A while back I was gifted an English copy of volume 51 (which is volume 13 old edition) of Bihar al-Anwar by Allamah Majlisi, titled Kitab al-Ghaibah (The Book of Occultation). The book includes various traditions pertaining to different topics related to Imam al-Mahdi (ajtf). This translation is done by Hassan Allahyari and he omits the translation of two chapters from this book namely the chapters titled: Prophecies of Soothsayers Engraved on Rocks and People with Long Lifespans in the History of Humanity – Longevity of Imam Mahdi. Both these chapters can be read in the translation of the same volume done by Sayyid Athar Husain Rizvi (published by the Ja’fari Propagation Centre).
Over the next few months, I will be publishing some of the narrations from each of the chapters of the book and hope to essentially create a series of posts pertaining to different aspects of Imam al-Mahdi (ajtf). Given the nature of Bihar al-Anwar in terms of ahadith authenticity, I will be merely posting the traditions which I deem to be relevant to the topic; however please check for the authenticity of any hadith with a scholar before fully relying upon it. In terms of the English text of the narrations, the translator chose to crop out the names of most of the narrators (they can be read in the Arabic text) and only leave the names of the initial few narrators through which the hadith has been transmitted.
I decided to begin with the chapter titled: Verses About the Rise of the Qa’im [page 84]. Much of this chapter quotes from Tafsir al-Qummi, Al-Khisal, Thawab al-A’maal, Ikmal al-Deen, Tafsir al-Ayashi and Kitab al-Ghaiba of Sheikh Tusi to name a few.
1. Tafsir al-Qummi: And if We postpone the punishment from them until the numbered company. He 1 said, It means if We should grant them bounties in this world until the rise of the Qa’im (a.s) and then We bring them back and punish them, They will verily say, ‘What is holding him back?’ it means they will say in a fashion of jest, ‘Why does not the Qa’im come and rise?’ So Allah says, Behold the day he comes to them. He is not turned aside from them and they will be encompassed by what they mocked at. [Hud: 8]
Ahmad Ibn Idris narrated through the chain of narration on the authority of Hisham Ibn ‘Ammar’s father, who was from the companions of Ameerul Momineen ‘Ali (a.s), that the holy Imam said in the context to the verse, And if We postpone the punishment from them until the numbered company, they will certainly say, ‘What is holding him back?’ “The numbered company (al-ummah al-ma‘duda) is the companions of the Qa’im, the three hundred and ten and some odd men.”
‘Ali Ibn Ibrahim said, Ummah is used in a variety of senses in the Divine Book. Of its meanings is madhab or creed or denomination, such as in the verse, People were a single ummah, [Al-Baqara: 213] meaning, they followed a single creed. Of its meanings is jama’a or congregation of people, such as in the verse, Moses found over the waters of Midian an ummah of the people drawing water, [Al-Qasas: 22] meaning he found a congregation of people. Of its meanings is one entity, such as the verse,Verily Abraham was an ummah obedient to Allah and of righteous faith. [Al-Nahl: 120]. Of its meanings is the genera of all animals, such as in the verse, And there is not an ummah but a warner has gone among them. [Faatir: 24] Of such meanings is the Ummah of the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (a.s), such as in the verse, And thus we sent you in an ummah before which ummahs have passed. [Al-Ra‘d: 32]
Of these meanings is the concept of time, such as in the Divine saying, And said the one who had been delivered of the two, remembering after an ummah, [Yusuf: 45] that is, after a time. Likewise is the verse, And if We postpone the punishment from them until the numbered ummah, [Hud: 8] which means time. Of these meanings is all of creation, such as in the verse, And you will see every ummah hobbling on its knees, being summoned to its book, [Al-Jathiya: 27] and the verse, And the Day we shall raise from every ummah a witness; then no leave will be given to the unbelievers, nor will they be suffered to make amends. [Al-Nahl: 84] There are many verses like these.
1 According to researchers, all of the narrations of Tafsir al-Qummi are from Imam al-Baqir (as) and Imam Sadiq (as).
2. Tafseer al-Qummi: Ibn Abi ‘Umayr narrates on the authority of Ibn Miskan from Abu ‘Abdillah (as) in the context of the holy verse, Leave has been given to the people who are waged wars against, for they have been oppressed, And Allah is verily able to help them, [Al-Hajj: 39 ] “The commonality says that this verse was revealed about the Messenger of Allah (a.s) when the Quraysh exiled him from Mecca. However, it is the Qa’im (a.s) when he rises to avenge the blood of Husain (as), saying, ‘We are the heirs of the blood and the seekers of vengeance.’”
3. Tafseer al-Qummi: He who answers the constrained, when he calls unto Him, and removes the evil and appoints you to be heirs of the earth. [Al-Naml: 62] My father narrated to me on the authority of al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Fadhdhal from Salih Ibn ‘Aqaba from Abu ‘Abdillah (as), “This verse has been revealed about the Qa’im (as). He is, by Allah, the constrained. When he prays two rak‘ats in al-Maqam and supplicates to Allah, He will answer him and will remove the evil and will appoint him the heir on the earth.”
4. Tafseer al-Qummi: They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths; and Allah completes His light. [Al-Saf: 8] He said, This will be through the Qa’im from the House of Muhammad (saw) when he up-rises to manifest Islam over all other religions, so that no deity other than Allah is worshiped. It is signified by the narration, “He will fill the earth with equity as it will be replete with oppression and inequity.”
5. Tafseer al-Qummi: It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of Truth, that He may uplift it above all religions, though the unbelievers be averse. [Bara-’a: 34] This verse was revealed about the Qa’im from the House of Muhammad (pbuh). He is the Imam that Allah will uplift and manifest him over all religions and he will fill the earth with equity and justice, as it is replete with oppression and inequity. This is of the verses the materialization thereof is after their revelation.
6. Thawab al-A‘mal: Ibn al-Walid through the chain of narration from Sulayman, from his father, saying, I recited to Abu ‘Abdillah (as), “Has there not come to you the news of the overwhelming calamity?” [Al-Ghashiya: 1] The Imam said, “Al-Qa’im will overwhelm them with the sword.” I recited, “Some faces shall be on that day downcast.” The Imam said, “It means that they will be humble and will not be able to defy.” I said, “Laboring.” The Imam said, “They labored not according to what Allah, the Exalted, revealed.” I said, “Appointing.” The Imam said, “They appointed other than the Guardians of the Order.” I said, “Entering into the burning fire.” He said, “They will enter the fire of wars in this life in the time of the Qa’im and the fire of Hell in the hereafter.”
7. Ikmal al-Deen: My father through the chain of narration on the authority of Umm Hani: I met Abu Ja‘far Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn al-Husain Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abi Ta-lib (as) and asked him about this verse, But nay, I swear by the stars that run their course and hide themselves. [Al-Takwir: 16] The Imam said, “An Imam who will go into hiding, when all who know him will be gone, in the year two hundred and sixty and then he will appear like a blazing meteor in the darkness of the night. If one should live up to that time, his heart shall find solace.”
‘Allama Majlisi’s Note: The reason that the word “stars” has come in plural form could be to show veneration for the Imam of the Age (as) or for the purpose of emphasis in his being the last and that his appearance will encompass the appearance of all the Imams, peace be with them, considering their raj‘a. It can also mean that his appearance is as great as if all of the Imams were to appear.
8. Ikmal al-Deen: Yahya Ibn Abi al-Qasim says, I asked al-Sadiq (as) about the saying of Allah, the Exalted, Alif lam meem. This book, there is no doubt therein, it is guidance for the pious, who believe in the unseen. [Al-Baqra: 1-3] The Imam said, “The pious are the Shi‘a of ‘Ali (as). As for the unseen: it is the Hujja gone into invisibility. The evidence of that is the saying of Allah, And they say, ‘Why is not a sign sent to him from his Lord? Say, The Unseen is only for Allah, so wait, I am too with you of those who wait. [Yunus: 20]
9. Al-Ghaiba of Sheikh Tusi: Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali narrates on the authority of Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn al-Husain, on the authority of his father, on the authority of his grandfather, from Ameerul Momineen ‘Ali (as) about the Divine saying, Yet We desire to be gracious to those that were abased in the land, and to make them leaders, and to make them the inheritors, [Al-Qasas: 5] that the Imam said, “They are the House of Muhammad (pbuh). Allah will raise their Mahdi after their distress, so he will honor them and will disgrace their enemy.
10. Tafseer al-‘Ayashi: Salih Ibn Sahl narrates from Abu ‘Abdillah (as) in regard to following verses, [Al-Isra’: 4-6] We issued a verdict to the Children of Israel in the Book that you will twice raise mischief on earth. This is the murder of Ameerul Momineen (as) and lancing of Hasan (as). And you will ascend exceeding high. This refers to the slaughtering of Husain (as). ‘When the promise of the first of the two comes’ refers to the event of avenging the blood of al-Husain. ‘We will raise our servants over you, men of great might; they went to and fro in the lands is about a nation Allah sends before the rise of the Qa’im, who will not leave any felon against the House of Muhammad but set him ablaze. ‘And it is a promise fulfilled’ before the rise of the Qa’im.
‘Then We gave you back the turn to prevail against them, and aided you with wealth and children and made you a numerous band’ refers to the coming of Husain (as) in the Return (al-Raj‘a) with seventy men of his companions who were martyred with him. They will be wearing white cloaks embroidered with gold, with each cloak having two sides.
The news that reaches the people will be that Husain (as) has come with his companions, so the believers will not doubt, and that he is neither the Dajjal nor the Satan. The Imam (al-Hujja Ibn al-Hasan (a.s)) will be amongst the people at that day. When it is established to the believer that he is Husain (as), he will not doubt therein, and when the news of Husain (as) comes to al-Hujja al-Qa-‘im (as) amidst the people and the believers authenticate it, the Hujja will die. So the one who would perform his funeral bath, shrouding, scenting, and burial will be Husain (as). A Masoom is succeeded only by a Masoom.” Ibrahim narrated that al-Husain will rule so long over the people that his eyebrows will fall over his eyes from old age.
11. Al-Ghaiba of al-Ne‘mani: ‘Ali Ibn Ahmad narrates through the chain of narration on the authority of Abu Basir from Abu ‘Abdillah (as) in the context of the holy verse, The guilty shall be recognized by their marks. [Al-Rahman: 41] The Imam (as) said, “Allah recognizes them; however, this verse has come about the Qa’im; he will recognize them from their appearance and he and his companions will strike them with the sword.”
12. Kanz Jame‘ al-Fawa’id and Ta’wil al-Ayat al-Dhahira: From Abu ‘Abdillah (as) in reference to the verse, When Our verses are recited to him, he says, ‘Myths of the previous people: [Al-Qalam: 15] “This refers to his falsification of the Qa’im from the House of Muhammad (pbuh) when he will say to him, ‘We do not know you and you are not from the progeny of Fatima (sa), as the polytheists said to Muhammad (pbuh).”
13. Al-Kafi: Muhammad Ibn Yahya narrates through the chain of narration on the authority of Abu Basir from Abu ‘Abdillah (as) about the Divine verse, Until they see what they were promised of, either the punishment or the Hour, then they shall know who is of more evil plight and weaker forces. [Mariyam: 76] The Imam said, “’When they see what they have been promised of’ refers to the rise of the Qa’im, and that is ‘the Hour.’ They will know at that day what will befall them on the hands of His Qa’im. This is denoted by the Divine word, ‘who is of more evil plight’—that is, in the eyes of the Qa’im—‘and weaker in forces.’”
I recited the verse, “Whosoever desires the harvest of the hereafter.” [Al-Shura-: 20] The Imam said, “It is the cognition of the Prince of the Believers and the Imams, peace be with them.” I recited, “We shall increase their harvest.” He said, “We will increase it from the harvest. He will enjoy his full share in their governance.” I recited, “And whoever desires the harvest of this world, We will give him from it and he will not have any share in the hereafter.” He said, “He will not have any share with the Qa’im in the governance of the Truth.”
I have decided to only shared 13 out of the approximately 65 narrations from the chapter. InshAllah next week I will be doing a post on the chapter titled: His Names, Titles, Patronym and Their Reasons.
Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.