The Sea of Najaf was known in the past to be a great sea, connected to the Persian Gulf from Al-Qurnah and Al-Basra’s side. Big ships were sailing along this river transporting food and goods. It was called “the Sea of Nay” and “Nay” in Persian means reed.
When the sea dried up, they said “the Sea of Nay dried up [Arabic: jaff]” so it was first called “Nay jaff”, then it was called “Najaf” for easier pronunciation, and this is the origin of the city’s name.
The Austrian traveller of Czechoslovak origin, Alois Mosel, mentioned that the drying up of the Najaf Sea began in 1887 and it was completely dried up in 1915 AD, during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II. During his reign, the main outlets of the Najaf Sea that streamed into it were blocked by giant rocks, therefore it was called “Abu Sakhir”.
The narration says: “If the Sea of Najaf dried up and a hundred years passed after that…” therefore, since the entire Sea of Najaf completely dried up in 1915, a hundred years after was the year 2015 (1915 + 100 = 2015 AD), which is the year in which Imam Al Mahdi (pbuhahf) appeared.
Thus, the prophecy of Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) about the Sea of Najaf was fulfilled, as was the prophecy of the Messenger of Allah (pbuhahf) about the death of the ruler of Hijaz.
Imam Al Mahdi (pbuhahf) did truly appear on that day, Friday 23rd January 2015, when he met the 12 Chiefs (pbut), who are the best of the people of the earth.