Uprising of al-Khurasani

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The Uprising of al-Khurāsānī (Arabic:خروج الخُراسانيّ) is a sign of Imam al-Mahdi’s (a) reappearance. This is an uprising that will be led by a person from Khorasan simultaneously with al-Sufyani’s and al-Yamani’s uprisings. Some researchers believe that al-Khurasani has black flags, and his army will defeat al-Sufyani under Shu'ayb b. Salih’s commandership.

There are disagreements between researchers on Mahdism about the black flags. Some believe that the black flags are the same as Abu Muslim al-Khurasani’s flags in his uprising against the Umayyad government. Others believe that they refer to the uprising that occurs before Imam al-Mahdi’s reappearance.

Al-Sayyid al-Khurasani

An uprising by a person from Khorasan is mentioned as a sign of Imam al-Mahdi’s reappearance in the relevant hadiths. The term "Khurasani" has its sources in hadiths about Khorasan, the eastern land, and a man who starts an uprising with people of Khorasan.

These hadiths do not mention al-Khurasani’s characteristics, including his prophetical descent (being a Sayyid). However, in his book, 'Asr al-zuhur (The age of reappearance), Ali al-Kourani claims that, in Sunni as well as later Shiite sources, al-Khurasani is said to descend from Imam al-Hasan (a) or Imam al-Husayn (a), and is referred to as "al-Khurasani al-Hashimi". Because of this, he is also known as al-Sayyid al-Khurasani. Moreover, these sources provide further descriptions of al-Khurasani, including a mole on his right cheek and his right hand.

Is al-Khurasani’s Uprising a Sign of Reappearance?

The uprising by al-Khurasani is a sign of Imam al-Mahdi’s reappearance along with Heavenly Cry (a voice from the sky), murder of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, the Uprising of al-Sufyani, and al-Khasf al-Bayda'. According to a hadith attributed to Imam al-Sadiq (a), al-Khurasani, al-Sufyani, and al-Yamani will simultaneously start uprisings, in the same year, in the same month, and on the same day. According to hadiths, al-Khurasani’s uprising starts from the east (eastern parts of Islamic lands) and will proceed toward Iraq. The Encyclopedia of Imam al-Mahdi casts doubts on the reliability of the chains of transmissions of these hadiths.

Black Flags and al-Sayyid al-Khurasani

The parade of Black Flags is the uprising by people who hold black flags in eastern lands, which is mentioned in some hadiths as a sign of reappearance. According to some hadiths, the flags belong to youths from Banu Hashim in Khorasan, who accompany Shu'ayb b. Salih in his uprising. Some Shiite researchers believe that the black flags are those of Abu Muslim al-Khurasani’s uprising against the Umayyad government, which led to the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate. Others hold that the flags point to an uprising that occurs before Imam al-Mahdi’s reappearance.

The author of 'Asr al-zuhur says that al-Sayyid al-Khurasani has black flags, the commander of his army is Shu'ayb b. Salih, and a war breaks out between his and al-Sufyani’s army, in which the latter is defeated. Al-Sayyid al-Khurasani pledges his allegiance to Imam al-Mahdi (a).

This account was disputed on the grounds that, in the book 'Asr al-zuhur, a recourse is made to hadiths from Ibn al-Hammad’s al-Fitan, in which al-Khurasani does not appear. Moreover, al-Fitan is not deemed reliable by Shiite scholars, because many of its hadiths were not issued by the Infallibles (a).

See also