The Representation of the Hidden Mahdi

Evidence for the Occurrence of the Ghaybah
November 3, 2017
Chapter Five – Raj’ah (The Return)
November 9, 2017

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The Representation of the Hidden Mahdi

 

The foundations of the doctrine of occultation became firmly grounded, as has passed, and the existence of a representative who could be entrusted with the responsibility of taking charge of the affairs of the Ummah and who could serve as an intermediary and the Bab to the Imam, who was absent in the basement, the mountains of Radwa, or the valleys of Makkah. Hence the first representative who took charge of the affairs of the Shia after the demise of al Hassan al ‘Askari, as has been mentioned in the books of the Twelvers, was a woman. And as Nabi salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

 

ما أفلح قوم ولوأ أمرهم امرأة

A nation who gives charge of their affairs to a woman will never be successful.[1]

 

After the demise of al Hassan al ‘Askari, the widespread news of his hiding son and the Shia being left without an overt Imam, the Shia began to ask who they should resort to. Hence in the year 262 A.H, two years after the demise of Hassan al ‘Askari, one of the Shia[2] went to his house and asked, Khadijah bint Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al Rida as the narration states, regarding Hassan’s alleged son and who told him the name of the son.[3] The reporter mentions:

قلت لها فأين الولد؟ قالت: مستور، فقلت: إلي من تفزع الشيعة؟ قالت: إلي الجدة إم أبي محمد عليه السلام

I asked her, “Where is the boy?”

She said, “He is hiding.”

I then asked, “To whom should the Shia resort?”

She said, “To the granny, the mother of Abu Muhammad.”[4]

 

Ostensibly the Shia wanted the representation of the absent Imam to remain within the family of Hassan al ‘Askari and thus they told their followers in the beginning about the mother of Hassan al ‘Askari being his representative. And it seems as if this appointment was in order to create the right milieu for the growth of this doctrine among the followers, because the mother of Hassan was his curator and naturally she would be responsible for his alleged son after his demise. However, the severe opposition of his household to the idea of a son, as will come, compelled the Shia to appoint a representative from outside the Ahlul Bayt. Therefore the following narration of al Tusi’s al Ghaybah mentions:

 

ولد الخلف المهدي صلوات الله عليه سنة خمسين ومائتين ووكيله عثمان بن سعيد، فلما مات عثمان بن سعيد، أوصي إلي أبي جعفر محمد بن عثمان، وأوصي أبو جعفر إلي أبي القاسم الحسين بن روح، وأوصي أبوالقاسم إلي أبي الحسن علي بن محمد السمري

The Mahdi, the successor, was born in the year 256 A.H and his representative was ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id. When ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id died he appointed Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman. And Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman appointed Abu al Qasim ibn Rawh, who in turn appointed Abu al Hassan ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al Samarri.[5]

 

These four representatives were contested by others who also claimed representation from the household of Hassan. And their representation represents a personal relationship with the awaited Mahdi, which is why the era of their representation is known as the minor occultation.

The rights that these representatives enjoyed were very similar to the rights of the Imam in terms of obedience to them being compulsory and in terms of their reliability in transmission. In al Ghaybah of al Tusi it appears that Hassan al ‘Askari said:

 

هذا إمامكم من بعدي (وأشار إلي ابنه) وخليفتي عليكم أطيعوه ولاتتفرقوا من بعدي فتهلكوا في أديانكم. ألا وإنكم لا ترونه من بعد يومكم هذا حتي يتم له عمر فاقبلوا من عثمان (الباب الأول) ما يقوله، وانتهوا إلي أمره فهو خليفة إمامكم والأمر إليه. فما قاله لكم فعني يقوله وما أدي إليكم فعني يؤديه

“This is your Imam after me,” saying this he pointed to his son, “and my successor, so obey him and do not disunite after me, for if you do so you will face destruction in your religion. Behold, you will not see him after this day till he completes a certain age, so accept from ‘Uthman what he is saying and stop at his orders, for he is the representative of your Imam and the charge of affairs will be in his hands.[6] Whatever he tells you he will be telling you from my side and whatever he submits to you he will be submitting from me.”[7]

 

In this manner did the Bab receive the right to represent the Imam and take charge of affairs, his verdicts also enjoyed the credence of infallibility and sanctity due to speaking on behalf of the Imam and submitting on his behalf. Whoever opposed these four Babs thus would be cursed and destined for the fire of Jahannam, as had appeared in the endorsed letters of the Imam regarding the deniers.[8]

The idea of representation, then, accords these four individuals the prerogative to legislate because of them speaking on behalf of the infallible Imam who has the authority to specify, confine, and abrogate the texts of the Shari’ah, as has passed. Hence the endorsed letters which they would produce would hold the same value as the verdicts of the Imams or even more, as has passed.[9] It likewise gives them the authority to issue certificates of forgiveness and deprivation, and to collect the monies of Zakat, Khums, and endowments.

But this representation came to an end when al Samarri was asked to appoint a successor, for he said at that time, “For Allah is a matter which he is going to fulfil.” Hence from then onwards the major occultation started.[10]

The agreement of the Shia to terminate the status of Babs at al Samarri and to spread that amongst the people possibly was in order to safeguard the doctrine of the occultation from being exposed and revealed, for there were many Shia scholars who aspired to assume the Bab station, especially in the era of Abu al Qasim ibn Rawh, and disputes increased between them till it reached the extent of mutual imprecation, excommunication, and denouncement; as can be noticed in many of the endorsed letters which the Babs produced attributing them to the Mahdi.

And thus al Samarri deemed it appropriate to close the chapter of the Babs.

At this stage another very crucial development transpired in the idea of representation specifically and in the Shia dogma in general, and that is according the status of representation to the scholars of the Shia in general, for the Shia agencies produced an endorsed letter attributing it to the Mahdi after the announcement of the termination of the Bab station which stated the following:

 

أما الوقائع الحادثة فارجعوا فيها إلي رواة حديثنا فإنهم حجتي عليكم وأنا حجة الله

As for the newly arising issues, refer to the narrators of our tradition, for they are my evidence upon you and I am the evidence of Allah.[11]

 

This letter announced the termination of direct communication with the Mahdi and the according of representation to the narrators of the Shia tradition and the fabricators of their narrations.

This announcement accomplished many goals, the most crucial being this that the station of the Bab no more remained restricted to one person, by way of which the spurious reality thereof could very easily be exposed due to many aspiring for it, for that was the cause of a lot of doubt and denial during the period of the minor occultation.

Likewise it circumvented the competition regarding the station of the Bab which had already caused enough mayhem, and made it a common station for the scholars of the Shia. It closed the door of exclusive representation and transformed it into a general representation which then marked the start of the major occultation. Hence the Imam now had two occultations: the minor and the major, despite their narrations only making mention of one occultation.[12]

The Shia, however, had soon rescued the situation by inventing narrations which talked of two occultations. The inventor mentions:

 

قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: للقائم غيبتان أحدهما قصيرة والأخري طويلة، الأولي لا يعلم بمكانه إلا خاصة شيعته، والأخري لا يعلم إلا خاصة مواليه في دينه

Abu ‘Abdullah said, “The Mahdi will have two occultations: one will be short and the other will be long; in the first only his special partisans will know of his whereabouts, and in the second only his associates in Din.”[13]

 

As you can see, this narration talks of two occultations: in the first only his special partisans will have access to him, which is maybe an indication to the vicegerency of the four representatives who successively claimed to be the Bab. In the second his close associates had access to him, the narration of al Kafi suggests that they were thirty. But in both conditions the narrations do not deny immediate access to the Imam, whereas when al Samarri assumed the station he produced an endorsed letter stating:

 

من ادعي مشاهدة المنتظر فهو كاذب

Whoever claims to have seen the Mahdi is a liar.[14]

 

Likewise, their scholars mention that in the major occultation ‘the great deprivation from the Imam’ ensued. Their scholar al Nu’mani makes the following remarks after talking about the two occultations:

 

هذه الأحاديث التي يذكر فيها أن للقائم غيبتين أحاديث قد صحت عندنا… فأما الغيبة الأولي فهي الغيبة التي كانت السفراء فيها بين الإمام عليه السلام وبين الخلق منصوبين ظاهرين موجودي الأشخاص والأعيان يخرج علي أيديهم الشفاء من العلم وعويص الحكمة والأجوبة عن كل ما كان يسأل عنه من المعضلات والمشكلات وهي الغيبة القصيرة التي انقضت أيامها وتصرمت مدتها

These narrations which make mention of the two occultations of the Mahdi are authentic according to us. As for the first occultation, it is the occultation wherein the vicegerents were appointed as open intermediaries who were present physically, at whose hands remedies in the form of knowledge, intricate wisdom, and answers to all the difficult and confusing questions that were being posed came about. This was the short occultation which ended and lapsed after a period of time. In the second occultation the intermediary in the form of the vicegerents was removed.[15]

 

Despite this, the Shia scholars claimed to be representatives of the Mahdi during the era of the second occultation and they based their representation upon the endorsed letter which al Samarri produced from their awaited Mahdi and which ordered the people to refer to the transmitters of their tradition in all arising issues.

Hence it should be noted that he did not refer the people to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, rather he referred them to the scholars.

Owing to this, the scholars thus assumed the station of the Bab and thereby earned themselves sanctity and holiness amongst their followers. That is why they call their scholars who have reached the station of representation of the Imam ‘Maraji’’ and ‘Ayat’, for they are a reflection of the Imam. We therefore find one of their contemporary scholars asserting that denying any of the teachings of the Imam is tantamount to denying anything from Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala as in ascribing partners to Allah. This is all because of the idea of representation. Their scholar al Muzaffar:

 

عقيدتنا في المجتهد الجامع للشرائط أنه نائب للإمام عليه السلام في حال غيبته، وهو الحاكم والرئيس المطلق، له ما للإمام في الفصل في القضايا والحكومة بين الناس، والراد عليه راد علي الإمام، والراد علي الإمام راد علي الله تعالي، وهو علي حد الشرك بالله كما جاء في الحديث عن صادق آل البيت (عليهم السلام)، فليس المجتهد الجامع للشرائط مرجعا في الفتيا فقط، بل له الولاية العامة فيرجع إليه في الحكم والفصل، وذلك من مختصاته لا يجوز لأحد أن يتولاها دونه إلا بإذنه، كما لا تجوز إقامة الحدود والتعزيرات إلا بأمره وحكمه. ويرجع إليه في الأموال التي هي من حقوق الإمام ومختصاته. وهذه المنزلة أو الرئاسة العامة أعطاها الإمام عليه السلام للمجتهد الجامع للشرائط ليكون نائبا عنه في حال الغيبة ولذلك يسمي نائب الإمام.

Our belief regarding a Mujtahid who is eligible for Ijtihad is that he is the representative of the Imam in his absence; he is the judge and he is the highest authority; he enjoys all the rights the Imam enjoys in decision making and conflict resolution; whoever rejects him has rejected the Imam, and whoever rejects the Imam has rejected Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala; he is on the point of ascribing partners to Allah, as appears in a narration from the truthful (Jafar al Sadiq) of the Ahlul Bayt. Hence a Mujtahid who is eligible is not just a reference in jurisprudential rulings, rather for him is all encompassing authority: he should be referred to in rulership matters and judicial matters. This is his prerogative specifically, no one besides him can assume his position but with his permission. Likewise it is not permissible to establish the capital punishments and discretionary punishments but with his permission. Likewise he should be referred to regarding monies which are from the rights of the Imam and his privileges.

This great position, or this all-encompassing authority which the Imam has accorded to the Mujtahid who is eligible is so that he may be his representative during his absence, which is why he is known as Na’ib al Imam (the representative of the Imam).[16]

 

As you might have noticed, the scholars of the Shia have completely disassociated from the Ahlul Bayt and have clung onto this fictitious and non-existent figure. They have, thereafter, positioned themselves in the position of the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt under the pretext of representing a non-existent person. This was a very big bonus. Hence we find that as soon as they united upon terminating the idea of the Bab all their differences regarding it diffused and many of the Shia returned and abided by this idea. Simply because it gave each of those Shia figures the status of ‘the Imam’, ‘the guided’, ‘the supreme authority’ and ‘the collector of wealth’ in a way that no one from the Ahlul Bayt would share these positions with them and nor would he expose them and their reality.

The representation which the Mahdi allegedly accorded the scholars of the Shia by way of his endorsed letter was apparently restricted to representation in issuing Fatwas regarding newly arising issues because it states, “As for the newly arising issues, refer them to the transmitters of our tradition,” as has passed, he did not grant them a fully-fledged representation. But the Shia expanded this representation till it reached its pinnacle in these times at the hands of Khomeini.[17]

This is also clear from the aforementioned statement of their scholar al Muzaffar regarding their belief in this regard.

Over and above this, their scholars have made sweeping claims regarding their connection with the Mahdi after his major occultation, as has passed.[18]

 

Analysing the Doctrine of Occultation and the Mahdi According to the Twelvers

All the Muslim denominations oppose the Shia in the birth of the Mahdi, then how would they come to common terms with them regarding his puberty, his uprightness, his Imamah, his infallibility, and his Mahdi status. Sadly, in substantiating any of the aforementioned the Shia have no sound evidence,[19] as has passed in the previous pages when studying the various aspects of the doctrine.

The Ahlus Sunnah thus conclusively conclude, in light of Shar’i texts and logical reasoning, that the doctrine of the occultation of the Mahdi, based on its Twelver conception, is nothing but a fallacy, for no one has ever seen him or any sign of him, there is no information regarding him or any of his traces, no one has benefitted from him in worldly matters nor in religious matters, rather the harm and corruption which has overtaken the world due to believing in his existence cannot be known to anyone besides Allah, the Lord of the servants.[20]

The historians and genealogists have likewise mentioned that Hassan al ‘Askari did not have any children or offspring.[21]

Furthermore, they say that the Mahdi hid away in the basement after the demise of his father when his age was two, three or five—based on various narrations—and ever since he became the Imam of the people despite his childhood and occultation. Whereas according to the ruling of the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the Ummah it is necessary for this orphan, if he existed, to be in the guardianship of his immediate family. Likewise it is necessary that his wealth be in the possession of a person who will protect it from him till signs of maturity are discerned in him. So how can a child who is restricted in his physical self and his wealth be an infallible Imam of all the Muslims in a way that no one’s faith is complete until he believes in him?[22] And how can belief in him be incumbent when he is non-existent or absent for such a long a period of time; a Muslim judge is required to get a woman whose husband is missing married so that her well-being does not go to waste, then how can the welfare and well-being of this Ummah be left to waste with the absence of the Imam for such an extended period of time.[23]

Even if one turns a blind eye to the stance of the Ahlus Sunnah regarding the Mahdi of the Twelvers and his occultation, if one is to carefully study the texts of the Twelvers themselves regarding the Mahdi and his occultation he will pick up an important point which is worth careful consideration. And that is that this claim did not gain acceptance in the ranks of the Shia themselves but in a relatively belated time after the Shia had made an effort anew to revive it by discarding the idea of the Bab station which exposed the doctrine of occultation. Hence their scholar al Nu’mani, who lived during the period of the minor occultation, asserts that all of the Shia besides a few were victims of doubt. Their doubt was because the signs of falsity were obvious to them, for Hassan al ‘Askari had passed away without issue, he was not known to have had a son because of which his brother and his mother distributed his inheritance.[24]

The following narration appears in al Kafi which is considered the most authentic book of their four early canonical works:

 

عن عبد الله بن أحمد بن خاقان قال… لما مات الحسن العسكري سنة ستين ومائتين ضجت سر من رأي ضجة واحدة مات ابن الرضا، وبعث السلطان إلي داره من يفتشها يفتش حجرها وختم علي جميع ما فيها، وطلبوا أثر ولده، وجاؤوا بنساء يعرفن الحمل فدخلن إلي جواريه ينظرن إليهن فذكر بعضهن أن هناك جارية بها حمل، فوضعت تلك الجارية في حجرة ووكل بها بعض النسوة، ثم أخذوا بعد ذلك في تهيئته…فلما فرغوا من ذلك بعث السلطان إلي أبي عيسي بن المتوكل للصلاة عليه، فلما دنا أبو عيسي منه كشف عن وجهه فعرضه علي بني هاشم من العلوية والعباسية والقواد والكتاب…ثم قال: هذا الحسن بن علي بن محمد الرضا، مات حتف أنفه علي فراشه، حضره من حضره من خدم أمير المؤمنين وثقاته…ثم صلي عليه… وبعد دفنه أخذ السلطان والناس في طلب ولده وكثر التفتيش في المنازل والدور،وتوقفوا عن قسمة ميراثه، ولم يزل الذين وكلوا بحفظ الجارية التي توهم عليها الحمل ملازمين لها حتي تبين بطلان الحمل، فلما بطل الحمل عنهن قسم ميراثه بين أمه وأخيه جعفر

Ahmed ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Khaqan narrates, “When Hassan al ‘Askari passed away in the year 260 A.H the whole of Surr Man Ra’a echoed the news of his demise. The governor sent people to his house to search it and all its rooms and to seal the house thereafter. They searched for any trace of his son, hence they brought ladies who were experts in identifying pregnancies, and they entered upon his concubines to assess them. One of them mentioned that there is a concubine who has signs of pregnancy, she was thus placed in a room and some ladies were appointed to see to her. They then started to make preparations for the burial. Having done that, the ruler sent a message to Abu ‘Isa ibn al Mutawakkil to perform his funeral prayer. When he came close to him he opened his face and showed it to the Banu Hashim, the ‘Alawis, and the ‘Abbasids among them, the generals, and the scribes. He then said, “This is al Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al Rida, he died a natural death on his bed.” From the servants and the confidants of Amir al Mu’minin many people attended his funeral. Thereafter the funeral prayer was performed. After his burial the ruler and the people began searching for his son and the investigations increased in houses and places. The distribution of his inheritance was halted. And those people appointed to see to the concubine who apparently had signs of pregnancy continuously remained with her untill eventually it became clear that she was not pregnant. Subsequently, he distributed the inheritance between his mother and his brother Jafar.[25]

 

As you can see, the Twelvers cited this narration in order to point out the falsity of those Shia who stopped the line of Imamah at Hassan al ‘Askari refusing to accept his death, but simultaneously the narration also points out the falsity of the claim of him having a son. Because the family of Hassan, the guardians of the Ahlul Bayt, and the ruler all investigated the reality of the matter openly in order to debunk what the Shia were claiming in this regard. Al Qummi and al Nawbakhti have, therefore, documented that after the demise of Hassan al ‘Askari, the Shia had split into many groups, most of whom denied the existence of a son,[26] to the extent that some of them said:

 

إنا قد طلبنا الولد بكل وجه فلم نجده، ولو جاز لنا دعوي أن للحسن ولدا خفيا لجاز مثل هذه الدعوي في كل ميت عن غير خلف، ولجاز أن يقال في النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم إنه خلف ابنا نبيا رسولا، لأن مجيء الخبر بوفاة الحسن بلا عقب كمجيء الخبر بأن النبي لم يخلف ولدا من صلبه فالولد قد بطل لا محالة

We searched for the son in every way possible but we did not find him. Hence if it were permissible for us to claim that Hassan had a hidden son then it would be permissible to make a similar claim regarding any person who dies without issue. Likewise, it would be permissible to say regarding Nabi salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam that he left a prophet son, for the information of the demise of Hassan without a son is similar to the information regarding Nabi salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam passing away without a son from his progeny. Hence the claim of the son is completely false.[27]

 

It was this hard fact, in my opinion, which compelled the Shia scholars to invent narrations which communicated one of the characteristics of the Mahdi to be the inconspicuousness of his conception and his birth and the suspicion surrounding them, in an endeavour to pass this period wherein the reality of Shi’ism potentially could be divulged.

Besides the stern disapproval of the majority of the Shia, the Ahlul Bayt also held an unequivocal stance in this regard which is one of the clearest evidences for the falsity of this doctrine, for it appears in Tarikh al Tabari under the discussion of the events of the year 302 A.H (i.e. during the reign of the ‘Abbasid Khalifah al Muqtadir) that a person claimed that he was Muhammad ibn Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Musa ibn Jafar, where after the Khalifah summoned all the scholars of the family of Abu Talib, at the head of who was Ahmed ibn ‘Abd al Samad, the chief of the Talibin at that time who was known as Ibn Tumar, and the following transpired:

 

فقال له ابن طومار: لم يعقب الحسن. وقد ضج بنو هاشم من دعوي هذا المدعي وقالوا: يجب أن يشهر هذا بين الناس ويعاقب أشد عقوبة. فحمل علي جمل وشهر يوم التروية ويوم عرفة ثم حبس في حبس المصريين بالجانب الغربي

Ibn Tumar said to him, “Hassan did not leave a son.”

And the claim of this claimant had caused a lot of upheaval in the Banu Hashim and they have said, “It is necessary to expose this man in public and penalise him severely.”

Hence he was made to mount a camel and he was exposed in the public on the Day of Tarwiyah (8th of Dhi al Hijjah) and the Day of ‘Arafah (9th of Dhi al Hijjah). He was then imprisoned in the prison of the Egyptians which was to the west.[28]

 

This testimony of the Banu Hashim in general and the chief in specific is of paramount importance, because it is a testimony from the chief of the ‘Alawiyyin who was very particular about keeping official records of each child that was born in the family.[29] And also because it was given in a very ancient time, i.e. during the period of the minor occultation, wherein the claims of this alleged Imam and his representation had immensely increased at the hands of various Shia figures.

Furthermore, over and above the testimony of the chief of the ‘Alawiyyin and the Banu Hashim, the closest person to Hassan al ‘Askari—his brother Jafar—also emphatically states that his brother died without issue.[30]

The Shia concede this, instead they even assert that he confined his brothers consorts and concubines in order to ascertain whether they were pregnant or not,[31] and that he very severely refuted any person who claimed that and called upon the Islamic empire of the time to take action against him.[32] Al Tusi in trying to evade this says:

 

هذا الإنكار من جعفر ليس بشبهة يعتمد علي مثلها أحد المحصلين لاتفاق الكل علي أن جعفرا لم يكن له عصمة كعصمة الأنبياء فيمتنع عليه لذلك إنكار حق ودعوي باطل. والغلط غير ممتنع منه

The denial of Jafar is not worth consideration due to the consensus of everyone that he did not enjoy infallibility like the Ambiya’ owing to which he abstain from denying the truth and claiming that which is false. It was possible for him to make mistakes.[33]

 

So al Tusi does not accept the denial of Jafar because he is fallible, but simultaneously he and the Twelvers accept the claim of ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id in proving a son and claiming his representation, whereas he is also fallible. Is this not a contradiction?

Why would Jafar, who is the brother of Hassan al ‘Askari from the Ahlul Bayt and the guardian of the Ahlul Bayt after his demise, be belied? And how can a person who is a stranger to the Ahlul Bayt and is suspected of lying, due to him vesting in his own monetary and popularity interests by claiming to be the Bab, be believed? Should not a person whose status is such be doubted and should not his testimony be rejected?

It is due to this emphatic and stern stance of Jafar against the endeavours of the leading Shia figures in proving a son that the Shia became agitated with him, so much so that they dubbed him ‘Jafar the liar’[34] and they fabricated narrations attributing them to the long gone members of the Ahlul Bayt which carried their prophecies regarding the matter of Jafar and warnings of staying away from him. So, for example, they have attributed the following narration to al Sajjad:

 

كأني بجعفر الكذاب قد حمل طاعية زمانه علي تفتيش أمر ولي الله المغيب في حفظ الله جهلا منه بولادته وحرصا علي قتله أن ظفر به طمعا في ميراث أبيه يأخذه بغير حقه

It is as if I can see Jafar the liar pressing upon the tyrant ruler of his time to investigate the matter of the absent friend of Allah who will disappear into the protection of Allah, due to being ignorant of his birth and because of wanting to kill him and wanting to secure his inheritance from his father without any right to it.[35]

 

We will notice in this narration that they have accused Jafar of denying the birth of the Mahdi out of his greed for inheritance, as the Arabic proverb goes:

She infused me with her sickness and she escaped.

 

In other words, it was the fabricators of these narrations who claimed the birth of the son and subsequently claimed to be his representatives in their greed for wealth, as has passed. Similarly, the narration is contradictory, because on the one hand it claims that Jafar will not know of the birth whilst on the other hand it states that he will be desirous of killing him. If he was unaware of his birth then how would he desire to kill a person whose existence is not known? Furthermore, one should also study how they defend the probity of ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id and accuse Jafar despite them claiming partisanship for the Ahlul Bayt.

Moving on, Jafar was not the only member of the Ahlul Bayt who denied the birth of the Mahdi, rather their narrations suggest that denial had aroused in the house of the alleged son and from his paternal cousins. Evidence for this is the following narration which appears in the books of the Shia:

 

عن إسحاق بن يعقوب قال: سألت محمد بن عثمان العمري أن يوصل لي كتابا قد سألت فيه عن مسائل اشكلت علي فورد التوقيع بخط مولانا صاحب الزمان صلي الله عليه: أما ما سألت عنه أرشدك الله من أمر المنكرين لي من أهل بيتنا وبني عمنا. فاعلم أنه ليس بين الله وبين أحد قرابة، ومن أنكرني فليس مني وسبيله سبيل ابن نوح وأما سبيل عمي جعفر وولده فسبيل إخوة يوسف

Ishaq ibn Ya’qub[36] says, “I asked Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman al ‘Amri[37] to convey my letter wherein I had many questions which were bothering me. The response which came with the signature of the Mahdi[38] entailed the following, ‘As for the question you have posed, may Allah guide you, regarding those who deny my existence from my household and my cousins, know well that there is no kinship between Allah and anyone. Whoever denies my existence is not from me and his end-result will be like that of the son of Nuh. As for the end-result of my brother Jafar and his children it will be like the end-result of Yusuf and his brothers.[39]

 

This narration tells us that denying his existence started from his household and his paternal family, and the claim of his existence started from the outside. So who of the two is more worthy of acknowledgement, can the nobles of the Ahlul Bayt be belied, and an ego-centric figure who is not known to have any firm grounding in Din, knowledge, family background, etc., be believed?

It can be averred that maybe his household and his paternal family were concealing his matter in order to save him, however, the aforementioned letter which was issued by the alleged Mahdi posits that their denial was based on reality, because therein he asserts that their disbelief is like that of the son of Nuh `alayh al-Salam due to there being no kinship between Allah and the creation, the basis of their dogma being based upon the merit of the Imams due to their kinship with Rasul Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam notwithstanding.

Likewise their vitriolic attack against Jafar, dubbing him a liar and attributing every fault and blemish to him[40] also posits that this denial from the family of Hassan was based on reality. Their denial specifically was the reason why the spearheads of this movement invented all those narrations which attacked Jafar, the household of the awaited, and his paternal family, warned against them and were replete with hatred for them. Nonetheless, their stance still had its effects in those times, for all of the Shia had doubted this doctrine besides a few, as is attested to by al Nu’mani and others.

Apart from all of this, Hassan al ‘Askari himself, to who this fictitious son is attributed, denied having any son, for in his fatal illness he addresses his bequest to his mother and he gives the responsibility of taking charge of all his endowments and charities, he also makes the prominent people of the state and people eligible for testifying in the court to that, as is narrated by al Kulayni in his al Kafi[41] and Ibn Babawayh in Ikmal al Din,[42] and others.[43] Had he had a son who possessed all those supernatural and perfect characteristics it would not have been permissible for him to appoint anyone besides him, for a person who is the vicegerent of Allah in his creation, the ruler of the Ummah, a source of safety for the universe and the humans residing within it surely will be able to uphold the responsibilities of the endowments of his father and his charities despite his occultations. Hence not appointing him is a sign that he did not exist.

The statement of al Tusi that Hassan done so in order to conceal the matter of his son and save him from the ruler of the time[44] does not in any way impact on this argument due to it being without any evidence.

Due to the aforementioned reasons the invalidity of his existence and whatever is based on it is completely clear.

This is the testimony of the Ahlus Sunnah, majority of the Shia sects, the chiefs of the Ahlul Bayt, the family of Abu Talib, his brother Jafar, and Hassan al ‘Askari himself. All these testimonies and evidences debunk the claim of a son, they debunk the claims of those strange people who claimed to be his Babs and to have seen him. How much more inevitable would the evidence then become when the improbability of his existence for centuries on end is added to all the aforementioned. If Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala were to increase the life of any human due to the creation being in need of him he would have extended the life of Rasul Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, as Abu al Hassan al Rida mentioned. Not forgetting that till today no one knows where he is, nor is there any reliable person who can bring us information about him.

Whoever had to hide from an oppressive ruler due to fear for his life or for other reasons, the period of his hiding was short and was not unknown to everyone.

Furthermore, how can the first responsible person of the Ummah go into occultation for such a long period? Is this all not evidence of the fact that the doctrine of occultation is based upon a fairy tale which was invented by the heretics and haters?

Apparently there were monetary and political benefits behind this doctrine, for the greed for exclusively amassing wealth and the endeavour to make the Muslim empire crumble were the two main impetuses for the invention of this doctrine. And the evidence for this is that the language of money prevailed among the Shia sects, money was the basis of their disputes and differences, as the books of the Twelvers have preserved, as has passed.

Likewise the issue of political dominance and Imamah was the central discussion of these covert Shia movements around which they revolved, and inventing the idea of a Hidden Imam would emancipate them from the Ahlul Bayt and place control into their hands.

They hardly exhorted their intellect, deliberation, and contemplation in reaching this goal; because they had already found the basis of this idea in the Zoroastrianism, for the Zoroastrians claimed that they have a living leader whose anticipation they await, as has passed already.

 

NEXT⇒ Chapter Five – Raj’ah (The Return)


[1] Sahih al Bukhari: chapter of the battles: sub-chapter regarding the letters of Rasul Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam to Qaisar and Kisra: 5/136, chapter of tribulations: 4/527-528; Sunan al Nasa’i: chapter regarding utilising women for governance: 8/227; Musnad Ahmed 5/43, 51.

[2] His name was Ahmed ibn Ibrahim according to the narration. See: Rijal al Hilli p. 16.

[3] It should be remembered that previously it was mentioned that according to the Shia taking the name of the Imam is tantamount to disbelief.

[4] Al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 138.

[5] Al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 241-242.

[6] Ibid. p. 217.

[7] Ibid. p. 15.

[8] Ibid. p. 244.

[9] See earlier post. Click Here

[10] Al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 241-242.

[11] Al Kafi (with the commentary Mir’at al ‘Uqul 4/55; Ikmal al Din p. 451; al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 177; al Ihtijaj p. 163; Wasa’il al Shia 18/101; Muhammad Makki al ‘Amili: al Durrah al Tahirah p. 47.

[12] Some of their narrations apparently were fabricated in the wake of the death of Hassan al ‘Askari, they portray the occultation of the alleged son. For example, “If you receive any news regarding the occultation of your companion, do not deny it.” (Usul al Kafi 1/340). This narration seemingly throws the idea of the occultation of the Mahdi without any emphasis in order to assess the reaction of the people and counter react with appropriate action. It also mentions that the Mahdi will only have one occultation.

Some of their narrations emphasise that he will return after this occultation. In al Kafi the following narration appears:

 

عن أم هانئ قالت: سألت أباجعفر محمد عليه السلام عن قوله تعالي:  فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّس الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ قالت: إمام يخنس سنة ستين ومائتين ثم يظهر، فما بعد غيبته إلا الظهور

Umm Hani’ narrates, “I asked Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn ‘Ali regarding the verse, ‘So I swear by the retreating stars -Those that run [their courses] and disappear,” and he said, ‘An Imam who will go into hiding in the year 260 and thereafter will emerge, for there is nothing after his disappearance but emergence.’” (See: Usul al Kafi 1/341).

Hence the announcement of al Samarri of the termination of the station of the Bab possibly indicated the imminent arrival of the Mahdi. But years have passed and he has not made his appearance.

[13] Al Nu’mani: al Ghaybah 113.

[14] The text has passed previously. Click Here

[15] Al Nu’mani: al Ghaybah p. 115.

[16] Aqa’id al Imamiyyah p. 57.

[17] See the chapter regarding the country of the scholars in chapter four.

[18] P. 240, onward.

[19] Abu al Mahasin al Wasiti: al Munazarah bayn Ahlus Sunnah wa al Rafidah p. 59.

[20] Minhaj al Sunnah 4/213.

[21] Minhaj al Sunnah 2/163.

[22] Minhaj al Sunnah 2/163.

[23] Ibid. 1/30; al Muntaqa p. 31; Risalah Ra’s al Husain p. 6.

[24] See The Condition of the Shia after the demise of Hassan al ‘Askari

[25] Usul al Kafi 1/505; Ikmal al Din p. 41-42.

[26] Al Maqalat wa al Firaq p. 102-116; Firaq al Shia p. 96-112.

[27] Al Maqalat wa al Firaq p. 114-115; Firaq al Shia p. 103-104.

[28] Tarikh al Tabari (al Hussainiyyah publications: 1st edition): 13/26-27, (Dar al Ma’arif publication):11/49-50.

[29] Muhibb al Din al Khatib in his footnotes upon al Muntaqa p. 173.

[30] Al Sawa’iq al Muhriqah p. 168.

[31] Al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 75.

[32] Safinah al Bihar p. 162.

[33] Al Ghaybah p. 75.

[34] Ikmal al Din p. 312; Safinah al Bihar 1/162; Usul al Kafi 1/504; Muqtabas al Athar 14/314. They said, “He is given the title Jafar ibn Muhammad al Sadiq in contrast to this Jafar whom they titled the liar or the inveterate liar (see: Muqtabas al Athar 14/314). Hence it is very possible that the title al Sadiq was accorded to Jafar, the Imam, in order to spite his nephew Jafar.”

[35] Ikmal al Din p. 312; Safinah al Bihar 1/162.

[36] Notice the Jewish names.

[37] The second Bab.

[38] How would they know that it was the letter of the Mahdi, that is if he existed, when writings resemble writings and the person producing the letter is infallible and is suspected due to him vesting in his personal interests, more so when the one who is transmitting this letter from Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman holds a Jewish identity.

[39]Ikmal al Din p. 415; al Ihtijaj (printed in Najf in 1386 A.H.) 2/283, (Beirut print 1401 A.H.) 2/469; Safinah al Bihar 1/163; Muqtabas al Athar 14/316.

[40] See footnote no. 34 of this post.

[41] Usul al Kafi 1/505.

[42] Ikmal al Din p. 42.

[43] Al Tusi: al Ghaybah p. 75.

[44] Al Ghaybah p. 75.

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