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Murder of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya

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Murder of the Pure Soul or Qatl al-Nafs al-Zakīyya (Arabic: قتل النفس الزكية) is the murder of a person called "al-Nafs al-Zakiyya" (literally, the pure soul), which is, according to Shiite hadiths, a decisive sign of the Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a). The event is going to happen after the Reappearance and fifteen days and nights before the Uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a) in al-Masjid al-Haram. He is from the progeny of Imam al-Husayn (a).

His Name and Teknonym

"Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya" is the title of a person called Muhammad b. al-Hasan. He is called "al-Nafs al-Zakiyya" (the Pure Soul) in hadiths because of his asceticism and worships. He is from the progeny of Imam al-Husayn (a), and is thus a Husayni sayyid.[1]

Decisiveness of the Sign

The event of the murder of the Pure Soul is said in hadiths to be decisive, which implies its significance. The event has been variously characterized in hadiths as "inevitable", "there is no way that it cannot happen" and "[the Imam] does not start the uprising until [this event]". The decisiveness is emphasized in Humran b. A'yan's hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) along with other decisive signs of the Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) (such as the Heavenly Cry, Sufyani's Riot, Yamani's Riot and Khasf al-Bayda').[2]

Task of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya

As implied by hadiths, the task of the Pure Soul is to deliver messages to the Imam (a). After the Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) and the global announcement of the Reappearance by a Heavenly Cry, he tells his companions that people of Mecca do not want him although he is sent to guide them; thus, a person just like me should tell them so that they receive the ultimatum. He asks one of his companions to tell people of Mecca that he was sent by al-Mahdi (a) who wants to tell them:

"we are People of the House of Mercy and the Treasure of Prophethood and Caliphate, and I am from the progeny of Muhammad (a) and his offspring. We were oppressed and displaced by people, and since the demise of t