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Uprising of al-Yamani

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The Uprising of al-Yamānī or al-Qaḥṭānī (Arabic:خروج اليماني او القحطاني), one of the signs of Imam al-Mahdi's (a) return, refers to the uprising of a Yemeni man from the descendants of Imam al-Husayn (a) prior to the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam (a). The uprising, according to some hadith, occurs simultaneously with the revolt of al-Sufyani and the Uprising of al-Sayyid al-Khurasani. Al-Yamani calls people to Imam al-Mahdi (a) and fights with al-Sufyani.

Since the first/seventh century, a number of people have claimed to be al-Yamani, such as Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad al-Kindi who revolted against al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf, and Ahmad b. Isma'il al-Basri known as Ahmad al-Hasan.

Introduction

Al-Yamani is the title of a man who will rise up before the return of Imam al-Mahdi (a) and call people to him.

The actual name of al-Yamani is not given in Shiite hadiths, but in Sunni sources, the names Jahjah, al-Hasan, or al-Husayn are mentioned for him. According to the book Rayat al-huda wa-l-dalal fi asr al-zuhur, although the genealogy of al-Yamani is not mentioned in the hadiths, there is strong evidence that he is one of the descendants of the Prophet (s) through Imam al-Husayn (a).

In a hadith from the Prophet (s), al-Yamani is called "al-Mansur" (the Victorious). In Sunni sources, he is called al-Qahtani as well. The word "Qahtani" means related to Qahtan, the ancestor of Yemeni Arabs.

Yamani, A Sign of the Return of the Twelfth Imam (a)

According to the hadiths, the uprising of al-Yamani is a sign of the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a). For instance, in a hadith reported in al-Shaykh al-Saduq's Kamal al-din, the uprising of al-Yamani, together with the heavenly cry, the revolt of al-Sufyani, the murder of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, and al-Khasf bi-l-Bayda', is considered as a definite sign of the return of the Twelfth Imam (a).

There is a total of thirty-six hadiths on the uprising of al-Yamani in Sunni and Shiite sources, and in most of them there is no mention of the uprising being a definite sign of the return of the Twelfth Imam (a); only two hadiths in Shiite sources state that it is a definite sign. Considering this and the fact that in some of the versions of these two hadiths there is no mention of definiteness, some scholars have questioned the claim that al-Yamani's uprising is among the definite signs and have suggested that the words that indicate definiteness may have been added by some of the transmitters of the hadiths.

Time and Place of the Revolt

The uprising of al-Yamani and the revolt of al-Sufyani will occur simultaneously. According to a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a), the revolts of al-Sufyani, al-Yamani, and al-Khurasani will take place in the same year, same month, and same day. On the other hand, Imam al-Sadiq (a) has reportedly said that the revolt of al-Sufyani would occur in the month of Rajab. From these two hadiths, some scholars have inferred that the uprising of al-Yamani will also take place in Rajab. Other scholars maintain that the occurrence of these revolts in the same day is to indicate that they will happen very closely to each other, even though they may occur in different days.

Moreover, in some Sunni sources, there are some reports about the return of Christ (a) before al-Mahdi (a) and the appearance of Antichrist. However, Shiite scholars consider these reports unreliable, because they do not report the words of the Prophet (s) or Imams (a) and also because the hadith that speaks of the uprising of al-Yamani after the return of al-Mahdi (a) contradict the hadiths in which the uprising of al-Yamani is a sign of the return of al-Mahdi (a).

The uprising of al-Yamani will occur in Yemen. In some hadiths, places such as Sana'a, Aden, Kindah, and Abyan have been mentioned. Some scholars believe that the hadiths that mention Sana'a are more frequently reported and indicate that it will be the center of the uprising.

Yamani's Actions

Although all the details of al-Yamani's uprising are not mentioned in hadiths, some of his actions are pointed out, including calling the people to the truth, his battle with al-Sufyani, and the conquest of Rome and Constantinople.

Calling the People to the Truth

According to a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a), the uprising of al-Yamani is a just uprising and people must join it. Some scholars maintain that what makes al-Yamani's revolt a "just uprising" is the fact that he will call the people to Imam al-Mahdi (a). There is a mention of a person called al-Mansur in a hadith, who will help Imam al-Mahdi (a) with his seventy supporters, and is considered to be al-Yamani.

Battle with al-Sufyani

Some hadiths indicate that there will be a battle between al-Yamani and al-Sufyani; for instance, it is mentioned that the one who will pluck out al-Sufyani's eyes comes from Sana'a or that the first person who will fight al-Sufyani is al-Qahtani.

There is some discrepancy as to the result of the battle between al-Yamani and al-Sufyani; some hadiths speak about the victory and some about the defeat of al-Yamani. Regarding this discrepancy, some scholars have explained that the hadiths may refer to different battles between al-Yamani and al-Sufyani, and some scholars have doubted their authenticity.

According to a hadith narrated by the Sunni scholar Ibn Hammad, al-Yamani joins Imam al-Mahdi in Medina. Then, al-Sufyani sends an army to Medina, so al-Yamani and al-Mahdi (a) leave Medina for Mecca, and the army of al-Sufyani follows them. When al-Sufyani's army reaches al-Bayda', it will sink in the earth.

Conquests

According to Sunni sources, al-Yamani will conquer Constantinople and Rome. His army's flags are white. This conquest is attributed, in Shiite sources, to Imam al-Mahdi (a).

Al-Yamani Claimants

Since the first/seventh century, a number of people have claimed to be al-Yamani, such as the following:

  • Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad b. Ash'ath (d. 95/713), who revolted against al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf, the governor of Iraq, during the rein of Abd al-Malik b. Marwan. He called himself al-Qahtani whom the people of Yemen anticipate. After being defeated by the Umayyads, Ibn Ash'ath fled to Sistan where he died.
  • Talib al-Haqq, who revolted against the Umayyads at the time of Imam al-Sadiq (a). The Shiites asked the Imam (a) whether Talib al-Haqq was al-Yamani, and the Imam (a) replied that al-Yamani loves Imam Ali (a), but Talib al-Haqq is his enemy.
  • Ibn Faras, who was one of the scholars of the sixth and seventh centuries in Andalusia. Once, he made an audacious remark in the presence of al-Mansur and hid for a while until al-Mansur died. Afterwards, he appeared and claimed that he was the promised al-Qahtani. Eventually, he was killed in a battle with the army of Nasir b. Mansur.
  • The contemporary Ahmad b. Isma'il al-Basri, known as Ahmad al-Hasan, who has recently claimed to be al-Yamani. He claims that his mission is to prepare the ground for the return of the Twelfth Imam (a) and that he will take power after him. The book Da'wat Ahmad b. al-Hasan bayn al-haqq wa-l-batil (The Call of Ahmad b. al-Hasan, between Truth and Falsity) is a criticism of the claims and beliefs of Ahmad b. al-Hasan.

Yazid b. Mulhib and Abd al-Rahman b. Mansur (fl. during the rein of Hisham b. al-Hakam al-Mu'ayyad bi-Allah) are counted among al-Yamani claimants.

Works on al-Yamani

The Arabic book al-Yamani rayat al-huda (al-Yamani the Flag of Guidance) is written by the Iraqi Shiite scholar Muhammad Ali al-Hulw (born in 1376/1956) on al-Yamani's uprising. The author considers the Uprising of al-Yamani to be one of the definite signs of the return of the Twelfth Imam (a).

References