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The Fatimi – Ibn Khaldun

This excerpt is an incomplete translation of the section which Ibn Khaldun devotes to the subject of the Mahdi, and comprises in full his study of the ahadith on him.

If we examine first the ‘aqidahs which are acknowledged, such as those of at-Tahawi, an-Nasafi, or Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (in his Risalah and the Kitab al-Jami‘) we find that none of them mention the Mahdi as a fundamental part of the ‘aqidah of Islam, whereas all do indeed mention the return of ‘Isa, peace be upon him, and the descent of the Dajjal, except in the Risalah, whose ‘aqidah is brief.

When we turn to the works of ahadith, we find that Malik in Muwatta, and al-Bukhari mention nothing of the Mahdi at all, although Muslim does mention a hadith that in later times there will be an unnamed noble and generous khalifah. It is inconceivable for these great Imams to have neglected something which is a fundamental pillar of the ‘aqidah.

The significance of this section is not to deny that there may be at some point in the future of Islam a great rightly-guided Khalifah, but that it is not a fundamental part of the ‘aqidah and that it is a deviation of Islam to ‘wait for the Mahdi’ in order to establish Islam, wage jihad or restore the Khalifate.

In the later part of this section Ibn Khaldun devotes some space to Sufi writings on the Mahdi, and on some of the historical personages particularly in North Africa who rose in revolt proclaiming themselves to be Mahdis. Ibn Khaldun writes that if there is to be a Mahdi he will have to appear according to the dynamics of political power outlined in theMuqaddimah, and not as in the apocalyptic fantasies of some sources.

This section is by no means the last word on this matter, and Ibn Khaldun’s chapter has met with criticism from other hadith scholars throughout the ages, but that is also of the nature of these sciences, since there are few scholars who have escaped criticism for some position they have taken. Some of the criticisms made of him are utterly baseless, such as that he was not a scholar of hadith. This is blatantly untrue since he was educated thoroughly in hadith and indeed later in Cairo taught both fiqh and hadith, and numbered among his pupils the great Ibn Hajar (not necessarily in the science of hadith) who is unquestionably one of the greatest authorities on the subject.

However, this chapter has particular interest for us because of the huge significance that the prophetic ahadith on the Mahdi are given in the time in which we live, and as a corrective to the transformation of the Mahdi into “al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar” (the Awaited Mahdi) whom one of our acquaintance wittily renamed “al-Mahdi al-Muntadhir” (the Waiting Mahdi).

The Fatimi (Mahdi)

translated by Abdassamad Clarke

From the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun

Section 51 (of the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun) On the matter of the
Fatimi (The Mahdi) and the position people take concerning him, removing
the veil from all of that.

Know that it has been commonly accepted ( mashhour ) among the
masses ( al-kaffah ) of the people of Islam throughout the ages
that there must be at the end of time the appearance of a man from the
People of the House who will help the deen and make justice triumphant
and whom the Muslims will follow and who will gain control over the
Islamic lands, and who will be called the Mahdi. The appearance of the
Dajjal and what comes after him of the preconditions of the Hour which
are firmly established in the Sahih (literature) will be right after
him. ‘Isa, peace be upon him, will descend after him and will kill the
Dajjal or he will descend at the same time as he (appears) and will
help him to kill him and then he will follow the Mahdi as his Imam in
prayer. They argue in favour of this matter using hadith which the Imams
published. Those who deny (the Mahdi) discussed them (those hadith)
and opposed them with some other traditions.

The later Sufis have another path with respect to this Fatimi and a
way of drawing indications and they probably rely in that upon the unveiling
which is the source of their paths.

Here we will now mention the hadith which are narrated about this matter
and what matters those who deny them have which would invalidate them,
and what hadiths with isnads they have with which to oppose them, which
we will follow with mention of the Sufis’ words so that the sound and
authentic of them may become clear to you, insha’Allah ta’ala.

We say a group of the Imams narrated the hadith about the Mahdi, of
whom are at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, al-Bazzar, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, at-Tabarani,
and Abu Ya’ala al-Mawsili, and they ascribed them to a group of the
companions, for example, ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Umar, Talhah, Ibn Mas’ud,
Abu Hurairah, Anas, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, Umm Habibah, Umm Salamah, Thawban,
Qurrah ibn Iyas, ‘Ali al-Hilali and ‘Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz’
with isnads which those who deny (the Mahdi) object to, as we shall
mention, except that it is well known to the people of hadith that (the
factors which cause the) invalidation (of a hadith narrator) take precedence
over the (the factors which result in the) attribution of veracity (to
him), so that when we find a flaw in some of the men in the isnads because
of carelessness, bad memory, weakness or a bad view that will find a
way (to affect) the soundness of the hadith and will weaken it. Do not
say, “Similar things may affect the soundness of the men of the two
Sahih volumes,” because the consensus of the Ummah has been reached
on accepting both of them and acting upon the contents of both of them,
and in consensus there is the greatest and best protection. Books other
than the two Sahihs do not have the same degree of agreement in that
respect. You will find an opportunity to discuss their isnads in what
has been transmitted from the Imams of hadith about that.

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Khaythamah went excessively far, according to that
which as-Suhaili transmitted from him, in his collecting the hadith
which have been related concerning the Mahdi, so he said, “One of the
strangest of them in isnad is that which Abu Bakr al-Iskaf mentioned
in his Fawa’id al-Akhbar with an isnad to Malik ibn Anas from
Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir from Jabir that he said, “The Messenger of
Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Whoever denies
the Mahdi has become a kafir, and whoever denies the Dajjal has become
a liar’.” And he said, “In The Rising of the Sun from its Place of
Setting
is the like of it, I think,” and this is enough for excessive
behaviour, and Allah knows best about the soundness of its path to Malik
ibn Anas, because Abu Bakr al-Iskaf is suspected of forgery by them
(the scholars of hadith).

As for at-Tirmidhi, he and Abu Dawud published, with their two isnads
to Ibn ‘Abbas by way of ‘Asim ibn Abi an-Nujud, one of ‘The Seven’ Qur’an
reciters, to Zirr ibn Hubaysh from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud from the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “If there did not remain of
the world anything but one day, Allah would lengthen that day until
Allah would send in it a man from me, or from the people of my house,
whose name coincides with my name and whose father’s name coincides
with my father’s name.” This is the wording of Abu Dawud, and he remained
silent about it, and he said in his famous letter/treatise, “What he
was silent about in his book is correct.” The wording of at-Tirmidhi
is, “The world will not depart until a man of my house will take control
of the Arabs, whose name coincides with my name,” and in another wording,
“…until a man from the people of my house rules…” and both of them
are good sound hadiths, and he related them also by a path which stops
short at Abu Hurairah. Al-Hakim said, “Ath-Thawri, Shu’bah, Za’idah
and other Imams of the Muslims narrated it from ‘Asim.” He said, “The
paths of ‘Asim from Zirr from ‘Abdullah are all sound according to what
???? of deriving a proof from the traditions of ‘Asim since he is one
of the Imams of the Muslims.” (What these Imams have said is) finished
(here). However, Ahmad ibn Hanbal said about him (‘Asim), “He was a
right-acting man, reciting the Qur’an, good and trustworthy, and al-‘Amash
has a better memory than him, and Shu’bah used to choose al-‘Amash over
him if he was trying to make sure of a hadith, and al-‘Ijli said, ‘They
used to disagree about him concerning his narration from Zirr and Abu
Wa’il,’ indicating by that the weakness of his narration from the two
of them.” Muhammad ibn Sa’d said, “He was trustworthy except that he
made a lot of mistakes in his hadith.” Ya’qub ibn Sufyan said, “There
is some disquiet about his hadith.” ‘Abdarrahman ibn Abi Hatim said,
“I said to my father, ‘Abu Zar’ah says that ‘Asim is trustworthy.’ He
said, ‘That is not his place. Ibn ‘Ulayyah spoke about him and said,
“Everyone whose name is ‘Asim has a bad memory”.’ Abu Hatim said, ‘His
standing with me is a standing of truthfulness, with good hadith, and
yet, by that, he is not a memoriser of hadith (a hafidh).'” There are
different statements from an-Nasa’i about him. Ibn Harrash said, “In
his hadith there is an indefiniteness.” Abu Ja’far al-‘Aqeeli said,
“He had nothing (said against him) but (that he had) a bad memory.”
Ad-Daraqutni said, “There was something about his memorisation.” Yahya
al-Qattan said, “I have not found a man whose name was ‘Asim but that
I found him to have a weak memory.” He also said, “I heard Shu’bah say,
‘Asim ibn Abu an-Nujud narrated to us, and in people is what is in it/her.'”
Adh-Dhahabi said, “(He was) Firm (trustworthy) in recitation and good
in hadith (i.e. less than his rank in recitation), and if any argues
with us saying that the two Shaykhs (Bukhari and Muslim) narrated from
him then we say, ‘They narrated from him coupling (his hadith) with
another’s, not as a source (in himself) and Allah knows best.'”

Abu Dawud published in the chapter (of hadith on the Mahdi) from ‘Ali,
may Allah be pleased with him, from the narration of Qatan ibn Khalifah
from al-Qasim ibn Abi Murrah from Abu at-Tufail from ‘Ali from the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, “Even if nothing
remained of time but one day, Allah would send a man from the people
of my house who would fill it with justice just as it has been filled
with injustice.” And even if Ahmad, Yahya ibn al-Qattan, Ibn Mu’in,
an-Nasa’i and others found Qatan ibn Khalifah trustworthy, yet al-‘Ijli
said, “He has good hadith but there is a little bit of shi’ah in him.”
Ibn Mu’in once said, “A shi’ah trustworthy.” Ahmad ibn Abdullah ibn
Yunus said, “We used to pass by Qatan and he was rejected; we would
not write down (hadith) from him.” He said once, “I used to pass by
him and leave him alone like a dog.” Ad-Daraqutni said, “He may not
be used in proof.” Abu Bakr ibn ‘Ayyash said, “I did not abandon narrating
from him except because of the evil of his school.” Al-Jurjani said,
“A deviant who is untrustworthy.”

Abu Dawud also published with his isnad to Ali, may Allah be pleased
with him, from Marwan ibn al-Mughirah from ‘Umar ibn Abi Qays from Shu’ayb
ibn Abi Khalid from Abu Ishaq an-Nasafi, that ‘Ali said while looking
at his son al-Hasan, “This son of mine is a lord as the Messenger of
Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, named him; a man will
come from his loins who will be named with the name of your Prophet,
salla’llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam; he will resemble him in disposition but
he will not resemble him in appearance; he will fill the earth with
justice.” Harun said, “Umar ibn Abi Qays narrated to us from Mutarfif
ibn Tarif from Abu’l-Hasan from Hilal ibn ‘Umar, ‘I heard ‘Ali saying,
“The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘A man
will come out from beyond the river who will be known as al-Harith,
in advance of whom will be a man known as Mansur, who will facilitate
or establish things for the family of Muhammad as Quraysh established
things for the Messenger of Allah, salla’llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam; it
is obligatory on every believer to help him’ or he said, ‘…to respond
to him’.”‘” Abu Dawud was silent about it. He said in another place,
“Harun is one of the offspring of the shi’ah.” And as-Sulaymani said,
“There is an opinion about him.” Abu Dawud said about ‘Umar ibn Abi
Qays, “No harm. And in his hadith there is a mistake.” Adh-Dhahabi said,
“Straight (as a spear)! He has suppositions.” As for Abu Ishaq the shi’ah,
even if he has been narrated from in the two Sahih books it is established
that he mixed things up towards the end of his life, and his narration
from ‘Ali is interrupted, and similarly the narration of Abu Dawud from
Harun ibn al-Mughirah. As for the second isnad, Abu’l-Hasan and Hilal
ibn ‘Umar in it are unknown and Abu’l-Hasan is not known except in Mutarrif
ibn Tarif’s narration from him.

Abu Dawud also published from Umm Salamah, radiya’llahu ‘anha, that
she said, “I heard…” and in Al-Mustadrak by way of ‘Ali ibn
Nufayl from Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyab from Umm Salamah that she said, “I
heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
saying, ‘The Mahdi is one of the descendants of Fatimah’.” The wording
of al-Hakim is, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace, mentioning the Mahdi and then he said, ‘Yes, he
is real, and he is one of the descendants of Fatimah’.” And he (al-Hakim)
did not speak about it as being sahih or anything else, and Abu Ja’far
al-‘Aqeeli declared it weak. He said, “‘Ali ibn Nufayl is not to be
followed over it, and it is unknown except from him.”

Abu Dawud also published from Umm Salamah by way of Salih Abu’l-Khaleel
from a companion of his from Umm Salamah, that he said, “There will
be disagreement at the death of a khalifah, so a man from Madinah will
come out fleeing to Makkah, and the people of Makkah will come to him
and bring him out (as a claimant for the khalifate) against his will
and swear alegiance to himbetween the Corner (of the Ka’bah in which
the Black Stone is) and the Station (of Ibrahim). An expeditionary force
will sent against him from Sham (Syria) and the earth will swallow them
up in the waterless desert between Makkah and Madinah. When people see
that, the Abdal of the people of Sham will come to him and the companies
of the people of Iraq and they will swear allegiance to him. Then a
man of Quraysh will arise (in rebellion) whose maternal uncles are (the
tribe of) Kalb, and an expeditionary force will be sent against them
and they will conquer them, and that is the expeditionary force of Kalb,
and there is disappointment for whoever does not attend (the division
of) the spoils of Kalb. So he will divide up the wealth, and he wil
act among people according to their Prophet’s Sunnah, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, and he will throw Islam by its neck on the
earth. He will remain seven years.” One of them said, “Nine years.”
Moreover, Abu Dawud narrated it from the narration of Abu’l-Khaleel
from ‘Abdullah ibn al-Harith from Umm Salamah, which will make clear
to you the unnamed person in the former isnad, and its men are men of
the two Sahihs against whom there are no allegations or cause for slander.
It has been said that it is one of the narrations of Qatadah from Abu’l-Khaleel,
and Qatadah was a mudallis (who neglected to mention an intermediary
in the isnad between him and the first man in the isnad, perhaps because
the intermediary was less well trusted than the first name in the isnad)
and he narrated his hadith using the terminology “from so-and-so from
so-and-so” (to avoid saying “I heard it from so-and-so who heard it
from so-and-so” and thus having to give the name of the less trusted
intermediary) and the hadith of a mudallis is not to be accepted unless
he declares unequivocally that he heard it (directly from the first
person he mentions in his isnad who heard it directly from his transmitter,
and so on). Along with that, there is no mention of the Mahdi by name
in the hadith. Yes, though, Abu Dawud mentioned it in his chapters (on
the Mahdi).

Abu Dawud also published, and al-Hakim followed him in it, from Abu
Sa’id al-Khudri that he said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, said, ‘The Mahdi is from me, clear-browed,
crook-nosed, he will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was
filled with wrongdoing and injustice; he will have seven years’.” This
is the wording of Abu Dawud and he was silent about it. The wording
of al-Hakim is, “The Mahdi is from us, the people of the house, proud-nosed,
hooked, clear (browed), he will fill the earth with equity and justice
just as it was filled with tyranny and injustice; he will live like
this,’ and he spread out (the fingers of) his left hand and two fingers
of his right hand, the index finger and the thumb, and he bent down
(the other) three (fingers).” Al-Hakim said, “This is a sahih hadith
according to the conditions of Muslim, and the two of them (Bukhari
and Muslim) did not publish it.” There is disagreement about seeking
to prove something by mearns of ‘Amran al-Quttan. Bukhari only published
from as an extra evidence not as a primary source. Yahya al-Qattan would
not narrate from him and Yahya ibn Mu’in said, “He is not strong,” and
he said one time, “He is not anything.” Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “I would
hope that he would be (a) good (source) of hadith.” Yazid ibn Zurai’
said, “He was a Haruri, and he held the view that the sword could be
used against the people of the Qiblah.” An-Nasa’i said, “Weak.” Abu
‘Ubaidah al-Ajiri said, “I asked Abu Dawud about him and he said, ‘(He
was) One of the companions of al-Hasan (al-Basri) and I have not heard
anything but good about him.’ Another time I heard him mention him and
he said, ‘Weak. He gave a severe fatwa about Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn
Hasan (who contended for the Khalifate and took up arms against the
Abbasids and was killed), in which there was spilling of blood’.”

At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim all published from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri
by way of Zayd al-‘Ammi from Abu Sadeeq an-Naji from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri
that he said, “We were afraid that things might happen, so we asked
the Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, …

‘In my Ummah there will be the Mahdi; he will come out and live five,
seven or nine,'” Zayd was the one who was not sure. He said, “We said,
‘What is that?’ He said, ‘Years.’ He said, ‘So he will come to him and
say, “O Mahdi, give me!” He said, ‘So he will spread his garment for
him as open as he can to carry it (what the Mahdi will give him)’.”
The wording is that of at-Tirmidhi, and he said, “This is a good hadith,”
and he narrated it in more than one way from Abu Sa’id from the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The wording of Ibn Majah and
al-Hakim is, “There will be in my Ummah the Mahdi; if it is shortened
then seven, and if not, then nine, and my Ummah will be blessed in him
with a blessing the like of which they will have never heard. The earth
will give its produce and nothing of it will be stored, and wealth on
that day will be in heaps, so that a man will stand up and say, ‘Mahdi,
give me!’ and he will say, ‘Take’.” (As for) Zayd al-‘Ammi, even if
ad-Daraqutni, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Yahya ibn Mu’in said about him that
he was right-acting, and Ahmad said moreover that he was above Yazid
ar-Rafashi and Fadl ibn ‘Isa, yet Abu Hatim said about him, “(He was)
Weak. He used to write his hadith and he is not used as a proof.” Yahya
ibn Mu’in said in another narration, “No thing,” and he said one time,
“He writes his hadith and he is weak.” Al-Jurjani said, “One who holds
on strongly.” Abu Zar’ah said, “He is not strong, baseless hadith, weak.”
Abu Hatim said, “He is not that, and Shu’bah narrated from him.” An-Nasa’i
said, “Weak.” Ibn ‘Adi said, “The mass of what he narrates and those
from whom it was narrated are weak, except that Shu’bah narrated from
him, and perhaps Shu’bah narrated from nobody weaker than him.” It has
been said, “The hadith of at-Tirmidhi came about as a commentary for
that which Muslim narrated in his Sahih of the hadith of Jabir. He said,
‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“There will be at the end of my Ummah a Khalifah who will pour out wealth
without counting it.” And also the hadith of Abu Sa’id that he said,
“Of your khulafa there will be a khalifah who will pour out wealth,”
and by another way from the two of them that he said, “There will be
at the end of time a khalifah who will apportion out wealth and he will
not count it’.”‘”

In the ahadith of Muslim, there is no mention of the Mahdi and there
is no indication which would establish that he was intended by them.

Al-Hakim also narrated it by way of al-‘Awf al-A’rabi from Abu as-Sadeeq
an-Naji from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that he said, “The Messenger of Allah,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The Hour will not arise
until the earth is filled with tyranny, injustice and enmity, and then
a man will come out from the people of my house who will fill it with
equity and justice just as it was filled wtih injustice and enmity’.”
Al-Hakim said about it, “It is sahih according to the conditions of
the two shaykhs, and they did not publish it.” Al-Hakim also narrated
it by way of Sulayman ibn ‘Ubaid from Abu as-Sadeeq an-Naji from Abu
Sa’id al-Khudri from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, that he said, “The Mahdi will come out at the end of
my Ummah, and Allah will give him the rain to drink, and the land will
produce its plants and he will give wealth free from defect, cattle
will be plentiful, and the Ummah will be vast. He will live seven, or
eight,” meaning years. Al-Hakim said about it, “It is a hadith whose
isnad is sahih, and the two of them did not publish it,” although none
of the six published anything from Sulayman ibn ‘Ubaid, but Ibn Hibban
mentioned him among the trustworthy and he did not relate that anyone
had said anything (negative) about him. Moreover, al-Hakim narrated
it by way of Asad ibn Musa from Hamad ibn Salamah from Matar al-Warraq
and Abu Harun al-‘Abdi from Abu as-Sadeeq an-Naji from Abu Sa’id that
the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“The earth will be filled with tyranny and injustice, then a man from
my offspring will come out and he will have seven or nine, and the earth
will be filled with justice and equity as much as it was filled with
tyranny and injustice.” Al-Hakim said about it, “This is a sahih hadith
according to the condition of Muslim since it was published from Hamad
ibn Salamah and from his shaykh, Matar al-Warraq,” but as for his other
shaykh, Abu Harun al-‘Abdi he did not publish anything from him and
he is extremely weak and suspected of lying, and there is no need to
publish the sayings of the Imams in which they expose his weakness.
As for the one who narrated to him from Hamad ibn Salamah, Asad ibn
Musa who was nicknamed Asad as-Sunnah (The Lion of the Sunnah), even
if al-Bukhari said, “His hadith are well-known,” and he used him as
evidence in his Sahih, and Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i sought to use him
in proof, yet he said about him another time, “(He is) trustworthy;
if only he did not compile (hadith) it would be better for him.” Muhammad
ibn Hazm said about him, “(His) hadith are rejected.”

At-Tabarani narrated it in his al-Mu’jam al-Awsat in the narration
of Abu al-Wasil ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid ibn Wasil from Abu as-Sadeeq an-Naji
from al-Hasan ibn Yazid as-Sa’di one of Bani Bahdalah from Abu Sa’id
al-Khudri that he said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, saying, ‘A man from my Ummah will come out
speaking by my Sunnah. Allah, mighty and majestic is He, will send down
the rain for him from the sky and the earth will bring out its blessing
and the earth will be filled because of him with equity and justice
as it had been filled with tyranny and injustice. He will rule over
this Ummah seven years and he will dwell at the Bayt al-Maqdis’.” At-Tabarani
said about it, “A group narrated it from Abu as-Sadeeq and none of them
entered anyone between him and between Abu Sa’id except for Abu al-Wasil,
for he narrated it from al-Hasan ibn Yazid from Abu Sa’id.” Abu Hatim
mentioned this al-Hasan ibn Yazid and he did not make him known for
anything more than is in this isnad of his narration from Abu Sa’id,
and Abu as-Sadeeq’s narration from him. Adh-Dhahabi said, in al-Mizan,
“He is unknown.” However, Ibn Hibban mentioned him among the trustworthy.
As for Abu al-Wasil who narrated it from Abu as-Sadeeq none of the six
narrated from him, but Ibn Hibban mentioned him among the trustworthy
of the second rank, and said about him, “He narrated from Anas and Shu’bah
and ‘Itab ibn Bushr narrated from him.”

Ibn Majah published in the book as-Sunan from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud
by way of Yazid ibn Abi Ziyad from Ibrahim ibn* from ‘Alqamah from ‘Abdullah
that he said, “While we were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, some men of Banu Hashim came up. When
the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw
them his eyes flowed and his complexion changed colour.” He said, “I
said, ‘We still see something in your face which we dislike.’ Then he
said, ‘We, the people of the house, Allah has chosen the next life for
us over the world, and the people of my house after me will receive
trial, dispersal and expulsion until a people come from the direction
of the east with whom there are black banners, and they will ask for
news and will not be given it, and so they will fight and be given victory
and be given what they asked, but they will not accept it until they
give it to a man from the people of my house, and he will fill it (the
earth) with equity as much as they had filled it with tyranny. Whoever
of you reaches that let him come to them even if it were crawling on
the snow.” This hadtih is known among the scholars of hadith as the
“hadith of the banners”. Shu’bah said about its narrator, Yazid ibn
Abi Ziyad, “He used to be a raffa'”, meaning that he would raise
unknown hadith (by ascribing them to the Prophet, salla’llahu ‘alaihi
wa sallam). Muhammad ibn al-Fadeel said, “One of the great Imams of
the Shi’ah.” Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “He was not a hafidh (memoriser
of the hadith),” and he said one time, “His hadith is not that.” Yahya
ibn Mu’in said, “Weak.” Al-‘Ijli said, “His hadith are permissible,
and he used at his end to yulaqqinu* *.” Abu Zar’ah said, “Soft;
he writes his hadith, and a proof cannot be made by him.” Abu Hatim
said, “He is not strong.” Al-Jurjani said, “I heard them declaring his
hadith to be weak.” Abu Dawud said, “I don’t know of anybody who abandoned
his hadith, and (anyone) other than him is preferrable to me.” Ibn ‘Adi
said, “He is one of the shi’ah of the people of Kufah, and along with
his weakness he writes his hadith.” Muslim did narrate from him except
coupled with others (not as an independent source). In sum, most people
hold him to be weak, and the Imams have openly declared the weakness
of this hadith which he narrated from Ibrahim from ‘Alqamah from ‘Abdullah,
which is the ‘hadith of the banners’. Wakee’ ibn al-Jarrah said about
it, “It is not anything,” and Ahmad ibn Hanbal said the same. Abu Qudamah
said, “I heard Abu Usamah saying about the hadith of Yazid from Ibrahim
on the banners, ‘Even if Usamah were to swear fifty oaths in my presence
I would not believe it. Is this the madhhab of Ibrahim? Is this the
madhhab of ‘Alqamah? Is this the madhhab of ‘Abdullah?'” Al-‘Aqeeli
narrated this hadith among the weak, and adh-Dhahabi said, “It is not
sahih.”

Ibn Majah narrated from ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, by the
narration of Yasin al-‘Ijli from Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Hanafiyyah
from his father from his grandfather (‘Ali) that he said, “The Messenger
of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘The Mahdi is from
us, the people of the house. Allah will put things right by him in one
night’.” Even if Ibn Mu’in said about Yasin al-‘Ijli, “There is nothing
wrong with him,” yet al-Bukhari had said, “There is an opinion about
him,” and this expression is one of his technical terms which very strongly
expresses his view of him as being weak. Ibn ‘Adi narrated this hadith
from him in al-Kamil and adh-Dhahabi in al-Mizan as a way of rejecting
it, and said, “He is well known for it.”

At-Tabarani published in his al-Mu’jam al-Awsat from ‘Ali, may
Allah be pleased with him, that he said to the Prophet, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, “Is the Mahdi from us or from other than us,
Messenger of Allah?” So he said, “No, he is from us. With us will Allah
conclude, as with us He began. With us they will rescue from shirk*
* and by us Allah will unite their hearts after clear enmity, just as
by us He united their hearts after the enmity of shirk. ” ‘Ali
said, “Believers or disbelievers?” He said, “One who is tried and a
disbeliever.” In it there is ‘Abdullah ibn Luhay’ah who is weak, whose
state is known. In it there is ‘Umar ibn Jabir al-Hadrami who is weaker
than him. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “Many things which are to be rejected
are narrated from Jabir and it has reached us that he used to lie.”
An-Nasa’i said, “He is not trustworthy.” He said, “Ibn Luhay’ah was
a foolish old man, weak of intellect. He used to say, ‘Ali is in the
clouds’, and he would sit with us and, seeing a cloud, he would say,
‘This is ‘Ali who has passed in the clouds’.”

At-Tabarani published from ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that
the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“There will be a trial at the end of time in which men will be extracted
as gold is extracted from the mines, so do not curse the people of Syria,
but curse their worst ones, because among them are the Abdal. Soon a
rain-cloud from the sky will be sent against the people of Syria which
will divide up their community, so much so that if foxes were to fight
them they would conquer them. At that time one of the people of my house
will come out with three banners; the one who estimates (their number)
high would say, ‘They have fifteen thousand,’ and the one who estimates
low would say, ‘They have twelve thousand,’ and their mark is ‘Amit!
[Kill!] Amit!’ They will cast seven banners, underneath each of those
banners a man seeking kingship. Allah will kill all of them and Allah
will return to the Muslims their union, their blessing, their distance
and their view.” In it is ‘Abdullah ibn Luhay’ah who is weak, and whose
state is well known. Al-Hakim narrated it in al-Mustadrak and said,
“A sahih isnad and the two of them (al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not narrate
it.” In his narration of it there is, “Then later the Hashimi will appear
and Allah will return people to their union.” Ibn Luhay’ah is not in
this isnad, and it is a sahih isnad as he mentioned.

Al-Hakim published in al-Mustadrak from ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased
with him, from the narration of Abu at-Tufail from Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
that he said, “We were with ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and
a man asked him about the Mahdi. He said to him ‘How remote from the
truth!’ Then he counted with his hand seven, and said, ‘That one will
come out at the end of time, when if a man says, “Allah, Allah,” he
will be killed. Allah will unite around him a wispy people like the
wisps of the clouds, and Allah will unite their hearts so that they
do not need anyone and do not rejoice in anyone who joins them. Their
number will be as the number of the people of Badr Ð the first ones
will not outrace them and the last ones will not reach them ÐÊand
as the number of Talut’s companions who crossed the river with him.'”
Abu at-Tufail said, “Ibn al-Hanafiyyah said, ‘Do you want it?’ I said,
‘Yes.’ He said, ‘He will come out from between these two rugged mountains.’
I said, ‘By Allah, I will not leave it until I die.'” And he died in
it, i.e. Makkah. Al-Hakim said, “This is a sahih hadith according to
the conditions of the two shaykhs.” And it is only on the condition
of Muslim, because ‘Ammar adh-Dhahabi, Yunus ibn Abi Ishaq are in it,
and al-Bukhari did not narrate from the two of them. ‘Amr ibn Muhammad
al-‘Abqari is in it, and al-Bukhari never narrated from him as a proof
but only as extra evidence, as well as what connects to that of the
Shi’ah inclinations of ‘Amr adh-Dhahbabi. Even if Ahmad, Ibn Mu’in,
Abu Hatim, an-Nasa’i and others regarded him as trustworthy, ‘Ali ibn
al-Madani said from Sufyan that Bushr ibn Marwan cut his Achilles tendons.
I said, “For what reason?” He said, “For his becoming a shi’ah.”

Ibn Majah published from Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with
him, in the narration of Sa’d ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid ibn Ja’far from ‘Ali
ibn Ziyad al-Yamami from ‘Ikrimah ibn ‘Ammar from Ishaq ibn ‘Abdullah
from Anas that he said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, saying, ‘We, the descendants of ‘Abd al-Muttalib,
are the lords of the people of the Garden: I, Hamzah, ‘Ali, Ja’far,
al-Hasan, al-Husein and al-Mahdi.'” Even if Muslim published from ‘Ikrimah
ibn ‘Ammar, yet he only did so in following (on from someone else already
having published the hadith); some did declare him to be weak and others
declared him trustworthy. Abu Hatim ar-Razi said, “He was a mudallis
(i.e. he covered up gaps in his isnads by not mentioning mssing persons
or by saying so-and-so “from” so-and-so rather than the more explicit
so-and-so “heard” it from so-and-so), and he is not accepted until he
declares that ‘Ali ibn Ziyad heard (the hadith directly).” Adh-Dhahabi
said in al-Mizan, “We don’t know who he was,” then he said, “The correct
statement concerning him ‘Abdullah ibn Ziyad and Sa’d ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid
even if Ya’qub ibn Abi Shaybah declared him to be trustworthy.”** Yahya
ibn Mu’in said about him, “There is no harm in him.” Ath-Thawri spoke
against him, they say because he saw him giving fatwas on some issues
and making mistakes in them. Ibn Hibban said, “He was one of those whose
giving was excessive, so no proof can be derived from him.” Ahmad ibn
Hanbal said, “Sa’id ibn ‘Abd al-Hamid claims that he heard the review
of the books of Malik, and people reject that, and here he is in Baghdad
and no-one takes him as a proof, so how could he have heard them?” Adh-Dhahabi
regarded him as one of those whom the words of those who talk against
him do not injure. Al-Hakim published in al-Mustadrak in the
narration of Mujahid from Ibn ‘Abbas stopping short at him, that Mujahid
said, “Ibn ‘Abbas said to me, ‘If I had not heard that you are like
the people of the house I would not have told you this hadith.'” He
said, “Mujahid said, ‘Then it is in a veil and I will not mention it
to whoever dislikes it’.” He said, “Ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘From us, the people
of the house, there are four: there is as-Saffah, there is al-Mundhir,
there is al-Mansur, and from us there is the Mahdi.'” He said, “Mujahid
said, ‘Explain to me these four.’ Ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘As for as-Saffah,
most likely he will kill his friends and pardon his enemies. As for
al-Mundhir,’ I think that he said, ‘He will give away much wealth and
will not become exalted in himself, and he will withhold a little which
is his own right. As for al-Mansur, he will be given half of the victory
over his enemy which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, was given, for his enemy feared from the distance of
a two month’s journey, and al-Mansur’s enemy will fear him from the
distance of a month’s journey. As for al-Mahdi, he will fill the earth
with justice as it was filled with tyranny, and (in his time) the wild
beasts will be secure, and the earth will cast out the pieces of its
liver.’ He said, “I said, ‘And what are the pieces of its liver.’ He
said, ‘The likes of columns of gold and silver.'” Al-Hakim said, “This
hadith has a sound isnad, and the two of them (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
did not publish it,” and it is one of the narrations of Isma’il ibn
Ibrahim ibn Muhajir from his father, and Isma’il is weak. As for Ibrahim,
his father, even if Muslim related from him, most people regard him
as weak.

Ibn Majah published fromThawban that he said, “The Messenger of Allah,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Three will fight at
the moment of your pride, each one the son of a khalifah, then it will
not go to any one of them, then the black banners will rise from the
direction of the east and they will kill them with a killing which a
people have not killed with,’ then he mentioned a thing which I have
forgotten, and said, ‘So when you see him, pledge allegiance to him,
even if it must be crawling on snow, for he is the Khalifah of Allah,
the Mahdi.'” The men of it are the men of the two Sahihs except that
in it there is Abu Qalabah al-Jarmi, and adh-Dhahabi and others mentioned
that he was a mudallis, and in it there is Sufyan ath-Thawri
who is famous for being a mudallis, and both of them narrated
“from” so-and-so “from” so-and-so, and did not clearly state that they
had heard it, so that it is not accepted. In it there is ‘Abd ar-Razzaq
ibn Hammam who was well-known for his being a shi’ah, and he became
blind at the end of his life, and became confused. Ibn ‘Adi said, “He
narrated hadith about the excellent qualities about which no-one agrees
with him, and which they ascribed to his espousal of shi’ism.”

Ibn Majah also published from ‘Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz’, az-Zabeedi
by way of Ibn Luhay’ah from Abu Zar’ah from ‘Umar ibn Jabir al-Hadrami
from ‘Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Jaz’ that he said, “The Messenger of
Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘A people will
come from the east and they will facilitate things for the Mahdi, meaning
for his authority.'” At-Tabarani said, “It is unique to Ibn Luhay’ah,”
and we have previously seen, in respect of the hadith of ‘Ali which
at-Tabarani narrated in his al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, that Ibn Luhay’ah
is weak, and that his shaykh ‘Umar ibn Jabir is weaker than him.

Al-Bazzar narrated in his Musnad and at-Tabarani in his a l-Mu’jam
al-Awsat,
and the wording is that of at-Tabarani, from Abu Hurairah
from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said,
“The Mahdi will be among my Ummah, if only for a little (time) then
seven, and if not then eight, and if not then nine, in which my Ummah
will be blessed with a blessing the like of which they will not have
been blessed, the sky will be loosed upon them with abundant rain and
the earth will not store up (and withhold) anything of its plants, and
wealth will be plentiful (piled up in heaps). The man will stand and
say, ‘Mahdi! Give me!’ and he will say, ‘Take!'” At-Tabarani and al-Bazzar
said, “It is unique to Muhammad ibn Marwan al-‘Ijli.” Al-Bazzar added,
“And we do not know of anyone following him in it.” Even if Abu Dawud
declared him to be trustworthy and Ibn Hibban, inasmuch as he counted
him among the trustworthy, and Yahya ibn Mu’in said about him, “Right
acting,” and he said one time, “There is nothing wrong with him,” yet
they disagreed about him. Abu Zar’ah said, “He is not, in my view, that
(i.e. right-acting or trustworthy).” ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal
said, “I saw Muhammad ibn Marwan al-‘Ijli narrating hadith when I was
present and we did not write them down. I intentionally abandoned them,
and some of our company wrote them down from him,” as if he were declaring
that he was weak.

Abu Ya’la al-Mawsili published in his Musnad from Abu Hurairah, and
he said, “My close friend ( khaleel ) Abu’l-Qasim, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, told me. He said, ‘The Hour will not
rise until a man from the people of my house comes out against them
and strikes them until they return to the truth.'” He said, “I said,
‘How many (years) will he possess?’ He said, ‘Five plus two.'” He said,
“I said, ‘What are five plus two?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.'” This isnad
is not used in argument or proof. Even if Basheer ibn Naheek spoke about
him, and Abu Hatim said about him, “He is not used in adducing a proof,”
yet the two Shaykhs adduced proofs by him, and people regarded him as
being trustworthy, and they didn’t turn to the statement of Abu Hatim
that a proof could not be adduced by him, except that Raja’ ibn Abi
Raja’ al-Yashkuri said about him, “And there is disagreement about him.”
Abu Zar’ah said, “Trustworthy.” Yahya ibn Mu’in said, “Weak.” Abu Dawud
said, “Weak,” and he said one time, “Right-acting.” Al-Bukhari attached
to him in his Sahih one hadith.

Abu Bakr al-Bazzar published in his Musnad, and at-Tabarani
in his al-Mu’jam al-Kabir and al-Awsat from Qurrah ibn
Iyas, that he said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, said, ‘The earth will definitely be filled with tyranny
and injustice, then when it is full of tyranny and injustice, Allah
will send a man from my Ummah whose name is my name and whose father’s
name is my father’s name. He will fill it with justice and equity, just
as it was filled with tyranny and injustice. The sky will not hold back
anything of its rain, and the earth wil not store anything of its plants.
He will remain among you seven, or eight or nine,’ meaning years.” In
it there is Dawud ibn al-Muhibbi ibn al-Muhrim from his father, and
they are both extremely weak.

At-Tabarani published in his al-Mu’jam al-Awsat from Ibn ‘Umar
that he said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, was in a group of the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and ‘Ali ibn
Abi Talib was on his left, and al-‘Abbas on his right, when al-‘Abbas
and a man of the Ansar quarrelled, and the Ansari became tough on al-‘Abbas.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took hold of al-‘Abbas’s
hand and ‘Ali’s hand, and said, ‘There will come out of the loins of
this one until the earth is filled with tyranny and injustice, and there
will come out of the loins of this one until he fills the earth with
equity and justice. When you see that, you must take yourselves to the
Tamimi youth, because he will come from the direction of the east, and
he is the owner of the Mahdi’s banner.'” In it there is ‘Abdullah ibn
‘Umar and ‘Abdullah ibn Luhay’ah and they are both weak.

At-Tabarani published in his al-Mu’jam al-Awsat from Talhah
ibn ‘Abdullah (perhaps Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidillah) from the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, that he said, “There will be a
trial from which, if one side will be at peace another side will break
out in dispute, until a crier from the heaven announces, ‘Your Amir
is so-and-so.'” In it there is al-Muthanna ibn as-Sabah who is extremely
weak, and there is no clear open mention of the Mahdi in the hadith,
but they only mentioned it in his chapters and in his anticipatory biographical
notice.

This is the sum total of the hadith which the Imams related concering
the Mahdi and his appearance at the end of time. As you see they are
not free of criticism except for a few which are the very least of them.

Those who reject his business probably sieze hold of that which Muhammad
ibn Khalid al-Jundi related from Aban ibn Salih ibn Abi ‘Ayyash from
al-Hasan al-Basri from Anas ibn Malik from the Prophet, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, that he said, “There is no Mahdi but ‘Isa ibn
Maryam.” Yahya ibn Mu’in said of Muhammad ibn Khalid, “He is trustworthy.”
Al-Baihaqi said, “Only Muhammad ibn Khalid had it (narrated it).” Al-Hakim
said about him, “He is an unknown man.” There is disagreement about
its isnad, so that sometimes they narrate it as above, and that is ascribed
to Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi’i, and sometimes they narrate it from
Muhammad ibn Khalid from Abban from al-Hasan from the Prophet, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, as a mursal (hadith). Al-Baihaqi
said, “So, it (this second isnad as well as the first) returns to the
narration of Muhammad ibn Khalid and he is unknown, from Abban ibn Abi
‘Ayyash and he is one (whose hadith are) abandoned, from al-Hasan from
the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, so that its narration
is interrupted. In summation then the hadith is weak and disquieting.”
It has been said, “There is no Mahdi but ‘Isa ibn Maryam,” i.e. there
is none who will speak in the cradle ( mahd ) except for ‘Isa,
trying through this interpretation (ta’weel) to refute the line of argumentation
utilising it, or to synthesise between it and the (other) hadith, and
it is rebutted by the hadith of Juraij and the like of it of the extraordinary
(hadith).

As for the Sufis, the early generations did not plunge into anything
of this. Their speech was only about struggling with the nafs ( mujahadah
) in actions and what results from that of ecstasies and states. The
talk of the Imamiyyah and the Rafidah (i.e. “rejectors” of the Khalifates
of the first three Companions) of the Shi’ah used to be on the superiority
of ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and about his Imamate and their
claim of his having been bequeathed that by the Prophet, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, and their declaring themselves free of the
two Shaykhs (Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Umar, radiya’llahu ‘anhuma) as we
mentioned previously about their madhhabs. Then after that they began
to talk about the ‘Infallible (ma’sum) Imam’, and there grew to be a
great number of compilations in their madhhabs. Then, of them, there
came the Isma’iliyyah claiming the divinity of the Imam with a type
of incarnation and others claiming the return of Imams who had died
with a type of metempsychosis and there are others who are awaiting
the coming of one of them who was cut off by his death. There are others
who are awaiting the return of authority to the People of the House
seeking an indication of that in those hadith on the Mahdi we have mentioned
already and others.

Then there also occurred among later Sufis some talk about unveiling
and what lies behind the sensory realm. Many of them began to talk unqualifiedly
about incarnation and unity, in which they shared with the Imamiyyah
and Rafidah because of their saying about the divinity of the Imams
and the incarnation of God in them. They also began to talk about the
Qutb and the Abdal, which was as if in imitation of the madhhab of the
Rafidah in respect to the ‘Imam’ and his nuqaba (chiefs). They were
made to imbibe the sayings of the Shi’ah. They advanced further into
the sect with their madhhabs so much so that they made the support of
their path, in respect of the wearing of the Khirqah (patched robe),
that ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, had robed al-Hasan al-Basri
in it and had taken a promise from him on that occasion to stick to
the path, and that had continued from them until al-Junaid, one of their
Shaykhs. This is not known of ‘Ali in any sound and authentic manner,
nor was this path something particularly to do with ‘Ali, may Allah
ennoble his face, rather all of the Companions are models on the path
of guidance, and to single out Ali apart from them reeks of Shi’ism,
from which it is known, and from other things which come from the people,
their entrance into Shi’ism and their entance into its community. They
also began to speak about the Qutb and the books of the Isma’iliyyah
from among the Rafidah, and the books of the later Sufis are full of
the like of this about the awaited Fatimi. Some of them have have dictated
it to others and some have been instructed in it by others, and it is
as if it is built on feeble foundations by both parties. Probably some
of them try to seek evidence in the words of the astrologers on the
conjunctions which is like the type of talk about massacres, about which
we will talk in the chapter which follows this.

The ones, of these later Sufis, who most talked about the matter of
the Fatimi was Ibn al-Arabi al-Hatimi in his book ‘ Unqa al-Maghrib
(The Phoenix of the West), and Ibn Qissi in the book Khal’ an-Na’layn
(Removal of the Sandals) and ‘Abdalhaqq ibn Sab’een and Ibn Abi Wasil
his pupil in his commentary on the book Khal’ an-Na’layn . Most
of their discussion of his affair is enigmas and metaphors, and probably
they, or the commentators on their words, speak clearly the least. The
upshot of their madhhab on him, according to what Ibn Abi Wasil says,
is that by prophethood truth and guidance appeared after error and blindness,
and that Khilafah followed it and then later kingship followed Khilafah
which then later returned to the condition of tyranny and arrogance
and falsehood. They said, that since it is well known of the Sunnah
of Allah that affairs must return to what they were, it became neccessary
that the matter of prophethood and the truth must live in wilayah then
later in its khilafah, then later in deceit in place of the kingship
and authority, then later kufr itself returned, indicating by this that
which happened of prophethood and the khalifate after it, and the kingship
after khilafah, which are three degrees. Similarly the wilayah of this
Fatimi and the deceit after that, alluding to the coming out of the
Dajjal right after him, and then the kufr after that, and they are three
degrees in accordance with the above three degrees. They said, since
the affair of Khilafah belongs to Quraysh by a Sharia’h judgement which
is unanimously agreed upon with a unanimity which is not weakened by
the denial of one who did not apply himself to its study, then it is
necessary that the Imamate should belong to a group which is more select
to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, than Quraysh,
either outwardly such as Bani Abd al-Muttalib or inwardly from among
whoever was of the reality of the Family, and the Family is whoever,
when he is present he does not give a title to whomever is his family**.
Ibn al-Arabi al-Hatimi named him, in his book ‘Unqa al-Maghrib
from among his authorship, the Seal of the Awliya, and nicknamed him
the Brick of Silver indicating the hadith of al-Bukhari in the chapter
of the “Seal of the Prophets”. He said, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, “My likeness with respect to whoever was before me of the
prophets is like a man who built a house and completed it until there
only remained the place for one brick, and I am that one brick,” and
they interpret the Seal of the Prophets as the Brick, “until I complete
the building.” Its meaning is the Prophet who received complete prophethood,
and they liken wilayah with its different degrees to prophethood, and
they make the possessor of perfection in it to be the Seal of the Awliya,
i.e. the one who obtains the rank which is the seal of wilayah just
as the Seal of the Prophets obtained the rank which is the seal of prophethood,
the commentator alluding to this concluding rank as the brick of the
house in the aforementioned hadith. They are based on one relationship
between them, so there is one brick in representation. In prophethood
it is the brick of gold and in wilayah the brick of silver according
to the difference in degree which is as the difference between gold
and silver. They make the brick of gold an allusion to the Prophet,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the brick of silver an
allusion to this awaited Fatimi wali. That one is the Seal of the Prophets,
and this one is the Seal of the Awliya. Ibn al-Arabi said, in that which
Ibn Abi Wasil narrated from him, “This awaited Imam is from the Family
of the House from the descendants of Fatimah, and his appearance will
be after the passing of kha faa jeem after the Hijrah”, and he
symbolised it with three letters, meaning its number (the number of
years) by the arithmetic of using letters of the alphabet according
to their numerical value, which is the kha with one dot above,
which is 600, the fa which is the sister of the qaf which is
eighty, and the jeem with one dot beneath, which is three. That
is 683, which is at the end of the seventh century. When that time had
passed and he had not appeared, then some of their followers took that
to mean that what was meant was his birth, and they took his ‘appearance’
to be an expression indicating his birth, and that his uprising would
be after 710AH, and he is the Imam who will appear from the direction
of the Maghrib. He said*, if his birth is as Ibn al-Arabi claimed 683AH,
then his age at his uprising would be twenty-six years. He said*, and
they claimed that the uprising of the Dajjal would be 743 years after
the Muhammadan day, and the Muhammadan day begins according to them
from the day of the death of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant
him peace, up until the completion of a thousand years. Ibn Abi Wasil
said in his commentary on the book Khal’ an-Na’layn, “The awaited
wali who undertakes the command of Allah and who is indicated by Muhammad
al-Mahdi and the Seal of the Awliya, and he is not a prophet, but he
is only a wali whose ruhandwhose beloved dispatched him. He said, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘The man of knowledge among his
people is like the prophet among his Ummah,’ and he said, ‘The men of
knowledge of my Ummah are like the prophets of Bani Isra’il.’ The good
tidings never ceased to follow about him in succession from the beginning
of the Muhammadan Day to just shortly before 500 [years], which is a
half of the Day, and it was emphasised and compounded by the Shaykhs
bringing the good tidings of the closeness of his time and the approach
of his age since it came to an end, and so on. He said, “And al-Kindi
mentioned that this Wali is the one who will lead the people in praying
Salat adh-Dhuhr adn he will renew Islam, and make justice manifest and
he will conquer the Andalusian peninsula and reach Rome and conquer
it, and travel to the east and conquer it and conquer Constantinople,
and the kingdom of the earth will become his, the Muslims will become
strong, Islam will be exalted and the deen of the Hanif will be purified,
for from Salat adh-Dhuhr to Salat al-‘Asr is a time for prayer. He said,
‘alaihi’s-salatu wa’s-salam, ‘What is in between these two [prayers]
is a time.’ Al-Kindi also said, “The undotted Arabic letters, meaning
those with which the Surahs of the Qur’an open, the sum of their numbers
is seven hundred and forty three, [perhaps there is something missing
here] and seven are Dajjali in nature, and then later ‘Isa will descend
at the time of al-‘Asr, and he will reform the world, and the sheep
will walk with the wolf. Then the extent of the kingdom of the non-Arabs
after their acceptance of Islam with ‘Isa will be one hundred and sixty
years according to the number of the dotted letters, which are Qaf,
Ya, Nun,
of which the just state will be forty years.” Ibn Abi Wasil
said, “That which is narrated of his saying ‘There is no Mahdi except
for ‘Isa,’ means that there is no Mahdi whose guidance will equal his
[‘Isa’s] guidance, and it has been said that no one will speak in the
cradle [ mahd ] except for ‘Isa, and this is refuted by the hadith
of Jurayj and others.

It has been narrated in the Sahih [hadith] that, “This matter will
continue to stand until the Hour rises or there will have been [in command]
over them twelve khalifahs” meaning from Quraysh, and existence has
given that of them there are some who were at the beginning of Islam,
and of them some who wil be at the end of it. He said, may Allah bless
him and grant him peace, “The Khalifate after me will be thirty, or
thirty-one or thirty six” and it ended during the Khalifate of al-Hasan
and in the beginning of the Khalifate of Mu’awiyyah, so that the beginning
of Mu’awiyyah’s affair was a khalifate, taking by the beginnings of
the names, so he is the sixth of the khulafah. As for the seventh of
the khulafa, he was ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez, and of the rest, five
are from the Ahl al-Bayt from the descendants of ‘Ali, which is supported
by his saying, “You are the possessor of two of its horns [or generations],”
meaning the Ummah, i.e. “You are the khalifah at its beginning and your
descendants at its end.” It is very probable that those who assert the
return of ‘Ali seek to prove it by this hadith. So the first, according
to them, is the one indicated by the rising of the sun from its place
of setting.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
“When Khosrau perishes there will be no Khosrau after him, and when
Caeser perishes there will be no Caesar after him. By the One in Whose
hand my self is! You will spend their treasures in the way of Allah,”
and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab spend the treasures of Khosrau in the way of
Allah. The one who will destroy Caesar and who will spend his treasures
in the way of Allah is this awaited one when he conquers Constantinople,
so blessed is its Amir and blessed is that army, and in that manner
spoke the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
and the extent of his rule will be several [years] and ‘several’ is
from three up to nine, and it has been said ten. Forty has been mentioned
and in some narrations seventy. As for forty it is extent of he himself
(his rule) and of the four khulafa remaining from his family who undertake
his affair after him, peace be upon all of them. He said, “And the astrologers
mention that the extent of the duration of his affair and [the affair]
of his family after him is 159 years. The affair will be in the form
of the khilafah and justice for forty or seventy, then conditions will
change, and it will become a kingdom.” This is the end of what Ibn Abi
Wasil said.

He said in another place, “The descent of ‘Isa will be at the time
of Salat al-‘Asr of the Muhammadan Day when three quarters of it has
passed.” He said, “Al-Kindi Ya’qoub ibn Ishaq mentioned in the book
al-Jafr Ð in which he mentioned astrological conjunctions
ÐÊthat when the Qur’an reaches Taurus at the beginning of “da
ha” with the two letters, ‘dad’ with the diacritical point and the ‘ha’
without a diacritical point, meaning 698 after the Hijrah, the Messiah
will descend and will rule over the earth as long as Allah ta’ala wills.”
He said, “And it has been narrated in the hadith that ‘Isa will descend
at the white minaret to the east of Damascus


1 It is impossible that this should be the Companion ‘Abdullah ibn
‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, for no-one has ever said that
he is weak. Al-Bukhari’s golden silsilah, i.e. the best of all possible
isnads, was Malik from Nafi’ from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar from the Messenger
of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Some people said
that the Golden silsilah was ash-Shafi’i from Malik from Nafi’ from
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace, because of the honour of each person in the silsilah.

2 A pre-Islamic Christian Wali accused of having made a young girl
pregnant. The baby spoke and exonerated him. The baby was the only other
baby, apart from ‘Isa, ‘alaihi’s-salam, who spoke in the cradle.

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