Imam Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Mahdi (a)

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Muhammad b. al-Hasan
12th Shi'a Imam
al-Mahdi
Jamkaran.jpg
Born c. (869-08-02)2 August 869 CE
(Sha'ban 15, 255 AH)
Birthplace Samarra, Iraq
Beginning of Imamate Rabi' I 8, 260/ January 5, 874- present
Father al-Hasan b. 'Ali al-'Askari (a)
Mother Narjis
Other Titles

Al-Qa'im (rising one),
Wali al-'Asr (guardian of the age),

Imam al-Zaman (Imam of the time)
The Twelve Imams
'Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, al-Sajjad, al-Baqir, al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Rida, al-Taqi, al-Hadi, al-'Askari, al-Mahdi

Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-'Askarī (Arabic: محمد بن الحسن العسکری) (born in 255/869), also known as Imam al-Mahdi (a) ( إمام المهدی), is the twelfth Imam in Twelver Shi'ism. He is the promised savior, who will rise one day and fill the earth with peace and justice. Imam al-Mahdi (a) has been in occultation from the early years of his life. Shi'as regard him as the Imam of the present age. Among his well-known titles are Imam al-Zaman (the Imam of the time) and Wali l-'Asr (the guardian of the age).

Imam al-Mahdi (a) became the Imam after the demise of his father Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a) in the year 260/874, when he was five. From that time until the year 329/940, he was in contact with his followers through his Four Deputies. After that, his Major Occultation started, in which period the direct guidance and leadership of the Shi'a community rests with religious scholars.

Every year, on Sha'ban 15, Shi'as celebrate the Imam's birth, marking one of the greatest Shi'i festivals.

The possibility of meeting the Imam (a) during his Major Occultation, when and how he reappears, and the incidents related to his reappearance are some of the popular discussions among Shi'as.

Genealogy and Birth

The twelfth Imam (a) is the only child of Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a). His name and Epithet are the same as those of The Prophet (s). He was born on Sha'ban 15, 255/869. Some sources, though, regard 256/870 as the more accurate year of his birth.

According to some hadiths, the mother of Imam al-Mahdi (a) was a lady called Narjis. Some other sources mention Sayqal or Maryam bt. Zayd as his mother. The Imam (a) was born in Samarra.

Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a) hid the birth of his son, because the news of the appearance of al-Mahdi and the fact that the Shi'a were anticipating his uprising were well-known, and this had made the government sensitive. Therefore, Imam al-'Askari (a) did not publicly announce the birth of his son, and most people did not know his son after the Imam's demise.

Family tree of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Khadija
 
 
 
Muhammad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lady Fatima
 
 
 
Imam Ali
 
 
 
 
Umm al-Banin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Husayn
 
Imam al-Hasan
 
Lady Zaynab
 
Umm Kulthum
 
Muhsin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Al-'Abbas
 
Abd Allah
 
Uthman
 
Ja'far
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad
 
'Awn
 
Ali
 
Al-'Abbas
 
Umm Kulthum
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Al-Hasan
 
Al-Qasim
 
'Abd Allah
 
Fatima
 
Zayd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
'Abd Allah
 
Zaynab
 
Ibrahim
 
Al-Hasan
 
Hasan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad
 
 
Ibrahim
 
 
Idris
 
 
 
Nafisa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Sajjad
 
'Ali al-Akbar
 
 
'Ali al-Asghar
 
 
Fatima
 
Sukayna
 
Ruqayya
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Baqir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Zayd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Sadiq
 
'Abd Allah
 
Ibrahim
 
'Ubayd Allah
 
'Ali
 
Yahya
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Kazim
 
Muhammad
 
Ali
 
Ishaq
 
Umm Farwa
 
'Abd Allah
 
Isma'il
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Rida
 
Ma'suama
 
Hamza
 
Ishaq
 
Ahmad
 
Ibrahim
 
Muhammad
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Jawad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Hadi
 
 
Musa
 
 
 
 
Fatima
 
 
 
Amama
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari
 
 
Husayn
 
 
 
 
Muhammad
 
 
 
Ja'far
 
 
 
 
 
Imam al-Mahdi
 
 

People Who Saw the Imam (a) in His Childhood

Shi'a
Usul al-Din (Beliefs)
Main Beliefs TawhidProphethoodResurrection'AdlImamate
Other Beliefs 'IsmaWilayaMahdawiyya: Occultation (Minor Occultation, Major Occultation), Intizar, Zuhur, and Raj'aBada'
Furu' al-Din (Practical Orders)
'Ibadi Orders PrayerFastingKhumsZakatHajjJihad
Non-'Ibadi Orders Forbidding the EvilEnjoining the GoodTawalliTabarri
Sources of Ijtihad Qur'anSunnaReasonIjma'
Ethics
Virtues ForgivenessGenerosityGenerous help
Vices Greater SinsKibr'UjbGhururJealousy
Sources Nahj al-BalaghaAl-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaLetter of Imam 'Ali to Imam al-Hasan
Challenging Issues
Succession of the Prophet (s)Shafa'aTawassulTaqiyyaMourningMut'aCompanions
Figures
Shi'a Imams Imam 'Ali (a)Imam al-Hasan (a)Imam al-Husayn (a)Imam al-Sajjad (a)Imam al-Baqir (a)Imam al-Sadiq (a)Imam al-Kazim (a)Imam al-Rida (a)Imam al-Jawad (a)Imam al-Hadi (a)Imam al-'Askari (a)Imam al-Mahdi (a)
Companions

Men: HamzaJa'far b. Abi TalibSalman al-FarsiMiqdad b. AswadAbudhar al-Ghifari'Ammar YasirMalik al-AshtarMuhammad b. Abi Bakr'Aqil'Uthman b. HunayfAbu Ayyub al-AnsariJabir b. 'Abd Allah al-AnsariIbn 'Abbas'Abd Allah b. Ja'farKhuzayma b. ThabitBilalYasir

Women: KhadijaLady Fatima (a)ZaynabUmm KulthumAsma' bt. 'UmaysUmm AymanUmm Salama
Scholars LitterateursScholars of UsulPoetsScholars of RijalFaqihsPhilosophersBibliographersExegetes
Shrines
Mecca: Al-Masjid al-Haram
Medina: Al-Masjid al-NabawiAl-Baqi'
Al-Quds: Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa
Najaf: Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a)Masjid al-Kufa
Karbala: Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)
Kadhimiya: Shrine of al-Kazimayn (a)
Samarra: Shrine of al-'Askariyyayn (a)
Mashhad: Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a)
Damascus: Zaynabiyya
Qom: Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma
Shiraz: Shah Chiragh
Rey: Shrine of 'Abd al-'Azim al-Hasani
Eids
Eid al-FitrEid al-AdhaEid al-GhadirMab'athProphet's birthdayImams' birthdays
Mournings
FatimiyyaMuharram (Mournings of Muharram), Tasu'a, 'Ashura and Arba'in)
Events
MubahalaEvent of GhadirEvent of Saqifa Bani Sa'idaFadakEvents of Lady Fatima's HouseBattle of JamalBattle of SiffinBattle of NahrawanEvent of KarbalaHadith al-ThaqalaynAshab al-Kisa'Tathir VerseKilling Shi'as
Literature
Qur'anNahj al-balaghaal-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaThe Four Books: (al-Istibsaral-KafiTahdhib al-ahkamKitab man la yahduruh al-faqih) • Mushaf of Fatima (a)Mushaf Imam 'Ali (a)Asrar-i Al-i Muhammad (s)Wasa'il al-Shi'aBihar al-anwaral-GhadirMafatih al-jinanMajma' al-bayanal-MizanOther Books
Sects
Ithna 'AshariyyaIsma'iliyyaZaydiyyaKaysaniyya

In hadith sources, some people are mentioned as the ones who met Imam al-Mahdi (a) in his childhood. For instance, in al-Irshad , al-Shaykh al-Mufid mentions the following names:

Imamate

According to Shi'i hadiths, the beginning of the imamate of Imam al-Mahdi (a) was when he was five. God bestowed upon him the qualifications needed for imamate at that young age, just as Yahya (a) was given wisdom in his childhood, and Jesus (a) was chosen as a prophet when he was an infant.

Hadiths from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) mention the imamate of Imam al-Mahdi (a). His father, Imam al-Hasan al-'Askari (a), specifically showed him to his trusted Shi'a and announced his imamate.

Believing in a savior is not exclusive to the Shi'a or Muslims. Many religions and sects also maintain similar beliefs. The difference between Twelver Shi'ism and the other religious traditions is the belief in a specific person, who was born in 255/869 and is still alive, as the awaited savior.

Narration from the Prophet (s)

Shi'a Sources

Among the hadiths of the Prophet (s) pointing to the imamate of the twelfth Imam, recorded in Shi'i sources, is the hadith in which the Prophet (s) says to Imam al-Husayn (a), "You are the master, the son of the master; you are the Imam son of the Imam; you are the Proof son of a Proof; you are the father of nine Proofs from your progeny, the ninth of whom is the Riser (al-Qa'im)."

Sunni Sources

"Mahdi is from my family, from the descendants of Fatima.'"

"Mahdi is from us, Ahl al-Bayt."

"If only one day remains before the world ends, God will raise a man from my family who will fill the earth with justice, while it has become full of injustice and oppression."

In a hadith recorded in al-Khwarazmi's Maqtal, the Prophet (s) declares the names of the Twelve Imams one by one and mentions Imam al-Mahdi (a) as the last Imam.

Narrations from the Imams (a)

Among the hadiths of the Imams (a), a hadith attributed to Imam 'Ali (a) states, "Know that by God, my two sons [[[al-Hasan (a)]] and al-Husayn (a)] and I will be murdered, and God will surely raise at the end of the time a man from my descendants who will revenge for us. He will be hidden from people so that the misguided should be known, [and his occultation will be prolonged] until the ignorant will say, 'God does not need the family of Muhammad [s]'."

A hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a) states, "After al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a), there will be nine imams, the ninth of whom is the Riser."

Occultation

Main article: Occultation

Several hadiths predicted the birth and occultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a), before his birth. Many hadiths also speak about his rule. According to these hadiths, he is the Imam who will rise by God's command and establish a universal rule. Before his uprising, he has two periods of occultation, one of which is longer than the other. The Minor Occultation started from the birth of the Imam until 329/940, when the last "special deputy" of the Imam (a) passed away. After that, the Major Occultation started, which will end when he will rise against the injustice and oppression that fills the world.

Further Reading

See Also

References