Al-Qāʾim (Arabic: القائم; literally meaning: who stands up) is a title of Imam al-Mahdi (a) indicating his promised uprising in the End Time. Although in many hadiths the title refers to Imam al-Mahdi (a), in others, it refers to other Imams (a) as well, which means a person who stands up for God's orders. Some Shi'as in 2nd/eighth and 3rd/ninth centuries thought that some Imams or their children were the promised al-Qa'im and were expecting their reappearance.
In some hadiths, "Qa'im Al Muhammad" (the standing [person] of the family of Muhammad) is used as a title of Imam al-Mahdi (a). But in others it is not used so; rather it is used as generally referring to a person who stands up or rises up for justice. In his al-Kafi, al-Kulayni wrote a chapter under "all Imams were al-Qa'im for God's order". Phrases in hadiths, such as "he is the al-Qa'im of his time", "all of us are al-Qa'im for God's order" and the like, imply that the term, "al-Qa'im", is not specifically used for Imam al-Mahdi (a).
A Title of Imam al-Mahdi (a)
Since Imam al-Mahdi's (a) uprising (qiyam) is the most salient part of his life, this title was frequently used in the remarks of the Infallibles (a). Some hadiths are explicit about this, for example:
- Imam al-Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying that: "He [al-Mahdi(a)] is called 'al-Qa'im' because he will stand up (or rise up) for the right".
- Imam al-Jawad (a) was asked why he [al-Mahdi (a)] is called 'al-Qa'im'. He said: "because [he] will rise up when his name is forgotten".