Shaykh Dr. 'Ali Muhammad as-Sallaabee
One of the most prominent beliefs of the Rafidi Shia, with which their books are filled, is belief in the awaited Mahdi. What the Imami Rafidis mean by the awaited Mahdi is Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-'Askari, who is their twelfth Imam and whom they call 'the proof' and 'the one who stands for the truth'.
They claim that he was bom in 255 AH and that he hid in the tunnel of Samarra in 265 AH; they are waiting for his appearance at the end of time, when he will avenge them against their enemies and support them. The Rafidi Shia still visit the tunnel of Samarra and call upon him to emerge.
In fact, this Mahdi who is claimed by the Rafidis is non-existent. Al-Hasan al-'Askari, whom they name as his father, died without leaving any child behind; his estate was divided between his mother and his brother Ja'far. This Shiite belief in the awaited Mahdi is accompanied by many myths and fables that no rational person could believe. They believe that the Mahdi is one of the descendants of al-Husayn رضي الله عنه, and they narrate strange stories about him.
They say that when he emerges, the Rafidi Shia will come from all over to rally around him. He will bring the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم out of their graves and punish them; he will kill the Arabs and Quraysh; he will destroy the Ka'bah, the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم Mosque and all other mosques; he will call people to a new religion, a new book and new laws; and he will conquer cities with the Ark of the Covenant of the Jews.
Two springs, of water and milk, will flow for him, and one Shiite Rafidi man will gain the strength of forty men; he will give them strength and power in their hearing and vision, and he will rule according to the law of the family of Dawood عليه السلام.
The beliefs of the Rafidi Shia concerning their awaited Mahdi are false. This fact is indicated by a number of things:
By the wisdom of Allah سبحانه و تعالى, it was decreed that al-Hasan al-'Askari, the eleventh Imam of the Rafidis, should die childless. This was a great scandal and a major setback for the Rafidi Shia: how could the Imam die without having any sons who could succeed him as Imam? Their belief is that the one who succeeds the imam after his death must be his son, and it is not permissible for the imamate to be passed to a brother after al-Hasan رضي الله عنه and al-Husayn رضي الله عنه. The fact that this Mahdi was not born is proven in the books of the Shia themselves.
If we accept for argument's sake that this Mahdi was born, it makes no sense for him to disappear for this long time in the tunnel. When the Rafidi Shia are asked about the wisdom behind his disappearance in the tunnel and his not coming out to the people, they explain that he feared for his life. This is a weak excuse, and many things show this to he false. It is narrated in their books that he will be supported by Allah سبحانه و تعالى and will gain control of the entire earth, east and west. He will fill the earth with justice as it was filled with injustice, and he will live until the time when 'Eesa ibn Maryam [Jesus the son of Mary عليه السلام] descends.
What they say means that the Mahdi will never emerge until the states of injustice and oppression and evil go away, so that he can feel that his life is safe - but at that time there will be no need for him to emerge. These states are able to protect him if he emerges, so why does he not emerge? The one who cannot protect himself from being killed will not he able to protect others either, because the one who does not have a thing cannot give it. How can they he waiting for someone like that to avenge them against their enemies and cause them to prevail? Thus their claims are proven invalid, because the reason why the Mahdi has not emerged is that he fears for his life. Based on that, the claim that the Mahdi existed at all is rendered invalid, because nothing is preventing him from coming out of hiding except fear for his life, as was clearly stated by Shaykh at-Ta'ifah at-Toosi.
So the claims about the existence of the Mahdi are proven false by the testimony of their own scholars, and this is by the grace of Allah سبحانه و تعالى.
Another indication of the falseness of the Rafidi Shiite belief in the awaited Mahdi is that this Mahdi, who the Rafidis claim will emerge, has not achieved any interest, religious or worldly, and the Muslims have not benefited from him at all, either the Rafidis or any others. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah said: "This infallible one, whom they claim was born at some time more than four hundred and fifty years ago, entered the tunnel, according to them, in 260 AH, when he was five years old according to some of them, or younger than that according to others. He did not do anything that the infallible Imam does. What benefits can there be in the existence of such a one, even if he did exist? So how about if he never existed at all? What blessing or benefit did those who believed in this infallible one attain by means of him in their religious or worldly interests? ... This figure in whom the Rafidis believe must be either absent, according to them, or non-existent, according to people of reason. Whatever the case, there is no benefit to anyone in either religious or worldly terms."
The Twelver Shia nowadays have gone against this belief in practical terms through their belief in the theory of 'guardianship of the jurist', which allows ruling and governing by an ordinary Muslim who is not infallible and for whom there is no instruction or text from Allah and His Messenger, provided that he has knowledge and is of good character.
The sound hadiths state that at the end of time, Allah سبحانه و تعالى will bring forth a man from Ahlul-Bayt through whom Allah سبحانه و تعالى will cause Islam to prevail. He will rule for seven years, filling the earth with justice and peace as it had been filled with injustice and oppression. During his rule, the Ummah will enjoy blessings that it never enjoyed before; the earth will bring forth its vegetation, the sky will send down rain, and he will give wealth without measure. The following are some of these hadiths:
It was narrated from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "At the end of my Ummah, the Mahdi will appear. Allah will send a great deal of rain for him, the earth will bring forth its vegetation, and he will distribute wealth equally among the people. The numbers of livestock will increase, and the Ummah will become great. He will live for seven or eight years."
It was also narrated from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "The Hour will not begin until the earth is filled with oppression and enmity. Then a man from my family will emerge, and he will fill it with fairness and justice as it was filled with oppression and enmity."
It was narrated that Thawban رضي الله عنه said: "The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: 'Three will fight one another for your treasure, each one of them the son of a caliph, but none of them will gain it. Then the black banners will come from the east, and they will kill you in an unprecedented manner.' He mentioned something that I do not remember, then he said: 'When you see him, pledge your allegiance to him even if you have to crawl over the snow, for that is the caliph of Allah, the Mahdi.'"
Imam Ibn Katheer said: "What is meant by the treasure mentioned in this report is the treasure of the Ka'bah, three sons of caliphs will be killed fighting for it until, at the end of time, the Mahdi will appear. His appearance will be from a land in the east, not from the tunnel of Samarra in which the ignorant Rafidis claim he has been until now, where they are waiting for him to emerge at the end of time. This is a kind of madness and a great deal of misguidance from Satan, because there is no proof or evidence for that, either from the Qur'an or the Sunnah, or any rational evidence .... He will be supported by people from the east, who will establish his rule. Their banners will be black, which is the colour of dignity, because the banner of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was black and was called al-'Iqaab... What is meant is that the promised, praiseworthy Mahdi who will appear at the end of time will originate and appear and emerge from the east, and allegiance will be sworn to him at the Ka'bah, as is indicated by some hadiths."
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه said that he heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم say: "How will you be when the son of Maryam descends and your leader is one of you?"
It was narrated that Jabir ibn 'Abdillah رضي الله عنه said that he heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم say: "A group among my Ummah will continue to fight for the truth and will prevail until the Day of Resurrection. 'Eesa ibn Maryam will descend, and their leader will say: 'Come and lead us in prayer,' but he will say: 'No, you are leaders of one another,' as an honour from Allah to this Ummah."
The hadiths, which are narrated in Bukhari and Muslim, indicate two things:
(1) That when 'Eesa ibn Maryam عليه السلام descends from heaven, the one in charge of the Muslims will be one of them.
(2) That their ruler will be there to lead the Muslims in prayer, and the fact that he will ask 'Eesa عليه السلام to lead them in prayer when he descends indicates that this ruler will be righteous and guided.
There are other hadiths in the Sunan and Musnads and elsewhere that explain these hadiths that appear in Bukhari and Muslim, they indicate that the name of that righteous man will be Muhammad ibn Abdillah and he will be called the Mahdi. The reports of the Sunnah support and explain each another.
It was narrated that Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "He is one of us behind whom 'Eesa ibn Maryam will pray."
It was narrated that Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "The Mahdi is of me. He has a high forehead and a prominent nose. He will fill the world with fairness and justice as it was filled with wrongdoing and injustice, and he will rule for seven years."
There is no connection at all between the Mahdi of the Sunnah and the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia. There are many differences between them, such as:
(1) According to Ahlus-Sunnah, the Mahdi's name is Muhammad ibn Abdillah, his name is the same as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his father's name is the same as the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم father. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, his name is Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-'Askari.
(2) According to Ahlus-Sunnah, the Mahdi is one of the descendants of al-Hasan رضي الله عنه. The Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia is one of the descendants of al-Husayn رضي الله عنه.
(3) According to Ahlus-Sunnah, the Mahdi will be born naturally, and his lifespan will be natural. There is nothing in the hadiths to indicate that he is at all different from other people in that regard. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, his conception and birth happened in one night, and he entered the tunnel when he was nine years old; now he has been in the tunnel for more than 1150 years.
(4) The Mahdi, according to Ahlus-Sunnah, will emerge to support Islam and the Muslims, and he will not differentiate between one nation and another. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, he will emerge to support only the Rafidi Shia and to wreak vengeance on their enemies. He will hate the Arabs and Quraysh and will give them nothing but the sword; there will be no Arabs among his followers, according to their reports.
(5) The Mahdi of Ahlus-Sunnah will love the Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم; he will ask Allah to he pleased with them and will adhere to their way. He will also love the Mothers of the Believers رضى الله عنهنّ and will not mention them except in the best terms. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, they claim that he will hate the Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and will bring them out of their graves in order to punish them and then burn them. He will also hate the Mothers of the Believers رضى الله عنهنّ and will despise the dearest of the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم wives to him, as-Siddeeqah bint as-Siddeeq 'A'ishah رضي الله عنها - or so they claim.
(6) The Mahdi of Ahlus-Sunnah will act according to the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم; he will not leave any Sunnah without establishing it or any innovation without suppressing it. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, he will call people to a new religion and a new book.
(7) The Mahdi of Ahlus-Sunnah will build and frequent mosques. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, he will destroy mosques; he will destroy al-Masjid al-Haraam and the Ka'bah, and the Prophet's صلى الله عليه وسلم Mosque, and will not leave a single mosque on the face of the earth - as is clearly stated in their reports.
(8) The Mahdi of Ahlus-Sunnah will rule in accordance with the Book of Allah سبحانه و تعالى and the Sunnah of His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, he will rule according to the law of the family of Dawood عليه السلام.
(9) The Mahdi of Ahlus-Sunnah will emerge from the east. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, he will emerge from the tunnel of Samarra.
(10) The Mahdi of Ahlus-Sunnah is true and proven, as indicated by the hadiths of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the words of the scholars of the past and of the present. As for the Mahdi of the Rafidi Shia, he is a figment of their imagination who has not appeared and will never appear.
['Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Volume 2, pp. 562-570.]