Characteristics and Qualities of the Imam of the Time (a.s.)
The qualities and merits of His Eminence, Mahdi (a.s.) are same as those of the divine messengers and legatees. The effulgence of Imamate and the awe of the prophets was perfectly apparent in the face of the Holy Imam (a.s.). His description and details have come in the narrations as follows:
- Abu Saeed Khudri narrates from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said, “Indeed, the Almighty Allah (SwT) will raise from my progeny and Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) a man, who would have appropriate gap between his front teeth and have a bright forehead so that he may fill the earth with justice, welfare and economic equality.”1
Numerous traditions of the same type have been recorded by the scholars and narrators of Ahle Sunnat from the Holy Prophet (S) describing the various characteristics of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), the descendent and great grandson of the Prophet (S).
- His Eminence, Abu Jafar, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) through his forefathers has narrated from the chief of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that His Eminence proclaimed from the pulpit, “In the last age a man from my progeny would rise, having a fair complexion that has some redness (hue) and having a clear and wide belly and his thighs would be broad and his bones shall be long (big) and prominent and he would have two beauty spots one of whom shall be the color of the Prophet (S). He shall rise up.”
- In another tradition His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) again mentions about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) in the following words:
“He shall have a wide forehead and big eyes and a clear and wide belly, broad thighs, his front teeth would be sparkling and there is a mole on his right thigh.”2
A fact derived from traditions and reports of the Holy Prophet (S) is that in his facial appearance he is most handsome and elegant. All physical and facial beauties would be humble and submissive before the elegance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
The prominent and acknowledged poet, Agha Sayyid Hasan has thus mentioned about His Eminence (a.s.):
“The elegance came up (arose) through his clear face
The morning breeze spread from his calming countenance.”3
Among all the people, His Eminence (a.s.) is most resembling His great grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S), by way of method, Jihad and revolution against oppression and transgression and transformation of the system of the oppressive rulers in society, from theft and destruction, humiliation, affliction and problems. He would replace all this with a system that would provide every kind of comfort and security and be a cause of general welfare and happiness of the people.
When the Qaim of the progeny of Muhammad (S) would appear, he would work in the same way as his great grandfather had done. That is why he would destroy the false powers and tyrannical rulers whose power is based on falsehood and hypocrisy and he shall eradicate them completely. He would then establish justice and equity in every sense of the term.
Numerous traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) and the Imams of guidance (a.s.) have reached us that mention that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) resembles his great grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S). Some of them are mentioned below:
- Abdullah Ibn Masud narrates from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said, “A man from my family would arise having my name, and his manners and habits would be like my manners and habits and he would make the earth abound with justice and equity.”
- Huzaifah relates from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said, “Even if there remains one day in the life of the earth, God will bring forth a man whose name and character will be like mine, and whose patronymic will be Abu Abdillah. People would pay allegiance to him between the Rukn and Maqam4of Kaba. Through him God will revive His religion and bring it back to its early glory. God will also endow him with many victories and there will remain on earth none other than the ones who will declare: There is no god, except Allah.”
Sulaiman got up from his place and asked as to which of his children’s descendent he would be.
The Prophet (S) struck his hand on Husain (a.s.) and said, “From his (descendants).”
- Ayesha has narrated from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said, “Mahdi (a.s.) is a person from my progeny. He will fight for my Sunnah like I have fought for revelation.”5
- Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari has quoted the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said, “The Mahdi (a.s.) is from my progeny, his name and patronymic is same as mine. Among all the people he would resemble my character. There would be an occultation for him during which people shall be perplexed. After that he would reappear like a bright star and make the earth abound with justice and equity after it had been completely fraught with injustice and oppression.”
- Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has narrated through his forefathers from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said, “The Mahdi (a.s.) shall be from my descendants. He would be having the same name and agnomen as I have. He would resemble me most in character; he would have an occultation which would cast people into confusion, till they deviate from their religion. At the time he reappears he shall be like a brilliant star. Then he would spread justice and equity on the earth just as it would have been absolutely fraught with injustice and inequity.”6
- Imam Jafar as Sadiq (a.s.) has narrated through his blessed ancestors from the Holy Prophet (S) that he said, “The Qaim (a.s.) is from my descendents. His name is same as mine and patronymic is same as mine. His appearance is like my appearance and his practice like my practice. He will establish the people on my religion and my law and call them to the Book of my Lord, the Mighty and the sublime. One who obeys him has obeyed me and one who disobeys him has disobeyed me. And one who denies his occultation has denied me. And one who falsifies him has falsified me. And one who testifies for him has testified for me. I would complain to Allah (SwT) about those who falsify me in my affair and those who mislead the people. And the oppressors would soon realize where they would be returned when they are sent back (to Hell).”7
The above tradition is the most comprehensive one that shows that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) would be like his great grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S) in many respects.
- Abu Salih Saibi in Al-Fitanhas narrated from His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that he said, “His Eminence, Mahdi (a.s.), in appearance, character, habits and good virtues, would most resemble the Messenger of Allah (S).”8
Such types of traditions have reached us in large numbers from the Holy Prophet (S) and the Holy Imams (a.s.). They all prove beyond any doubt that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) not only resembles the Holy Prophet (S) in appearance and built; he is also having the same type of character and habits, due to which he is more superior to the other prophets of God.
Rather in his method of reformation, engagements and his war tactics for the annihilation of oppression and injustice and for the establishment of equity and justice on the earth he closely resembles his great grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S).
Sources of Islamic beliefs are heavenly revelation, the Holy Quran and the practice of the Infallibles (a.s.). Reason, understanding, conscience and nature are bestowed by Almighty God so that through them we may derive the authentic and correct heavenly sciences and avoid the pitfalls of deviation. All these are provided as internal prophets for humanity. That is why Islamic thoughts derived from these pure sources are actually bestowed by God. They all are pure and conform to reality.
In spite of all this, people of evil and malicious nature and enemies of religion have always been in pursuit to cast doubts and spoil the true face of religion and religious leaders.
That is why enemies of faith and malicious people have concocted many traditions to defame and spoil the true Islamic facts and beliefs and these concocted traditions were surreptiously included in the tradition compendiums.
In the parlance of traditional science these concocted traditions are termed as “Israiliyat.” One of such fabricated traditions is related by Ganji and others that the Messenger of Allah (S) said, “Mahdi (a.s.) is from my descendants. His face is like a bright star and his complexion is of Arab and his body is of an Israelite. He would make the earth abound with justice just as it would be filled with oppression. All the folks of the heaven and the earth and also the birds would be happy during his kingdom and caliphate. He would reign for twenty years.”9
The reason that this tradition is fabricated is that the body of the Holy Imam (a.s.) is a part of the body of the Prophet (S) and Amirul Momineen (a.s.), which were the most pure and clean; infused with the effulgence of guidance. How can the physique of Imam (a.s.) resemble that of the Israelites, while they are having the worst of the bodies and the most evil of the appearance?
They are the wolves among human beings, the germs and personification of low character. Most probably, the Jews have fabricated this tradition to defame the Muslims on the basis of their enmity towards Islam and to present their own deficiencies in favorable light.
- Iqdud Durar fi Akhbar al-Muntazar, Pg. 101
- Yanabiul Mawaddah, Pg. 423
- Minanur Rahman, 2/237
- The two main landmarks connected with Hajj
- Yanabiul Mawaddah, Pg. 433
- Kamaluddin, Yanabiul Mawaddah, Pg. 493
- Al-Malahim wal Fitan, Chap. 79
- Al Bayan fi Akhbare Sahibus Zaman