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  Messianic Movements

By: Dr. Jasim Husain

How do we look at the trends and individuals who alleged that they maintained direct contact with the 12th Imam al-Mahdi in form of direct representation or acting to preparing his way?
1. Why did we raise this question in this critical period? And what were the factors that led to the evolution of the Deputyship and those who want to pave the way of the Mahdi appearance. There are possible factors that this paper is going to focus on like first, the society crisis and pressure of the time, second, the search for supernatural solution for the ongoing crisis and third, the Return to or using religion for solution or worldly gains; which stems from the disappointment of the youth and religious students from the traditional approach of the jurists toward the challenges of the time, the Re interpreting Prophetic and Imams saying regarding the Mahdi to recruit the youth. Also certain groups making false attempts through using the religious texts to imply that it fit to a particular group or individual. Such attempts aim to twisting the neck of the text forcibly to serve their agend by alleging having direct deputyship and then claiming to be the Mahdi

Such trends left in the past and in the future unforgettable outcomes as it creates discord to the meaning of the religious text and the legal person that his Outcome: forgetting the society crisis and turning to the discord of the meaning of the text, and the individual that his personal description fits to the religious text.
2. What would be the position towards the two trends? First, the preparatory group and second the claimant of having direct contact with the Mahdi in the form of being physically the descendant or the direct son of the Mahdi, being the legacy of the Mahdi, being the Mahdi himself of his successor or being the Yamani. It is a fact that the originators of false claim never listen to rational arguments because such approach and method will disclose their false claim, and one would say it is better to deal with them through different methods. However, the ordinary believers and the youth in particular need to be approached through rational methods to disclose the false claimants. Perhaps a critical study to the trend and individuals claimed of having direct contact with the 12th Imam al-Mahdi in form of direct representation or acting to paving his rise would help in distinguish between the genuine trend and those trends and individuals whose aim to gain worldly interest and to create feeling of doubt and despair in the mind of the ordinary belivers.
Why did we throw this question during this period? The issue of the Prophet's succession, the Imamah, and its occupant, became the centre of theological argument since the first century of Islam. All agreed to the fact that the actual institution goes to a man from Quraysh. However, the fit person for this post, as the inheritor, the carrier of the religious knowledge and as a leader of the Muslim community, had become a pivot for unresolved scholastic and political arguments, sectarian formation and political struggle since the prophet's death. The Muslim Jurists and the theologians had intensively covered these two integral themes since the first century and up to the present time and the religious agreement and disagreement in most scholastic religious circles based on these themes.

In addition, Muslim theologians studied in depth, the proof and disproof the Imamate of the 12th Imam and the two periods of concealment, which his followers had witnessed since the beginning of the 3rd/ 9th century. Therefore, it is vital to touch other current issues that challenged the very purpose of the occultation. These challenges stemmed from the reoccurrence of the activities of those who inspired to work to paving the way for his return, or alleged of having direct contact with the hidden Imam through linage or through direct deputyship.
1. Factors behind such claims: Many factors encouraged certain sincere believers to find ways for paving the way for the return of the 12th Imam. Other factors tempted other people to allege of having deputyship or having direct contact with the 12th Imam.
a. Society crisis ( al zarf al-Zaghit'): studying the movements that appeared in the Muslim world since the second century of Islam indicated to one fundamental fact that there has been a correlation between the a challenging crisis the society fell in AND the appearance of messianic religious movement aiming to lift the society from the crisis that the society passes through. During the time of such crisis like the emergence of an internal tyrant (t'aghut) or an external invasion, the society passed through a period of chaos followed to a period where the society splits itself into its natural ethnic and regional components inclining to yield to pressure, the crisis caused, rather facing it in a collective work. Nothing could put these components together except religious cause with messianic hope and slogans in the forms of preparing the way for the Mahdi or using his name to face the crisis. The first trend was a genuine one although some of its leaders, like the various revolutionary rebels, acted beyond the instructions and methods the Imams set out as guidelines. The second trend often embedded false groups.
b. The periods of the messianic movements: There were two types of messianic movements occurred in the Islamic history. The First type was the movements that appeared before the second occultation of the twelfth Imam (329/940). These movements emerged under the Umayyad period. The leaders of such movements opposed the Umayyad authority and its systematic repressive measures and used the deposition of the Prophet's household legatees, mainly Imam Ali from the political leadership and the murder of Imam al-Husayn as their slogans to recruit people. At this time, there were prophetic sayings in circulation stating clearly that the end of the suffering of the nation will be at the hand of a man of his progeny from the line of his son al-Husain. Ibn Hanbal reported that the Prophet said: The Judgment day will not take place until the Injustice, unfairness and tyranny had filled the world followed by the rise of a man from my progeny, who shall fill it with justice and fairness after it had been filled with injustice and aggression. The sixth Imam al-Sadiq, who witnessed the Umayyad tyranny stated saying,: The world will not perish until a man from my progeny shall appear, who judges between people in David's judgment method. He will not be asked for testimony and gives each person his exact right.
The majority of the Muslims, who felt the Umayyad tyranny at the time, thought that the judgment day was near and time of the rise of the Mahdi was due at any moment. Many ordinary people inspired by the hope of ending the tyranny, by one Hashemite leader, began to read the prophetic sayings in their general scope applying them on a particular Hashemite figure with the hope that he would be the Mahdi the prophetic sayings were indicating to and encouraging the future Muslims to rally around him. "Allah, through His Will, shall make one of us, the prophet's household, the Mahdi’’ (al-Kafi, 1, 450).
«و المهدی یجعله الله من شاء منا اهل البیت»
They were more confused and put the populace in confusion when innocently misinterpreting the messianic prophetic texts to indicate that a particular Hashemite leader was the future Mahdi. Many understood that the descriptions of the texts fit a particular Hashemite leader of their time. In fact, often in this early period the ambitious political followers addressed their leader as the Mahdi and rally around him in their struggle to save the nation from the pressure of the tyrant of their time. The following text is narrated by Nu'aym b. Hammad al-Mirwazi. It describes the way the people read the prophetic tradition at the 2nd century regarding reference to signs of stars and movements in the sky that are associated with the rise of the Mahdi. The believers used to read these traditions and decide accordingly to refrain or to participate in the movement of Muhammad dhul nafs al-zakiyya, who announced his rise in the year 145/762 and whose followers claimed to be the promised Mahdi. The Mukhtar movement and most of the Zaydites messianic movements that appeared during the Umayyad and the Abbasid period fall under this category.

The second form of messinanic movement: The second types of the messianic movements were other groups from the shi'a camp who had full understanding of the prophetic messianic. sayings about the personality of the future Mahdi and the time of his occultation. From the time of the six Imam onward, the Imams began to circulate to their close disciples more descriptions about the Mahdi. These sayings began to become more specific in their descriptions to fit only to the 12th one in the line of the imams but yet without specifying his name. There were indications that these people were aware about the exact linage line, of the awaited Imam, that these traditions indicating to, but instead they intentionally seized the opportunity of the first concealment (260-329/874-974) of the twelfth Imam to start, under their own leader, their political and militant activities against the Abbasid tyranny. The following lines indicate how the isma’ili movement benefited from using these religious texts for their political struggle against the tyrant of the time.

The Prophetic and the Imams sayings were in circulation among the shi'a in general of the time. The following text explains clearly this ambiguity about the specific personality of the Imam that made it a fertile environment for the certain Hashemite ambitious persons to utilize them for their own end.
قال ابو عبدالله جعفربن محمد الصادق: لا تذهب الدنیا حتی یخرج رجل منی یحکم بحکومة آل داود و لا یسأل بینة یعطی کل نفس حقها. (الکلینی، الکافی، ج 1، ص 397 ـ 8)
عن ابی عبدالله الصادق «اذا بلغکم عن صاحب هذا الامر غیبة فلاتنکروها عن الاصبغ بن نباتة قال: أتیت امیر المومنین فوجدته متفکرا ینکت فی الارض فقلت یا امیرالمومنین مالی اراک متفکرا تنکت فی الارض أرغبة منک فیها؟ فقال لا و الله ما رغبت فیها و لا فی الدنیا یوما قط و لکنی فکرت فی مولود یکون من ظهری الحادی عشر من ولدی هو المهدی الذی یملأ الارض عدلا و قسطا کما ملئت جورا و ظلما تکون له غیبة و حیرة یضل فیها اقوام و یهتدی فیها اخرون فقلت یا امیرالمومنین و کم تکون الحیرة و الغیبة؟ قال ستة ایام او ستة اشهر او ست سنین فقلت و ان هذا الکائن؟ فقال نعم کما انه مخلوق و انی لک بهذا الامر یا اصبغ؟ أولئک خیار هذه الامة مع خیار ابرار هذه العترة فقلت ثم مایکون بعد ذلک؟ فقال یفعل الله مایشاء فان له بداءات و ارادات و غایات و نهایات. (الکافی، 338، 1)
The Shi'a Ismaili movement used these religious texts to recruit the grassroots of the shi'a to their movement as they were calling for the rise of the Mahdi and were merely preparing his way to come through their activates. In doing so, they" succeeded not only to attract the majority of the ordinary shi'a in the south of Iraq and the east region of Arabia to their side but also to succeed in establishing a state in the north of Africa in the name of the Mahdi from the year 286/909.

Searching for saviour: After the beginning of the long occultation in the year 329/940 the shi'a Ithna 'ashri began a period to coop with the complete cut in the communication of the Imam with his followers. It was a period of discord, challenge and a milestone to move forward. The main task, that the jurists and the narrators had' to focus on, was to bring the remaining members of the community together through proving the existence of the 12th Imam through the previous Imams sayings that already had foretold the occultation. The second step taken was to build the intellectual foundation of the congregation based on three pillars. These were first collecting the Prophetic sayings through the Imams, second building independent school of jurisprudence and third developing the science of Kalam as a method to strengthen the congregation theology against the internal and external challenge which the 12th Imam's first concealment and his second total occultation brought about. This successful flourishing Twelvers intellectual period continued to consolidate itself on the ground in the heart of the Muslim land of being merely a persecuted religious intellectual community, with tacit political aspiration, into a faith for people in areas other shi'a communities that used to be politically active. There areas covered Iraq, Anatolia and many regions of present Iran and Hijaz area until the 6th /12th century when the tribal feudal military Turkish and Mongolian waves began to move from central Asia to the Middle east.
The inquisition stage: The Twelvers shi'a community began to fall gradually under systematic sectarian political pressure from the 4th /10 century onwards. Later Nizam al-Mulk established his infamous which anti shi'a educational religious programme that put shi'ism, Zaiydi, Ismai’ili and Ithna ‘Ashari alike, in general under new phase of inquisition period. The anti shi'a educational policy creators relied on the Seljuk military feudal authority in Iraq, Syria and Egypt and Hijaz to eradicate shi'ism from every day life and turned its followers into suspicious faith and unwanted community. The shi’a community, for its survival, had to reshape its religious and social network from merely religious missionary community to a secluded defensive community scattered in many regions with very cautious weak network of communication to serve its upper scholastic jurists. When one studies the daily life of shi'a community in Iraq, during the Seljuk period, the Shi’a Isma’ili community in the castle Almut and the biography of the life of sayed Ibn Tawlis in Iraq one would come up with clear evidence that testifies the intolerable turning point that took place in the history of the shi'a community.

The outcome of these harsh policies caused the shi'ism in general and the Twelvers in particulars to be divided on the ground into two social groups; first a secluded scholastic religious learning centres located in remote areas from the decision making political centres. These centres like Najaf, Hilla, Qatif', Bahrain, Jabal 'Amil, Qum, Ray, Ahwaz and certain centres in Khurasan . Second, in the regions where the ruling regimes the ottomans and the Mamluks adopted anti Shiite stand blessed by sectarian religious verdicts (fatawa), the living persecuted Shiite communities in north Africa, Syria, Hijaz and the Ottoman dominated regions had to adjust its daily rituals to meet the challenge of the pressure imposed by the inquisition measures. Over 80 Sunni jurists issued verdict stating that "killing a rafizi (Shiite), in its like virtue and reward, like killing seventy non-believers’’. Hence, many Shiite people socially were forced to adhere to the dominated non-shiite madhhab in the area, at the same time they joined a Sufi order that takes its spiritual guidance from chain (silsilah) that related to Imam Ali.
This particular stage of inquisition caused radical sectarian change on the ground. Saladin abolished the Fatimids caliphate in Egypt in 567/1 0 11 followed by declaring the four schools of law as the official madhhab of the" state and its subjects. Since the following dynasties followed this course with repressive measures. Later as continuation of the Seljuk policies and religious approach in central Asia, after they had moved to Anatolia in the late 5th/ 11th century, the Hanafite law became the official madhhab for the ottoman state and its religious institutions. In Hijaz, the Shiite “Adhan of hayya 'al khayr al-'amal" was banned by the mamluks to be recited in Mecca and Medina. (http://www.mazameer.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26385&page=2)

The fourth stage: The inquisition period, the quietest approach prevailed in the scholastic Shiite centres and the prolongation of the second occultation of the 12th Imam created new Shiite messianic Sufi movements, in search of the return of the Mahdi, tended to reread the religious texts regarding the futuristic conditions and events and signs that preceded or lead to the appearance of the Mahdi. The collection of this literature grew to form a science of the letters ( 'ilm al-harf) through the examination of the religious texts, the users, as alleged, would be able to find and specify the right time and place for the movement to take action to facilitate the conditions that speed up the rise of the Mahdi. (al-Shibi; al-sila bayna al-tasawwuf wa al-Tashayu’). The use of this method faced no rejection as long as its users aimed sincerely examining the religious texts without altering or distorting the actual meaning of the texts. The outcome of these messianic movements during the 9th/15th century was the establishment of two states, the-Safawids state in Azerbaijan then in all Persia (1500-1723) and the Musha’ shi’in state that was in the south of Iraq and the south west of Persia. Later on the Shaiykhiyya movement, the Babi and the Baha'I movements were similar messianic trends that used the religious texts in search of the rise of the Mahdi. The major setback in these movements was the free interpreting of the religious text without the close consultation and obedience to the tradition main stream of the Shiite intellectual teaching regarding the future Mahdi.
However, the creation of these two states and their failure to materialize the spiritual and economic suitable conditions that might lead to the return of the Mahdi it caused new stand for reading and examining the messianic texts by the representatives of the scholastic religious Shiite circles in both Najaf and Qum.
The Jurist stand, Mahdism and Wilayat al-faqih:
The failure of the messianic previous political states confirmed, to the concerned jurists, the correctness of the traditional narrations approach in waiting for the rise of the Imam as the time of his rise is based on divine command in un-fixed time in the future. In edition to this well-known' conclusion, certain jurist came up with the notion that while the Mahdi in state of occultation one of the jurist, who believes in the Mahdi Imamate, may work along with other network of jurists to create a state in which the Shiite law may prevail and put in practice. Such stand would fulfill the religious duties required from both the jurist and his followers. The gradual evolution and development of the concept of Wilayat al-faqih in its political and legislative form evolved from the framework of the pessimistic Shiite political background while its theological context stemmed from the environment that had been accustomed to central rule and intellectually oriented to theological methodology stemmed from philosophical premises in which the theory brought about.
The challenge that has faced the mainstream approach, in waiting for the awaited Mahdi in our time, comes from religious students that studied in the. religious circles, who faced harsh treatment from the authorities of the day in Iraq. Many of them became unhappy with the apparent scholastic approach that the religious centers established upon while the surrounded Shiite community was facing the harsh treatment of the authority of the day. Many students while studying the academic syllabus imposed on them began to build interest in studying futuristic religious texts and implementing them as a means for recruiting youth for achieving social and political change under religious umbrella. They witnessed a new approach in the studies of messianic circles. This approach followed the foot steps of the trends appeared in the 9th/15th century. It relies heavily on the dream in making religious decision on the political life. This trend appeared in the religious circles of Qum and Mashhad among the immigrant students from Iraq and Bahrain.
The representatives of this trend alleged that they experienced meeting with the 12th Imam to solve a religious or personal matters the believers were facing at the time. The Shiite authorities in Iran and the Sunni ruling regime in Iraq, during the eighties and the nineties of last century, did not see any threat from the spread of these spiritual movements, because they did not see any direct threat comes from their activities. On the contrary, the Iraqi authorities benefited from this trend by embedding some of its religious agents to have outwardly spiritual role among the shi'a activists. They attracted the trust of these activists and began predicting to them certain events, the authorities will take against the believers, which the authorities already planned to execute in a fixed date such as releasing prisoners, sentencing others or releasing personal information, the spiritual agent already obtained from the government. In doing so many youth and simple-minded people accepted the role and the religious position these people have reached which, if questioned by anyone the authorities and the crowd would put in trouble.
The case of Ahmad al-hasan:
However, a careful observation of the daily life of such claimants would disclose their false claims. Soon the believers will abandon such person and move on in their messianic spiritual search. The implication of the presence of such false claimants and the disappointment of the followers might bring about confusion and despair among the followers and would put them off from the participation in any genuine religious programme that fit with the positive approach for the awaiting. However, after the failure of such trend, it is essential for the mainstream of the marji’yat is to offer rehabilation religious educational programme for the youth of such followers to bring them back to the right understanding and the right approach toward the concepts of intizar, Zuhoor and the Mahdi.
The more disturbing movement of this type is the movement of Ahmad AI-¬hasan in Basra. His announcement of his message came after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003. He studied in the religious circle of Najaf for eight years. He was in prison for a while and began his mission on putting certain allegations that after examining them one could say that no one alleged such claim before him since the time of the occultation of the 12th Imam in the year 329/940. A careful study of his claim as it appears in his writing published in the website talks in his name will note that it comprises the following seven claims:
He alleged that he is the son of the Mahdi,
And the legatee and the messenger of the 12th Imam.
He is the first Mahdi after the 12th Imam
He is the Yamani, the religious texts talk about, who prepares al-¬mahdi's way.
He considers the Shiite grand jurists, who reject his claim, like idols preventing their followers from seeing the truth and their followers like cattle.
He rejects the current methodology used by the Shiite jurists to issue their religious verdicts although he uses the same method to prove his argument!!!
He relies on the dream and the science of letters (‘lm al-Hunif ) and hermeneutic revision of the last 12th Imam statement to his fourth safir to support his claim.
How to view the new trend in comparison to the old messianic trends?
The above seven claims cover the writings and the declaration of the claimant. He strongly believes in his message and, for this reason, he made his claim public asking the Shiite jurists to believe in his message and asked the leader of the Islamic republic of Iran, to submit the authorities to him on the ground that, as he alleged, is the rightful legatee and messenger of the 12th Imam. He also addressed the main grand Shiite jurists, Sayyeds Ali Seestani, Kazim al-Haeiri, Muhammad sa'ed aI-Hakim and Muhammad Husain Fadl Allah to accept his call.
In fact, most of the leaders of the messianic movements in the past inspired for their action by the pressure of the time and the religious sayings attributed to the prophet regarding future events accompanied the rise of the Mahdi. Many of them believed genuinely in disseminating the mission to create the social and spiritual conditions that would facilitate the rise of the Mahdi. While others claimed to be, the indirect gate of the Mahdi while" in the Sunni dominated environment one finds the intolerable conditions of their society pushed them to resort to arms struggle with the hope that Hashemite rebel leader would be the expected Mahdi. Muhammad b. al-Hasan Dhul Nafs al-Zakiyya, AI-Mahdi b. Tumart in North Africa al-Mahdi of Sudan and Al¬Mahdi of Sumal in the late 19th century , falls under this category. However, none of these rebels and leaders in the past assumed that he was the son of the twelfth Imam like the claim of Ahmad aI-Hasan or the hermeneutic method he used to the term of al-Qa'im, al-Mahdi, zuhzur and Mushahadah.
Politically the strength of Ahmad b. aI-Hasan relied on three points, first; the strong political pressure put on the masses that caused them to resort to religion and were ready to listen to any voice that offers a hope for delivering them from their intolerable conditions. Second; in his mission, he concentrated on the half illiterate and the youth because they are the ones that through whom social changes would take place, also they are easy to convince contrary to the older ones and the learned ones, who became a target for his harsh literary attack. Third, he showed ability to be selective in holy texts reading and using to attack the status of the jurists and the society and to prove his claim from biblical and quranic texts and Prophetic and Imams sayings.
The declaration of Ahmad aI-Hasan caused strong reaction among the community. Many people began looking at his statements and calls with suspicion and their response varied from refuting his claim through verdicts, dialogue to demolishing the centers of his calls and places of gathering in many towns in Iraq. The seven claims Ahmad aI-Hasan put forward could be intellectually answered if the first two claims are examined and resolved. The answer to these two claims will clarify the nature of the whole mission, "whether it has some truth, or a movement resulted from the pressure of the time or merely another embedded trend aimed to distort the genuine main stream of messianic shi'ism in similar method of that of the Babi trend in Karbala in the 19th century.
In his statement Bayanat al-yamani, he clearly declares that he is the son of the 12th Imam, his legatee and, as he alleged, that he receives direct instructions from the 12th Imam to declare his mission as the messenger of the Imam to the nation and he would be the Mahdi after the 12th Imam. Nazim al-¬'Auqaili, one of his followers, wrote a paper in 2004 to prove the possibility that the 12th Imam would live normal life including marrying and having children. His paper is based on re-examining the books 'of Hadith and the books of supplications and visits (ziyaraat) to the Imams shrines. He concluded a hypothesis that the Imam would have lived normal life and consequently had left offspring, and therefore, according to him, if this conclusion is concluded a hypothesis that the Imam would have lived normal life and consequently had left offspring, and therefore, according to him, if this conclusion is theoretically accepted it is, therefore, according to him, logical to accept the claim of Ahmad aI-Hasan being the son of the 12th Imam. al-uqaili argues, that Ahmad aI-Hasan claimed that he is the son of the 12 Imam and the latter did not come forward to disapprove this claim therefore, according to him, one must accept the claim as fact.
If one goes with this theoretical approach of al-Uqaili, one could assume that it is quiet plausible that the 12th Imam, during his short occultation, of being married and having children. There is evidence from this period that indicates this assumption. Al-Kulayni reports that Ahmad b. Ja'far al-Himyari asked the first if he had seen the 12th Imam in his own naked eyes after the death of the 11th Imam al-Hasan al-Askari and his name. The deputy confirmed that he had seen the child but it is forbidden to ask about the name. The reason behind this was that the authorities of the time reached the conclusion that the 11th Imam, al-Hasan al-'Askari, had passed away without having a male inheritor and for this reason the Imam's wealth was distributed among individuals, who had no right in the bequeath. Because of this conclusion, the authorities had given up their search and pursuit about the Imam whereabouts. As result of this conclusion, the Imam's families were able to moving freely with no fear from any restriction nor anyone would be able to recognize them or causing them harm. However, if the name had been identified the search would resume along with the resumption of the inquisition period. Therefore one must refrain from asking about the personality of the Imam.
But this assumption does not mean that the direct children of the Imam or their offspring had legal authority upon the believers unless the previous Imam in person stipulates a particular son to succeed him in the Imamate.
It is worth taking the last statement of Ali b. Muhammad al-Samari, the fourth safir of the 12th Imam. Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b, Ahmad al-Mukattib said:
I was in Madinat al-Salam in the year in which Shaykh Abu al-Hasan Ali b, Muhammad al-Samari-may God blesses his soul, and I attended his place days before he passed away. He showed to the people a statement (signature) which states: In the name of God, the companionate, the merciful, 0 Muhammad. Ali al-Samari May Allah reward your brethren in you as you are going to die six '. Days from know. So do not make any person to be in charge of your place after your departure. The total occultation has commenced and there will be no reappearance until God, the Exalted, shall permit after the extremity of time, hardening of hearts and total spread of injustice on earth. Someone shall come to my followers alleging the witness but him who alleged the witness (of me) before the rise of the Sufyani and the outcry in the sky is indeed clear liar. And there is no power nor might save in God. We have copied this statement and left him. Six days later we returned to him and found him in his deathbed. He was asked who your successor is. He replied God has a fixed matter that he shall attain then he departed. This was the last statement was heard from him. May God be pleased with him and May he makes him satisfy?
Ahmad aI-Hassan claimed that he is the son of the 12th Imam the Mahdi and this allegation has three possibilities to argue. First, he is the son of the 12th Imam in allegiance. In fact, every Muslim shares with him in this claim. The wives of the prophet were our mothers and the prophet is more important to us than we are. Because the Imams were his successors, they hold the same status in relation to the believers. In that sense, all Muslims are the children of the 12th Imam in allegiance and in obedience. Second, If Ahmad aI-Hasan is the son of the 12th Imam in linage then this claim is possible on the ground ' that the 12th Imam left offspring. In fact all offspring share similar status with Ahmad aI-Hassan but under the period of total occultation none of them will know or disclose his identity as being the descendant or the son of the Imam until the rise of the Sufyani and the outcry in the name of the imam in the sky. Therefore claiming that he is the son of the Imam and claiming seeing him is in contrast with the very message of the imam himself.
Third, the possibility that he meant in his allegation that he is the direct son of the 12th Imam and in this allegation requires one to inquire this claim from several angles to reach the conclusion. When this claim is refuted the remaining claims will subsequently be disproved. In his audio recorded message, he stated: “O unjust ones do not feel happy because I became far from you and my immigration of your land this matter will not last long until I will return with my father Muhammad. Al-Hassan al-Mahdi, peace be 'with him), 'who will offer nothing except the sword and death under the shadow of swords. … I will go to my father Muhammad b. al-Hassan al-Mahdi, peace be with him), to inform him that you have disbelieve me and dishonour me by slander and saying perfidy.
In fact, in this claim Ahmad aI-Hassan put him in an awkward position and defeated the whole aim of the total occultation. Claiming in this generation that one he is the direct son of the 12th Imam, as statement reads, he has to approve scientifically and legally the claim that he put forward and this requires the needed examination. If such required test went through and showed scientifically that he is not the son of the man that he was raised up with and he was merely a foster father. That will take us to the next step is to make the required scientific and legal search for the actual legal father of the claimant. The result of this investigation will put the claimant in awkward situation and jeopardize the whole purpose of the total occultation of the 12th Imam. If such investigation proved negative then all the remaining claims will collapse. His followers stated that Ahmad b. AI-Hasan stated that he is the son and the 12th Imam and since the Imam did not come forward with a statement of denying this claim this necessitates that the claim is valid. The answer for such illogical argument is since the imam denies any witness, disclosure of the identity of the Imam before his rise and did not come with statement confirming the claim of the claimant and the consensus of the jurists of such claim then the whole claim is refuted and the rest of the claims as well collapsed too.
In correspondence conducted by one of the believer with the group of Ahmad al¬hassan a certain test was put for him to filter the correctness of his claim. The question is quiet simple one. Whenever an Imam passed away, his followers come forward and asked the sons of the deceased imam certain question and expected the rightful successor will answer and in obtaining the required answer the Imamate of the new Imam will be confirmed. When Ahmad AI¬hasan was addressed with similar question he started to give polemic answers and promised to give the answer but after waiting for a year. He failed to do so.
There is consensus among the Imamiyya that the two inevitable signs for the rise of the Mahdi had to occur first. These two signs are, the rise of the sufyani and second, the outcry in the sky in the name of the Mahdi and his name. The remaining three inevitable signs will come in sequence in the same year. These signs are the rise of the earthquake in the outskirt of the Medina in which an army will be destroyed and the rise of the Yamani and lastly the murder of the pure soul in Mecca fifteen days before the rise of the Mahdi.
The claim of Ahmad al-Hassan in his hermeneutic approach in reinterpreting the religious texts and the terms used by the statements of the 12th Imam to suit his end will open wide door for future claimants. He made an attempt to reinterpret the two inevitable signs that shall precede the rise of the Imam by cancelling these inevitable signs according to the principle of Badaa. In doing so, he has made himself the actual rise and manifestation (zuhur) of the Mahdi but in the person of Ahmad b. al¬-Hassan. This new approach of hermeneutic examination of selective religious will open doors for new claimants of being the Mahdi within the camp of shi'ism when ever a social or political crisis occur in the society. It makes Mahdism as useful for change in the society in the hand of every ambitious person and keeps the real belief in the awaited Mahdi as a cult only. In order to implicate other people with him in his belief, he dictates to his disciples to write treatise to defend his doctrine in refutation of the mainstream of the community. In doing so, the writers had no option but to carry on with the new dogma which has in the mind of the community had no return.
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