Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)

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Shia Islam
Shi'a Beliefs
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Divine Justice
Bada'Amr Bayn al-Amrayn
Infallibility'Ilm al-ghaybMu'jizaIntegrity of the Holy Qur'an
InfallibilityWilaya'Ilm al-ghaybOccultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a) (Minor Occultation,Major Occultation) • Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)Raj'a
End TimeHereafterBarzakhEmbodiment of ActionsBodily ResurrectionAl-SiratTatayur al-KutubMizanHashr
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Ahl al-Bayt (a)The Fourteen InfalliblesTaqiyyaMarja'iyyaTawalliTabarri

Ẓuhūr (Arabic: الظُهُور, Reappearance) in the terminology of Twelver Shiites means the rise and reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) after his Major Occultation in order to establish a just world government.

Literal Meaning

The word "Zuhur" literally means the appearance or manifestation of something hidden.[1] The word seems to imply an intense manifestation after being hidden or unseen.


The period of Zuhur can be divided into the following stages:

  1. The reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) which is only decided by the divine volition and knowledge.
  2. The rise and movement of Imam al-Mahdi (a) against the enemies and cruel governments of the world.
  3. The establishment of the world government.

First Stage (Reappearance)

  • Imam al-Sadiq (a) said that "when God wills to uncover his (that is, Imam al-Mahdi (a)'s) status, He will inspire it in his heart, and then he reappears and undertakes the divine task".

It is worth mentioning that the stage of rising (such as undertaking tasks) is later than the stage of reappearance. That is, Imam al-Mahdi (a) will first reappear, and after his companions gather around him and other conditions are met, he will rise against cruel governments.

Second Stage (Rising)

  • Imam al-Sadiq (a) said: "al-Qa'im will rise when he is not under the pledge of allegiance with anyone".

It is not the case that all hadiths using the word "Qiyam" (rising) and its cognates about Imam al-Mahdi (a) are concerned with the stage of rising; there are some hadiths in which the word is used for the stage of reappearance. However, it remains true that most of such hadiths concern the stage after the reappearance.

  • Imam al-Baqir (a) is quoted as saying that "when our al-Qa'im rises, God will put His hand on the heads of people, so that they can focus their thoughts".

The conflicts among some hadiths about the time of reappearance might be resolved by saying that some are concerned with the time of Zuhur or reappearance and some are concerned with the time of uprising.

It is worth saying that some hadiths have talked about Imam al-Mahdi (a)'s reappearance and uprising as "Khurūj" (rising against the government). According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a): "al-Qa'im's Khuruj (uprising) is certain".

Third stage (Imam al-Mahdi (a)'s Government)

  • According to a hadith from the Prophet (s): "the world does not come to an end until a man from my household will rise and govern like the household of Dawud".
  • According to another hadith from the Prophet (s): "I give you good news about al-Mahdi, a man from Quraysh, by whose rule all the inhabitants of the heaven and the Earth are satisfied".
  • And in another hadith he is quoted as saying that "a man from my people will rise and all people in the heaven and the Earth will love him".


Signs of Reappearance (علائم الظهور) are those events which have been predicted by the Infallibles (a) to happen before or on the verge of the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) and the happening of each of them is considered a good news for approaching his uprising in the world; so that, he (a) will rise after the last in the series of these signs happen. The Siren, rising of Sufyani, etc. are among these signs.


One question with which many people are concerned is when Imam al-Mahdi (a) will reappear and whether there is any specific time for his reappearance.

According to hadiths from Imams (a), the time of his reappearance or Zuhur is unknown to people.

Imam al-Sadiq (a) is quoted as saying that "we never determined a time for the reappearance in the past, nor will we do so in the future".

Therefore, as emphasized in some hadiths, people who predict certain times for the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a) are imposters and liars.[2]

Imam al-Baqir (a) told one of his companions who asked him about the time of reappearance: "people who determine times for the reappearance are liars; they lie, they lie".

These hadiths clarify that there were always people, with diabolical motivations, who determined times for Imam al-Mahdi (a)'s reappearance, as there will be such people in the future. Therefore, Imams (a) asked Shiites not to be indifferent to these people; rather they should reject and deny them.

Imam al-Sadiq (a) told one of his companions: "do not be afraid of rejecting a person who determines a time for the reappearance, since we have never determined a time for this".

See Also


  1. Farāhīdī, Kitāb al-ʿayn, vol. 4, p. 64.
  2. Ṣadr, Tārīkh mā baʿd al-zuhūr, vol. 3, p. 207; Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 368.


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