The Martyrdom or Passing Away of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs)

The Martyrdom or Passing Away of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs)

Different ¦ad¢ths exist regarding the martyrdom or passing away of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs), but because Im¡m °asan al-Mujtab¡ (‘a) has said, “Each one of us Im¡ms will either be poisoned or martyred,” the ¦ad¢ths that indicate the Im¡m’s martyrdom can have preponderance over others that say otherwise.

Here, it will suffice to examine only a few pertinent ¦ad¢ths:

Concerning the noble Qur’anic verse, ï´¾ عَلَيْهِمْ الْكَرَّةَ لَكُمُ رَدَدْنَا ثُمَّ ï´¿ “Then We gave you back the turn [to prevail] over them,”[1] Im¡m a¥-¥¡diq (‘a) said: “It means the revival of Im¡m al-°usayn (‘a) and seventy of his companions during the period of the Im¡m of the Time wearing golden helmets. The return [raj‘ah] and revival of °a¤rat al-°usayn (‘a) will be announced by them to the people so that the believers would not entertain doubt and skepticism.

This will occur while °a¤rat al-°ujjah (‘atfs) will be among the people. When knowledge and faith in him will be well-embedded in their hearts, the demise of °a¤rat °ujjah will come. Then, °a¤rat Im¡m al-°usayn (‘a) will take charge of his ghu¥l [ritual bath for the dead], his shrouding [kafn], embalmment [¦un£§], and burial. A non-wa¥iyy [executor of will] will never prepare the burial of a wa¥iyy.”[2]

Zuhr¢ said: “°a¤rat al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs) will live for fourteen years and then he will meet the Lord by natural death.”[3]

Ar§¡h said: “It has been narrated to me that °a¤rat al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs) will live for forty years. Then, he will die a natural death on his bed.”[4]

Ka‘b al-A¦b¡r[5] said: “The victor [man¥£r] of this ummah is al-Mahd¢, and the inhabitants of the earth and the birds in the sky send salutations to him.

“It is he who will be tested in the war with Rome and other great battles. This test will take twenty years. Along with two thousand of his standard-bearing commanders he will attain martyrdom. Afterward, there will be no tragedy more painful than the martyrdom of °a¤rat al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs) after the tragedy of the demise of the Messenger of Allah (¥).”[6]

Of course, in my opinion, the statements of Zuhr¢, Ar§¡h and Ka‘b are unreliable unless the opposite is proved.

The Manner of the Martrdom of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs)

Regarding the manner of the martyrdom of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs), it has been stated in Ilz¡m an-N¡¥ib, thus: “When his seventieth year comes to an end and his death is about to take place, a woman named Sa‘¢dah from the tribe of Ban¢ Tam¢m will martyr him. The salient feature of that woman is that she would have a beard like a man.

“When the Im¡m is passing by, she will throw a stone from a rooftop upon him and he will attain martyrdom. After he passes away, Im¡m al-°usayn (‘a) will perform the rites of his ghu¥l, kafn and burial.”[7]

Of course, with the exception of this book, I have not found this subject written anywhere else, i.e. the manner of martyrdom of the Im¡m.

Im¡m a¥-¥¡diq (‘a) said: “°usayn (‘a), along with his companions who were martyred with him, will come[8] and seventy prophets will accompany them just as °a¤rat M£s¡ was accompanied by seventy dispatched persons. Then, °a¤rat al-Q¡’im (‘atfs) will turn over his ring to him. Im¡m al-°usayn will perform °a¤rat al-Q¡’im’s ghu¥l, kafn, ¦un£§, and burial.”

سلام عليه يوم ولد ويوم يموت ويوم يبعث حياً

May peace be upon him on the day he was born, the day he will appear, the day he will die, and the day he will be raised up to life again!>


The following are questions posed by one of the translators of this book and the answers of the author to them:

Question 1: Please explain ¦ashr and nashr.[9]

Answer: Perhaps the ¦ad¢th means that during the commencement of the Day of Reckoning, all human beings and other creatures will head toward Bayt al-Muqaddas (in Jerusalem) except those who had buried in Qum. In fact, those who would be admitted to paradise will enter it directly from Qum, for, as mentioned in ¦ad¢ths, one of the doors of heaven will be opened in Qum.

Since “it is the day of the transformation of the world into another form,” on the Day of Resurrection this world and all its contents will change and nothing will remain of them. Perhaps, this is improbable.

It is also possible that this ¦ad¢th refers to the raj‘ah or the purgatory world [‘¡lam al-barzakh] in which the souls of all believers would assemble in Bayt al-Muqaddas except for those who had buried in Qum which would be a purgatorial heaven for them.

Question 2: What would be the status of jizyah during the time of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs)?[10]

Answer: Of course, the ¦ad¢ths quoted in that part of the book are related to the noble verse, ï´¿ ...حَتَّى يُعْطُواْ الْجِزْيَةَ عَن يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ ï´¾ “…until they pay the tribute out of hand, degraded,”[11] and this is an indisputable part of Islamic law affirmed by all Muslims of the world.

At any rate, perhaps it can be said as an explanation that one of the reasons for abandoning their own religions and inclining to Islam would be as stated in the ¦ad¢ths. On one hand, they would see that if they embraced Islam, they would enjoy all the privileges of being Muslim. In addition to being exempted from paying the jizyah, they would also have a share in the public treasury. On the other hand, if they remained in their religions, they would suffer both a guilty conscience (for not accepting the truth after knowing it) and a financial burden (in paying jizyah). So, they would choose the first option and become Muslims.

Or, maybe there are other points and aspects of the ¦ad¢ths which are beyond our understanding.

Question 3: Why is making a profit off a believer unlawful and usurious, or discouraged and reprehensible [makr£h]?[12]

Answer: The unlawfulness and usuriousness of making a profit off a believer or its being discouraged and reprehensible [makr£h] is related to the time of the establishment of the government of truth and the Islamic state of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs).

Perhaps, at that time, such laws and regulations would be related to the conditions of the people and the market. It is also possible that it alludes to the psychological makeup of the people at that time which would naturally express itself in their commercial transactions with each other. As a manifestation of this psychological makeup, the people would tend to avoid burdening others and gaining huge profits.

Of course, any of these conjectures might be true provided that the ¦ad¢ths in question are indeed authentic.

Question 4: Why will qa§¡yi‘ (private estates) cease to exist during the time of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs)?[13]

Answer: In view of the fact that qa§¡yi‘ here refers to the vast tracks of land registered under the name of a king or his agents, perhaps the ¦ad¢th means that during his just government, Im¡m al-Mahd¢’s (‘atfs) will declare these land titles null and void, confiscate these tracks of land in favor of the public treasury and turn them over to their original owners who are the masses or the popular government.

Question 5: The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said: “Woe unto him who destroyed you (K£fah Mosque)! Woe unto him who facilitated the way to your destruction! Woe unto him who built you with mud and baked clay, and changed the direction of N£¦’s (Noah) (‘a) qiblah!”[14] Was this expression a warning because of the reprehensibility of the material used in the reconstruction (mud and baked clay), or because of the action itself of destroying and reconstructing the mosque?

Answer: Of course, it was because of the action itself of destroying and reconstructing the mosque. As recorded in history, it had been made up of woven reeds but during the rule of Mughayrah ibn Shu‘bah, a notorious and staunch enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), in Iraq, it was rebuilt with mud and baked clay. Then, during the time of Ziy¡d ibn Ab¢h, he destroyed and rebuilt the mosque with baked clay and acquired its foundations from Ahw¡z.[15]

During the reign of °ajj¡j ibn Y£suf in Iraq he totally destroyed it which was partly damaged at that time and rebuilt it. After that some of its walls were destroyed and rebuilt during the time of Y£suf ibn ‘Umar ath-Thaqaf¢, a bloodthirsty, cruel and tyrannical governor appointed by the Umayyad caliph °ish¡m ibn ‘Abd al-Malik.[16]

Actually, the aforementioned ¦ad¢th was a prediction by the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) about the emergence of tyrant rulers such as Ziy¡d, °ajj¡j, Y£suf ibn ‘Um¡r, and others.

Question 6: Im¡m a¥-¥¡diq (‘a) said: “°usayn (‘a), along with his companions who were martyred with him, will come and seventy prophets will accompany them just as °a¤rat M£s¡ was accompanied by seventy dispatched persons.”[17] Who would be these seventy prophets?

Answer: These seventy prophets will accompany °a¤rat M£s¡ (‘a) in visiting the House of Allah while performing °ajj,[18] or they would be the seventy persons from among the community [qawm] of °a¤rat M£s¡ (‘a) who demanded to see Allah and hear His voice at an appointed tryst [m¢q¡t], but when the manifestation of the divine glory came upon them, they fell down dead and were raised up to life again[19] and while reaching the station of prophethood they would accompany °a¤rat M£s¡ (‘a) during the time of Im¡m al-Mahd¢ (‘atfs). It would also mean something else which is beyond our knowledge and understanding.

Appendix 1

الْفَرَجْ دُعَاءُ

i Du‘¡’ al-Faraj p

Invocation for the Advent of the Im¡m of the Age (‘atfs)

Bismill¡hi ’r-ra¦m¡ni ’r-ra¦¢m

In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful

Il¡h¢ ‘azuma’l-bal¡’u wa bari¦a’l-khaf¡’

O my Lord! The calamity has aggravated; the absence prolonged;

Wa’nkashafa’l-ghi§¡’u wa’nqa§a‘a’r-raj¡’

The curtain of modesty has been lifted; hope has been curtailed;

Wa ¤¡qati’l-ar¤u wa muni‘ati’s-sam¡’

The earth has been narrow; and sky has been denied.

Wa anta’l-musta‘¡nu wa ilayka’l-mushtak¡

And You are the One from whom help is sought and complaints are made

Wa ‘alayka al-mu‘awwalu f¢’sh-shiddati wa’r-rakh¡’

And in You we trust in the times of difficulty.

All¡humma ¥alli ‘al¡ Mu¦ammad wa ¡li Mu¦ammad

O Allah! Send blessings upon Mu¦ammad (¥) and the progeny of Mu¦ammad (¥),

£l¢’l-amri’l-ladh¢na fara¤ta ‘alayn¡ §¡‘atahum

The possessors of authority whose obedience you have enjoined upon us

Wa ‘arraftan¡ bidh¡lika manzilatahum fafarrij ‘ann¡ bi-¦aqqihim farajan ‘¡jilan qar¢ban kalam¦i’l-ba¥ar¢ aw huwa aqrab

And by that made us aware of their position. Then make open for us, by their truth, an immediate opening, immediate as a wink or sooner.

Y¡ Mu¦ammadu y¡ ‘Aliyyu y¡ Mu¦ammad

O Mu¦ammad! O ‘Al¢! O ‘Al¢! O Mu¦ammad!

Ikfiy¡n¢ fainnakum¡ k¡fiy¡ni wa’n-¥ur¡ni fainnakum¡ n¡¥ir¡n

Suffice me both of you as both of you are sufficient.

Help me—two of you—for you are my helpers.

Ya mawl¡n¡ y¡ ¥¡¦iba’z-zam¡n

O our Master, O Master of the Time!

Al-ghawtha’l-ghawtha adrikn¢ adrikn¢

Help! Help! Rescue me! Rescue me! Rescue me!


This moment! This moment!


Hasten, hasten, hasten!

Y¡ ar¦ama’r-r¡¦im¢na bi-¦aqqi Mu¦ammad wa ¡lihi’§-§¡hir¢n

O Most Merciful of the Merciful,

For the sake of Mu¦ammad (¥) and his holy progeny.

Appendix 2

(عج)العَصْرِ اِمَامِ دُعَاءُ

i Du‘¡’ Im¡m al-‘A¥r (‘atfs) p

Invocation of the Im¡m of the Age (‘atfs)

Bismill¡hi ’r-ra¦m¡ni ’r-ra¦¢m

In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful

الْمَعْصِيَةِ بُعْدَ وَ الطَّاعَةِ تَوْفِيْقَ ارْزُقْنَا اَلّلهُمَّ

All¡humma’rzuqn¡ tawf¢qa’§-§¡‘ah wa bu‘da’l-ma‘¥iyah

O Lord! Give us firmness in obedience, aloofness from sins,

الْحُرْمَةِ عِرْفَانَ وَ النِّيَّةِ صِدْقُ وَ

Wa ¥idqu’n-niyyah wa ‘irf¡n al-¦urmah

sincere intention, and the knowledge of all that is held with respect to You.

الْحِكْمَةِ وَ بِالصََّوَابِ اَلْسِنَتَنَا سَدِّدْ وَ الإِسْتِقَامَةِ وَ بِالْهُدى اَكْرِمْنَا وَ

Wa akrimn¡ bi’l-hud¡ wa’l-istiq¡mah wa saddid as-sinatan¡ bi’¥-¥aw¡b wa’l-¦ikmah

(O Lord!) Bestow on us steadfastness, guidance and wisdom,

and let our tongues speak the truth.

الْمَعْرِفَةِ وَ بِالْعِلْمِ قُلُوْبَنَا وَامْلأْ

W¡mla’ qul£ban¡ bi’l-‘ilm wa’l-ma‘rifah

Fill our hearts with knowledge and learning.

الْحَرَامِ مِنَ بُطُوْنَنَا طَهِّرْ وَ

Wa §ahhir bu§£nan¡ min al-¦ar¡m

Keep us from filling our stomach with unlawful food.

السَّرِقَةِ وَ الظُلْمِ عَنِ اَيْدِيَنَا وَاكْفِفْ الشُّبْهَةِ وَ

Wash-shubhati wa’kfif aydiyan¡ ‘ani’¨-¨ulm wa’s-sariqah

Keep our hands from oppressing and stealing.

الْخِيَانَةِ وَ الْفُجُوْرِ عَنِ اَبْصَارَنَا وَاغْضُضْ

W¡gh¤u¤ ba¥¡ran¡ ‘ani’l-fuj£r wa’l-khiy¡nah

Blind our eyes from witnessing immorality and debauchery.

وَالْغِيْبَةِ اللَّغْوِ عَنِ اَسْمَاعَنَا وَاسْدُدْ

Wa’sdud asm¡‘an¡ ‘ani’l-llaghwi wa’l-gh¢bah

Block our ears from hearing absurd and undesirable talk

as well as backbiting and malicious remarks.

وَالنَّصِيْحَةِ بِالزُّهْدِ عُلَمَائِنَا عَلى وَتَفَضَّلْ

Wa fa¤dal ‘al¡ ‘ulam¡’in¡ biz’zuhdi wa’n-na¥¢¦ah

Let our scholars be endowed with piety and the ability of giving good counsel.

وَالرَّغْبَةِ بِالْجُهْدِ الْمُتَعَلِّمِيْنَ عَلى وَ

Wa ‘al¡’l-muta‘allim¢na bi’l-juhdi wa’r-raghbah

Enable our students to devote themselves to their studies in right earnest.

وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ بِالاِتِّبَاعِ الْمُسْتَمِعِيْنَ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡’l-mustami‘¢na bi’l-ittib¡‘i wa’l-maw‘i¨ah

Let our listeners pay heed to what they hear and to follow them sincerely.

وَالرَّاحَةِ بِالشِّفَاءِ الْمُسْلِمِيْنَ مَرضَى وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡ mar¤a’l-muslim¢na bi’sh-shif¡’i wa’r-r¡¦ah

Bestow health and comfort upon the sick Muslims,

وَالرَّحْمَةِ بِالرَّاْفَةِ مَوْتَاهُمْ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡ mawt¡hum bi’r-ra’fati wa’r-ra¦mah

peace and mercy upon the dead Muslims,

وَالسَّكِيْنَةِ بِالْوَقَارِ مَشَايِخِنَا وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡ mash¡yikhin¡ bi’l-waq¡ri wa’s-sak¢nah

honor and dignity upon our good ones.

وَالتّوْبَةِ بِالاِنَابةِ الشَّبَابِ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡’sh-shab¡bi bi’l-in¡bati wa’t-tawbah

Let our youth repent for their lapses.

وَالْعِفَّةِ بِالْحَيَاءِ النِّسَاءِ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡’n-nis¡’i bi’l-¦ay¡’i wa’l-‘iffah

Make our women modest and chaste.

وَالسَّعَةِ بِالتَّوَاضُعِ الاَغْنِيَاءِ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡’l-aghniy¡’i bi’t-taw¡¤u‘i wa’s-sa‘ah

Bestow upon the rich the quality of humility and generosity;

الْقَنَاعَةِ وَ بِالصّبْرِ الْفُقَرَاءِ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡’l-fuqar¡’i bi’¥-¥abri wa’l-qin¡‘ah

upon the poor, patience and contentment;

وَالْغَلَبَةِ بِالنَّصْرِ الْغُزَاةِ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡’l-ghuz¡ti bi’n-na¥ri wa’l-ghalabah

upon our warriors, victory and triumph;

وَالرَّاحَةِ بالْخَلاصِ الاُسَرَاءِ وَعَلى

Wa ‘al¡’l-usar¡’i bi’l-khal¡¥i wa’r-r¡¦ah

upon the prisoners, freedom from the enemy’s captivity;

وَالشَّفَقَةِ بِالْعَدْلِ وَعَلى الاُمَرَاءِ

Wa ‘al¡’l-umar¡’i bi’l-‘adli wash-shafaqah

upon the rulers, justice and compassion;

السِّيْرَةِ وَحُسْنِ بِالاِنْصَافِ وَِعَلى الرَّعِيَةِ

Wa ‘al¡’r-ra‘ibah bi’l-in¥¡f wa ¦usni’s-s¢rah

and upon the ruled, fairness and good conduct.

[1] S£rah al-Isr¡’ (or Ban¢ Isr¡’¢l) 17:6.

[2] Al-K¡f¢, vol. 8, p. 206; Ta’w¢l al-¡y¡t a¨-Ẓ¡hirah, vol. 1, p. 278; vol. 2, p. 762; Mukhta¥ar al-Ba¥¡’ir, p. 48; Tafs¢r Burh¡n, vol. 2, p. 401; Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r, vol. 53, p. 13; vol. 51, p. 56.

[3] Ibn °amm¡d, Fitan, p. 104; Al-Bada’ wa’t-T¡r¢kh, vol. 2, p. 184; Muttaq¢ Hind¢, Burh¡n, p. 163.

[4] Ibn °amm¡d, Fitan, p. 99; ‘Aqd ad-Durar, p. 147; Muttaq¢ Hind¢, Burh¡n, p. 157.

[5] It is to be noted that according to the scholars of ‘ilm ar-rij¡l [science concerned with the study of ¦ad¢th chain of transmitters], Ka‘b al-A¦b¡r is a known liar. The Im¡ms from the Progeny of the Prophet (‘a) did not accept his ¦ad¢ths. See, for example, Mu¦ammad Jawad Chirri, The Shi‘ites Under Attack (Detroit: The Islamic Center of America, 1986), “Did Muslims other than Shi‘ites Borrow Religious Teachings from Jews?”, pp. 62-75, available online at: [Trans.]

[6] Aqd ad-Durar, p. 149.

[7] Ilz¡m an-N¡¥ib, p. 190; T¡r¢kh-e M¡ Ba‘da’¨-Ẓuh£r, p. 881.

[8] For information on the return [raj‘ah] of Im¡m al-°usayn (‘a), see the book, Set¡reh-ye Derakhsh¡n [Bright Star], of my father, the late ¡yatull¡h ±abas¢.

[9] See p. 54.

[10] See p. 143.

[11] S£rah at-Tawbah (or, Bar¡‘ah) 9:29.

[12] See pp. 155-156.

[13] See p. 156.

[14] See p. 157.

[15] Mu‘jam al-Buld¡n, vol. 4, p. 493.

[16] Sayr I‘l¡m an-Nabal¡, vol. 5, p. 442.

[17] See p. 216.

[18] Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r, vol. 13, no. 11.

[19] S£rah al-Baqarah 2:55-56; S£rah an-Nis¡’ 4:153; S£rah al-A‘r¡f 7:155.


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