The Mahdi: Hadith that Constitute Certain Knowledge pt 3

Figure 1A: The Awaited Mahdi and Saviour of the Shi`ah is nothing to do with the one discussed by Muslim Orthodoxy.

Imam `Abdul Qadir Ibn Badran Ad-Dumi, may Allah be pleased him, goes on to say:

At this place I am speaking on the Ahadith that As-Saffarini put as evidence for his statement. I will say for the record that what As-Saffarini utilised is collected by Abu Nu`aim Al-Isbahani in an attributable narration in which the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “If there remained of the earthly life but one day, Allah would have lengthened that day so that a man from the people of my Household could rule and many tribulations would come about at his hands. Islam will be uppermost and Allah will not break His Promise and He is quick to take account.”

He also mentioned that Abu `Amr Al-Muqri narrated from the hadith mentioned by Abu Hurairah, Qais ibn Jabir from his father who narrated from his grandfather in an attributable hadith in which the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him declared, “The Mahdi shall come from my Household. He will fill the earth with justice just as at that time it shall be filled with tyranny.” This is collected by Al-Hafiz Abu Nu`aim in his book Fawa’id, At-Tabarani in his Mu`jam.

There is also the hadith of Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri with the same account as collected by Abu Nu`aim as well as Ibn `Abbas narrating the same wording in a hadith collected by Ibn Al-Jawzi in his work Tarikh. There is also the hadith of `Ali ibn Abi Talib as collected by Imams Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’ii in their Sunan collections.

Imam As-Saffarini says the following: “It is narrated from whoever mentioned it from the ranks of the Companions and others who did not mention them with chains of transmission in different pathways and from the Followers and those who came after them that leads to it being considered certain knowledge. Belief in the Mahdi appearing is compulsory just as is acknowledged by the people of knowledge and collected in the creeds of Muslim Orthodoxy and even the Shi`ah believe it.”

I would say that this is the full extent of what the man has mentioned and his words belong to two categories of discussion:

-1-

The Statement that these Ahadith constitute certain knowledge

 

We have to start off by saying the authenticity of the Ahadith which are used are safe from doubt but do not constitute certain knowledge. I am surprised at the man that would serve hadith his whole lift and then reach this level and with that not clarify that knowledge of the narration is separated into mass transmitted and lone narrator reports.

“The mass transmitted is that which leads to certain knowledge and it is compulsory to confirm it even if there is no other text for it. There is nothing in the texts that are none intrinsically and factually in and of themselves except the mass transmitted. Whatever is besides mass transmitted is known to be true and correct by another evidence which establishes it through the same channel. This was explicitly mentioned by the scholars of Usul in their books.”

This was the expression used by Abu Muhammad Muwaffaq ud-Din Al-Maqdisi – author of Al-Mughni and Al-Muqni` – in his work Ar-Rawdah. Here he continues on:

“No one disputes this principle of mass transmission except the As-Summaniyyah and Brahmins. They say that there is no certain way to know knowledge and the affairs like it except by way of the five senses, namely hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch.

The As-Summaniyyah are a cult from the idol worshippers that speak of reincarnation and deny the attainment of certain knowledge of events as mentioned by Al-Jawhari. Al-Jawhari said in the Qamus, ‘As-Summaniyyah are a group in India that are materialists. The Brahmins as a group do not considerate possible that Allah would commission and send forth messengers.’ ”

You know from what has preceded that the narrations we discussed before are not mass transmitted, either in wording or meaning. The statement of Muwaffaq ud-Din means that the lone narrator cannot be affirmed as true in and of itself except when there are comparable texts independent of it that strengthen it, emphasis its correctness.

So even if we are safe in confirming the appearance of the Mahdi as confirmed in the books of creed mentioned by Muslim Orthodoxy and the Shi`ah, that is not an independent text on the truthfulness of the narration itself in the way of the mass transmitted.

How many a thing has become widely known by the laity that although is popularly known is not true? Can it not be seen that the crucifixion of the Messiah is popularly known among the laity of Christians although there is no narration of his crucifixion that reaches the level of certainty?

So then we return to the statement of Imam As-Saffarini: “Belief in the Mahdi appearing is compulsory just as is acknowledged by the people of knowledge and collected in the creeds of Muslim Orthodoxy…” this is a statement without any evidence for it. Indeed the matter is the opposite as we have gone to many of the books of the creed written by Muslim Orthodoxy from the ancients, the middle days and the latter day and we did not find any one of them make mention that it is compulsory to believe in the appearance of the Mahdi.

And those who mentioned in from among their ranks only discussed it when making reference to the Signs of the End of Time. There are the books of the Hanbali scholars in totality as well as the great bulk of the books of the Ash`aris and Maturidis.

Examples of the Ash`ari books include Al-Mawaqif and its commentary, Al-Maqasid and its commentary along with the Sharh us-Saniyyah and the Sharh ul-Jawharah and others besides which are well known and I hold in my presence. No one mentioned the Mahdi in the fashion of As-Saffarini except in the book written by Mankuris Al-Hanafi (d. 652 AH). And although he did mention it, it was not explicitly but under the Signs and it was not referred to as “The Awaited Mahdi.”

His statement, “…and even the Shi`ah affirm it…” this creed is to be written by and for a Muslim and not have any thing flimsy, which is what comes from the Shi`ah. Most of the Ahadith narrated from them regarding the Mahdi are flimsy and baseless and should not be counted on at all. That is not for our companion to count on from their side. So let his heart be free of that which could come about in this claim.

If the matter was as he said, he would not have also given warning to the reader of his text using the very senior of our Imams in clarifying the creed of the early generations, such as Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la, Abul Wafa’ `Ali ibn `Aqil, Ibn Mashitah of Baghdad, Ibn Battah, Muwaffaq ud-Din, Al-Hafiz Ibn Surur, Imam Taqi ud-Din Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn ul-Qayyim and others in Al-Buhur uz-Zakhirah fil-`Ilm.

Furthermore, the Imam, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, was silent of this matter and it was neither mentioned by Al-Ash`ari or Al-Maturidi. It would have been better if our companion he had not resorted to what Muslim Orthodoxy has never resorted to in speech.

We can also say at this point that what was narrated by the Shaikh Mar`ii ibn Yusuf Al-Karmi in his book, Fara’id ul-Fikar from Abul Hasan Muhammad ibn Al-Hussain that he said, “There are mass transmitted Ahadith and they have numerous narrators on the topic of the Mahdi…” does not have a root or principle for it.

So understand that the mass transmitted Ahadith are few indeed and few are present in their narrations on the topic. Then we put forward the statement of Ibn As-Salah, “The mass transmitted is strengthened in its presence by the hadith that affirms, ‘Whoever should lie against me intentionally, then let him take his place in the Fire.’ ”

Ibn Hibban rebuked the presence of a complete hadith that met the conditions of mass transmission. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani mentioned that from the mass transmitted are the Intercession, the Hawd, Seeing Allah, Exalted be He, in the Hereafter and no one from the hadith scholars found an explicit set of Ahadith on the Mahdi that met the requirements of mass transmission. Likewise, there is the statement that there are numerous narrators is a claim without established proof just as that can be known from what was mentioned beforehand.

Source: Al-`Uqud ul-Yaqutiyyah fi Jid il-As’ilat il-Kuwaitiyyah, pp. 63-78

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