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Doctrine of Mahdaviyat: Book: Isbatur Rajat

Before the  birth of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) [255 A.H] eminent scholars and companions of Imams (a.s.) compiled a lot of books containing traditions about glad-tidings concerning reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).

It is a lamentable fact that most of these books were lost due to the contingencies of time and were unable to reach us thereby becoming extinct. The books that have reached us, due to grace of Allah upon us, include a book authored by a noble and eminent companion of Imam (a.s.), Fazl bin Shazan-e-Nishapuri and titled as “Isbatur Rajat’.

Janab Abu Muhammad Fazl bin Shazan bin Khaleel-e-Nishapuri was a revered companion of Imam Ali-un-Naqi (a.s.), an expert in Jurisprudence and polemics. The author died in 260 AH in the year coinciding with the death of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and commencement of occultation and vicegerency of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Due to this it be­comes evident that the aforementioned book is either written before 260 AH or at least in that year, and thereby the value of the book increases, because of it being ancient. This book plays a significant role in context of doctrine of Mahdaviyat.

In bibliographical books approximately eighty books of Fazl bin Shazan are listed. Out of these, two books, viz “AL-Ghaibat’ and “Isbatur Rajat’ deal with Imam Mahdi (a.s.) covering topics like occultation, its incidences, reappearance and so on. Janab Sayed Muhammad Mir Lauhi Isfehani (exp.1083 AH) in his book “Kefayatul-Mahdi” has referred to the book “Al-Gaibat” and has copied traditions from it. But unfortunately “Al-Ghaibat” is extinct and contents of this book can be had only from those sources which have used it extensively.

Also “Isbatur Rajat” has not reached us completely and only extracts from this book has emained. Sayed Bahauddin Ali Naili Najafi, author of book “Anwarul-Masfiyya” in ninth century compiled the extracts of the book “Isbatur Rajat” and a quite a few copies of it are available currently. Out of which one is available in library of Ayatullah ul Uzama Sayed Mohsin Al  akim (r.a.). Other is in library of Astaane-Quds-e-Razawi, Mashad-e-Muqaddas. All the copies date back to manuscript collected and written by Sheikh Hurre Amili (exp. 1104). We, by Allah’s will, desire to present a copy of it in this essay. This book contains traditions giving glad tidings about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and carries more weight as it is written before the death of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and it serves as a manifest proof for those who doubt the existence of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), as many uninformed writers accuse Shias of concocting the doctrine of Mahdaviyat after the death of Imam (a.s.). This book not only serves as a reply to such slander­ous talks but also is a storehouse of many valuable traditions concerning occultation and characteristics of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Janab Fazl bin Shazan has given it an aura of authenticity by narrating the traditions from great companions of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) like Safwan bin Yahya, Muhammad bin Abi Umair and Hasan bin Ali bin Fazzal. Apart from this, traditions from Imam Ali-un-Naqi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) uninterrupted from Abdullah bin Hasan-e-Khatib, Ahmed bin Ishaq Qummi and Muhammad bin Ali bin Hamza and so on.

Late Janab Sayed Ali Naili, the one who abridged this book has selected only twenty traditions for the purpose and rest of us have not reached us.

Though this book is titled as Isbatur Rajat only seventh and sixteenth traditions deal with Rajat. This essay is based on above book and keeping in mind the limited space the chains of narrators are purposely omitted and also the Arabic version.The traditions which do not explicitly deal with the topic of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) are also omitted and those readers who are interested in the whole book are requested to refer to the periodical “TURASONA” (1409 AH, ISSUE N0.5). Attempt has been made to present a simple and lucid trans­lation, thus providing parantheses as an additional tool.

Isbatur  Rajat (Abridged)

1) Responding to the query of Sulaym bin Qais, Imam Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) had said: “Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) kept his blessed hand on my chest and beseeched Allah to bestow upon me knowledge, intellect, cognizance, wisdom and light and invoked to Allah thus: O my lord! Give him retentive memory and make him memorize the things instructed to him by me.

I once professed humbly before Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) saying that may my parents be sacrificed on you, from the day you invoked for me I have not forgot­ten a single thing. Have written down all your instructions and neglected nothing. Are you wor­ried about my forgetting?

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied: O brother! I am not worried about either your ignorance or your loss of memory, I simply intended to pray for you. Verily! Allah has ordained obedience of you and your com­panions along with my obedience and has chosen you to be my representative. He (Allah) has said: O you who believe! Obey Allah, its messenger and those in authority among you. I inquired as to who are they? He replied they are my successors. It does not matter to them if people do not follow them. They are with Quran and will not be separated from Quran till they meet me at fountain of Kausar. My nation benefits from their presence. Even the rain does not pour with­out their permission. Prayers are accepted through their intercession and calamities are warded off through their mediation.

I requested the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to narrate their names and he narrated thus: You O Ali are the first among them and then keeping his hand on Hasan (a.s.) stated him to be second one of them. Then he kept his hand on Husain (a.s.) and asserted that he is to follow Hasan (a.s.) in vicegerency. He said af­ter Husain (a.s.) the responsibility of guidance will fall on son of Husain (a.s.) whose agnomen will be Zainul Abedin (a.s.) and further asked me to con­voy his salutations to him as he shall be born in my time. After him will be Muhammad Baqir (a.s.), the one who will split, His knowledge. He will be followed by their sons Jafar Sadiq, Moose Kazim, Ali Reza, Muhammad Taqi, Ali un Naqi, Hasan (Peace be upon them all) till the chain reaches to HUJJAT-AL-QAEM, the son of Hasan (a.s.) who will take revenge with my enemies and will fill the earth with Justice and Equity as it shall be filled with injustice and oppression. Then Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) said, “By Allah! I visualize all of them who will pledge allegiance to him between Hajre Aswad and Maqame Ibrahim, not only this, I am aware of their names and tribes.”

Hummad bin Isa states that he narrated this tra­dition in front of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.). Imam wept and confirmed the words of Sulaym and stated that he heard this from his grandfather Husain ibn Ali (a.s.) and he heard it from his father Husain (a.s.) and he heard it from his father at the time Sulaym bin Qais asked it from him.

2) Imam Hasan (a.s.) said he heard it from his grandfather about Imams after him, that they will be twelve in number similar to Nuqaba of Bani Israel. Allah has bestowed them with my knowl­edge and wisdom and O Hasan! you are from them. Then Imam Hasan (a.s.) asked as to when the reap­pearance of Qaem from his Ahle Bait will take place. He replied, His reappearance is like occurrence of the Day of Judgement, Allah has kept it a secret from people of skies and earth. He will appear all of a sudden.

3) It is narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to Ameerul Momineen: “Quraish will prevail upon you when you will strive to unveil and all will join hands in oppressing you. If you get partisans and helpers face them strongly and if you are left alone be patient and protect your self. Martyrdom is chasing you anyway.

“Surely my son avenge those who oppress you and those who oppress your partisans. In the hereafter Allah will chastise them with a severe punishment.”

Salman-e-Farsi at this stage inquired about the avenger? Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:”The ninth son from progeny of Husain (a.s.), the one who will reappear after a long occultation .He will spread the religion of God and will seek revenge from his enemies. He will make justice and equity prevail on earth as it shall be filled with oppression and injustice.

Salman-e-Farsi inquired again about the time when the time when he was reappear. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)  replied: “Knowledge of the time is exclusively with Allah, but there are some signs of his reappearance. like call from sky . land slides in east and west of Earth, submergence of land at Baiza.” (a place between Mecca and Medina).

4) Abu Khalid-e-Kabuli says that when be went in presence of his master Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s.) and found him in a state of weeping while reading a book. I inquired: “May my parents be sacrificed on you, what book is this?”

Imam (a.s.) replied: “This book is the copy of the tablet which was gifted to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by Allah. It contains, apart, from names of Allah, names of His Prophets. Ameerul Momineen. my paternal uncle. Hasan bin Ali, name of my father, my name, name of my son Muhammad Baqir. his son Jafar Sadjq. his son Moosa-e-Kazim. his son Ali Reza. his son Muhammad Taqi, his son Ali-un- Naqi,his son Hasan-e-Zaki and his son Hujjat, the one who will rise (with sword).  He will wreck vengeance from the enemies of God. He will reappear after a long occultation with solitary aim of fill­ing this earth with justice and equity as it shall be full of injustice and oppression.”

5) Hazrat Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) narrates that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)conveyed to Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) that: “I have more authority over be­lievers than they themselves have on their own souls. After me such an authority will be enjoyed by you and then by Hasan, Husain, Ali Ibne Husain, Muhammad Ibne Ali, Jafar Ibne Muhammad, Moosa Ibne Jafar, Ali Ibne Musa, Muhammad Ibne Ali, Ali Ibne Muhammad, Hasan Ibne Ali and lastly son of Hasan. Hujjat the one on whom the vicegerency will con­clude. He will reappear after a long occultation and will fill the earth with justice and equity as it shall be full with injustice and
oppression.”

6) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Imam Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was asked about the word “Itrat” in traditions of two weighty things (Hadees Saqalain). He replied: “I, my son Hasan, Husain of which the nine sons from progeny of
Husain of which ninth will be Mahdi. Those people are “ITRAT” of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and will not separate from Quran till the lime they meet
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) at the pond of “KAUSAR’.”

7) Hazrat Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said that Imam Husain (a.s.) said lo his companions one night before martyrdom that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed him about his martyrdom to this effect: “O my son! You will travel to Iraq, till the land by the name of Amra and Karbala . You will be martyred along with some chosen companions.”

Then Imam Husain (a.s.) continued saying:” The words of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) are going to be actualized. Tomorrow I will meet my grandfather Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).Those of you who intend to go depart in darkness of night with my consent. Imam exhorted too much but nobody left. All enunciated in soli­tary voice: “By Allah we shall never leave you alone and will follow you in every aspect.” Observing such steadfastness of his Companions Imam Husain (a.s.) said: “I give you glad tidings of paradise. By Allah! after martyrdom we will reside in graves till the time Allah wishes. Then Allah will cause us to return from our graves at the time of reappearance of Qaem. We will take revenge from the unjust, we will witness with our own eyes that the unjust are shackled and chained. Then Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) was asked as to who was” Qaem”. Imam replied seventh one from my progeny. He will reappear after a long occultation and will fill the earth with justice and equity as it shall be full of injustice and oppression.

(8) Abu Khalido Kabuli says that he asked his mas­ter Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s.) as to who are; the one whose obedience is obligatory after Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.). Imam replied! O Kabuli! ‘Ulil Amr’ are the ones appointed by Allah as guides and leaders and their obedience is compulsory and they are Ameerul Momineen. His son Hasan, my father Husain and aft or him the office passed on to me….” After say­ing this Imam became silent.

I asked: “It has been narrated from Ameerul Momineen that this earth can never he devoid of a representative of Allah. So who is Imam after you?”

Imam replied! “My son Muhammad who is known in heavenly books as “Baqir”, the one who will split the knowledge. After him the Imam will be his son Jafar who is known by the name of ‘Sadiq’ in di­vine books.”

I interrupted and questioned,” Why is he called  Sadiq’ (truthful) when you
all are truthful?” Imam clarified:” My grandfather narrated from Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that he said that when the birth of my son Jafar bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain bin Ali ibn Abu Talib takes places keep his name as ‘Sadiq’ because one person from his fifth generation will also bear the name of Jafar and will wrongly claim vicegerency. His name will be Jafar Kazzab. He will ascribe wrong things to Allah and will claim the position for which he is not entitled. He will not only oppose his father but will also bear jealousy towards his brother. This is the person who will strive to tear apart the veil of occupation of Imam.” After saying this Imam wept profusely and added: “As if I am seeing Jafar Kazzab exhorting the King of his time to go and search for Imam and lay his claim to the inheritance of his father and usurp it wrongly.” I felt surprised and asked Imam ” 0 son of Prophet! Is this going to happen?”

He replied: “By Allah certainly this is inscribed in a book which Allah gave to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) narrating in it suffering of every kind which is to befall on us “.

I inquired as to what will happen after that. Imam replied, “Occupation of twelfth Imam will continue for a long time and those with firm faith will await his reappearance and those people who are awaiting for the Imam are better than the people of all times because Allah has bestowed them with intelligence and knowledge that occupation will be perceived by them as proximity. Their position in times of occupation is like the ones who fought
with Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They are our true Shias, who will invite people
towards religion secretly and openly.” Imam added:” To await reappearance is real pleasure.”

9) Muhammad bin Abdul Jabbar narrates that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) was asked about Imam after him:

Imam (a.s.) replied “After me proof of Allah on earth shall be my son whose name and agnomen are that of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and he is the last in chain of vicegerency” He was asked about his mother and he said, “He will be born from the granddaughter of Qaiser and will remain hidden from the eyes of the people. He will reappear and will fight Dajjal and thereby spread justice and equity on earth as it shall he full of injustice and oppression.”

10) Ahmad bin Ishaq relates that he heard from Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) relating about his successor thus:

“Praise is due to Allah Who did not cause me to die before showing me his
representative. He will bear the same name and agnomen as that of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Allah will protect him in occupation and then will make him reappear, thereby filling the earth with justice and equity as it shall be full with injustice and oppres­sion.”

11) Muhammad bin Ali states that he heard Imam Hasan-e-Askari (a.s.) saying, “The representative of Allah was born on 15th Shaaban 255 A.H. at dawn.. He got the bounty of receiving bath first from Rizwan, the treasurer of Heaven, from the fountain of Kausar and Salsabil.

After that he was given bath by Janabe Hakima, daughter of Imam  Muhammad Taqi (a.s.).”

After this, the narrator asked Imam concerning his mother and to this Imam said she was a princess. Her name was ‘Susan’ but she will also be called as ‘Rehana’, ‘Faisal’ and ‘Nargis.’

12) It is narrated from Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Faras-e-Nishapuri that he says, “Amr bin Auf was a ‘Nasebi’ (enemy of Able Bait) and a staunch enemy of Shias. On getting the information about his intentions to murder me, I felt afraid and bid fare­ well to my family members and went to the house of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) and intended to flee after that. When I was with Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), I noticed a boy who was sitting besides Imam, having a shining face like a moon. I was expectedly impressed and on the verge of forgetting my problem. “At that time the boy asked me, calling me by my name, to shed the fear of being killed as Allah will keep me away from his (Amr bin Auf) evil desire. I was amazed and then in a low voice asked Imam (a.s.) about the boy who is aware of inner problems”

Imam replied that he is my son and proof of Allah after me. He will be in a long occupation and when this earth is overburdened with corruption he will reappear and fill the earth with justice and equity.

“I inquired his name and was informed that he shares the name and agnomen with Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) It is not permitted to use his name till Allah bestows him with an empire. Then Imam asked me not to disclose what I heard to anyone except who are trustworthy”

I paid my tribute to Imam Hasan-e-Askari (a.s.) and his son Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Soon I was in­formed by my uncle (Ali bin Faraz) that Moatmid Abbasi deputed his brother to arrest and kill Amr bin Auf. He was arrested and chopped to pieces. Praise is due to Allah Who is the Cherisher of the whole universe.”

13) Abdullah bin Husain-e-Katib narrates that Imam Hasan-e-Askari (a.s.)
said,” Caliphs of Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas raised their swords against
us due to two reasons,

1) they were aware of the fact that Khilafat was not their right and we can claim it and get it.

2) They were cognizant of traditions which predicted the end of their rulership at the hands of Qaem, who will be from us.

They undoubtedly believed themselves to be the aggressors. Due to this they desired to kill us and put an end to the matter But Allah did not allow them to carry on their evil desire, and perfected his light. Even though the polytheists might be averse to it”

14) Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that there is no miracle of Prophet (s.a.w.a.) which Allah will not manifest at hands of our Qaem, thus concluding the argument and proof on people.

15) Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, “Ten sign will certainly appear before the day of judgment and they are Sufyani, Dajjal, Smoke. Dabbatul Arz (the one who will walk on earth), Reappearance of Qaem, Rising of Sun from west, Descent of Isa, Submergence of land in east Azerbaijan peninsula, blazing fire from land of Eden. Rush of people toward resurrection.”

16) Imam Jafar-e- Sadiq (a.s.) cautioned his follow­ers thus, “Seek refuge in Allah from the evil of Sufyani, Dajjal and other mischiefs.” He was asked
“O Son of Prophet (s.a.w.a.)! We know Dajjal in light of your traditions but who is this Sufyani and other corruptions and who is going to spread these?”

Imam replied, “From the barren lands of  a person from the progeny of Uthman bin Abu Sufyan will rise in cover f Piety.He will claim caliphate and will receive pledge of allegiance from people, followed by Ulama who were hiding the truth and will declare him as the best person on face of earth.

“Appearance of both Sufyani and that of people with white flags i.e. Yemani will take place in the same year and month. Sufyani will rule for 20 years.”

17) It is reported from Imam (a.s.) that Khurasani, Sufyani and Yemani will appear in same year and month, but none will be more near the truth than Yamani, as he shall he guided towards truth.

18) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Our Qaem will gain upper hand through his
charming personality and he will be helped by Allah. Earth will contract for him and will reveal all her trea­sure, at his disposal. Allah will make His religion triumph over all other religions, at his hands, even though the polytheists might be averse to it. His empire will extend from East to West and will civi­lize all the destroyed nations, H. Isa (a.s.), the spirit of Allah
will descend and pray behind him.” One person asked Imam about the time of his reappearance. To this, Imam (a.s.) narrated the signs of reappearance thus: “The time when men will resemble women and women will resemble men, increase in homosexuals and lesbians, women will drive the vehicles, wrong testimonies will be ac­cepted and justice thrown aside, people will con­sider murder, fornication, bribe and usury as some­thing usual, pious ones will be subjugated by evil ones, Sufyani will rise from Syria and Yemani
from Yemen. Earth will be submerged at a place called Baida. A person from
progeny of Holy Prophet (s.a.), whose name will be Ahmed bin Hasan alias Nafse Zakiyyah will be martyred between Hajre Aswad and Maqame Ibrahim. A voice will come from the sky stating that truth is with Ali and his Shias. “When Imam will reappear his back will be towards Kaaba and will be accompanied by 313 followers, commencing the crusade against injustice with the ayat of Quran. “Whatever is the remnant of Allah, is good for you if you are amongst the believers.”

Afterwards, he will proclaim that he is last Proof of Allah upon them and His Caliph in there midst. People will salute him thus. “Peace be upon you, O Remnant of Allah in this earth.”

When 4000 people shall gather around him he will march from Mecca and prohibit worship of any other God except Allah. This will occur after a long occultation. Same tradition is also narrated from Imam Muhammad-e-Baqir (a.s.).

19) Imam-e-Jafar-e-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Some people will disappear from their  eds. Their numbers will be 313 as that of people of Badr and will reach Mecca . at dawn. This is about (he saying of Allah, ‘Wherever you are Allah will bring you out.” (Surah Baqarah: 148)

And they shall be the partisans of Qaem.

20) Ono person asked Imam -e-Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) about the time of  eappearance of Qaem.  Imam (a.s.) replied. “The time when deviation will in­crease and guidance will decrease, corruption and mischief will rise, religious reformation will virtually disappear. homosexuals and lesbians will stalk the earth. Fuqaha (Jurist) will be inclined towards the allurement of worldly desires, rich will acquire honour with help of poets and poetries, some will become monkeys and pigs. Sufyani will be killed and Dajjal will take a lead in increasing the deviation of people. On 23rd Ramazan a voice will echo from sky with the name of Qaem. He will re­appear on the day of Ashura (10th Moharram). As if I am visualizing him standing between Hajare Aswad and Maqame Ibrahim. Jibrael will stand in front of him and will proclaim that allegiance is only for Allah. Heeding this people will come to­wards him. May Allah include us among those who pay alle­giance to him and obey him.