain: Quran and Ahlulbayt) and will clear the world of every evil. Blessed is he, who lives until his (the Qa’im’s) age and witnesses his days.”

This awaited Qa’im is from the sons of Al-Hussain. This is an interesting point to reflect upon because as we just read in the hadith, there are more than one Qa’im present at the same time. So why was it explicitly mentioned that this awaited Qa’im is from the sons of Al-Hussain, what about the rest? And why is he in particular the awaited one?

These questions were all answered when Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip) revealed the identity of this awaited Qa’im. He is the Qa’im of the Family of Muhammad (pbuhahf), the Second Mahdi Aba Al-Sadiq Abdullah Hashem (fhip).

He is the soul son of Imam Ahmad Al-Hassan (fhip), who is Imam Al-Hussain (pbuh) in his return, “there is no son like him”. He is the ‘awaited Qa’im’ whom all the prophets, messengers and Imams yearned to return in his time, in order to support him and give him victory. 

Imam Al-Sadiq (pbuh) was asked: “Is the Qa’im born yet?” He replied: “No, and if I get a chance to be with him I shall serve him for the rest of the days of my life.”

– Al-Ghayba, Ibn Abi Zainab Al-No’mani, 1st ed., p.252, hadith 46  (Online book: p.250)

He is the one who returns with the souls of all the prophets, messengers and righteous ones. The ‘Companion of the Sword’, who rises with the 10313 men and 50 women to fulfil God’s promise and establish the Divine Just State, in which the rule of God is implemented. The one whom the Ahlulbayt (pbut) commanded us to go to, even if crawling on ice.

The Prophet (pbuhahf) said: “… If you see him then pledge allegiance to him even if crawling over ice, for verily he is the Caliph of God, the Mahdi.”

– Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al-Mahdi, Ali Al-Korani, 1st ed., v.1, p.425, hadith 294 (Online book: p.427)

– Kanz Al-Ummal, Al-Muttaki Al-Hindi, v.14, p.263, hadith 38658.

In conclusion, 12 Mahdis surely succeed the 12 Imams, as the Prophet (pbuhahf) had written in his Holy Will. These 12 Mahdis are the Imams of our time, they are Mahdis who guide the people back to the straight path and they are Qa’ims who rise with the truth. 

The Imams and Mahdis are all one, they are all from the same light. The Mahdis are the return of the Imams and their spiritual progeny, therefore it is not for anyone to differentiate between them.

“O Salman and Jundub”, they said: “Labbayk (At your command) O Prince of Believers, prayers of Allah be upon you”. He (pbuh) said: “I bring back life and I cause death by the command of my Lord, and I can tell you what you ate and what you store in your houses by the command of my Lord, and I know the consciences of your hearts, and the Imams from my children (pbut) know and can do this if they please and want, because we are all one, the first of us is Muhammad, the last of us is Muhammad and the middle one is Muhammad, and we are all Muhammad, so do not differentiate between us …”

– Bihar Al-Anwar, Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi, 3rd ed., v.26, p.6-7 (Imam Ali’s Sermon: Al-Nooraniyya)

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