Bukhari and Muslim and traditions about Imam Mahdi (as)

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The fourth point is that just because the compilers of Sahih-e-Bukhari and Sahih-e-Muslim have not reported any tradition relating to Mahadaviyat, can by no means be an indication of the weakness and unreliability of such traditions. The two compilers never intended to record all the possible traditions, and make their compilation a most comprehensive book (after the Quran) wherein all beliefs about Islam would be stated. In fact Dar Qutni states, ‘There are many traditions that the compilers of Sahih-e-Bukhari and Sahih-e-Muslim have overlooked, although these traditions meet the criterion of reliability like the other traditions recorded in these two books.’

Imam Muslim (compiler of Sahih-e-Muslim) has claimed that he has only recorded such traditions in his compilation that are correct. Abu Dawood too has made similar claim. Abu Bakr b. Daasir narrates that he heard Abu Dawood declare,
‘I have reported 4,800 traditions that are either correct or are near correctness.’ Abu Sabbah reports from Abu Dawood, ‘I have recorded traditions in my Sunan that are either reliable or almost reliable.’ Abu Dawod declares further, ‘If a tradition is weak, then I did make a mention of it in my book. Hence, when I am silent about a tradition, then it can be regarded as authentic.’

Khataabi claims,
‘Sunan of Abu Dawood is such a valuable book of tradition that no other book of tradition has yet been compiled like it.’ Thus, this book is widely acknowledged by the scholars and the jurists alike of Egypt, Iraq and other Muslim nations.

(Preface of Sunan-e-Abi Dawood)

Therefore, traditions reported in Sahih-e-Muslim and Sahih-e-Bukhari are similar to the traditions recorded in other compilations such as Sunan-e-Abi Dawood from the aspect that if a thorough research and an impartial scrutiny is made on their narrators, the correctness or otherwise of these traditions will be clearly established.

The fifth point is that the reliability of Sahih-e-Muslim and Sahih-e-Bukhari is beyond dispute. These books are not totally devoid of traditions pertaining to Mahadaviyat although the word “Mahdi” is not available in them. For instance, there is a tradition on the authority Abu Huraira, who narrates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.):

‘How shall your condition be when Isa b. Maryam descends amongst you while your Imam is in your midst!’

{Saheeh-e-Muslim, vol. 2, The Chapter on the descent of Eesa (a.s); Saheeh-e-Bukhari, vol. 4, The Book on the Initiation of Creation and the Chapter on the descent of Eesa (a.s.)}

In fact there are several other traditions apart from the one quoted above pertaining to Imam Mahdi (a.s.) present in these two books. Baihaqi writes,
‘Muslim and Bukhari never intended to report all the possible traditions in their works. This can be ascertained easily from the fact that there are several traditions reported by Muslim in his Sahih, that Bukhari has overlooked. And conversely, Bukhari has recorded traditions in his Sahih that Muslim has refrained from reporting.’

(Sahih-e-Muslim, Vol. 1, page 24)

IBNE KHALDUN’S SECOND OBJECTION

On concluding the discussion on ‘The Promised Mahdi’, Ibne Khaldun writes, ‘We have already established that one who wishes to rise in revolt must gather a large number of people around him. He must muster support among the people so that he can dominate and assert his authority. Only then can he attain the position he desires and realise his objective. Moreover, his supporters and relatives must rally round him and support his cause with complete dedication. They should endeavour to protect him with intense devotion and single-minded purpose. Only then can the revolutionary hope to succeed, else his mission will be a complete disaster. But this (dedicated support of relatives) is something that is found lacking in ‘The Promised Mahdi’. For, leave alone the Fatemide dynasty, even the Quraish today have spread in different corners of the world and there is no sign of any dedicated support for Mahdi-e-Mau’ood. In fact, a very small group from among the children of Hasan (a.s.) and Hussain (a.s.) has survived till today, and are found mainly in Hejaz (area encompassing Mecca and Medina) and Yamba. But they do not have any dominion and authority over the people so as to wage a revolution, and besides they are desert folks. Moreover, they are scattered and lack unity. But if we acknowledge the belief in Mahdi as correct, then we have to admit that: Mahdi shall rise from their midst (i.e. from amidst the children of Hasan and Hussain). They shall unite and rally around Mahdi. They shall extend their wholehearted support to him in his struggle, will strive to help him realise his objective and shall assist him to establish an equitable government. This is the only way we can justify the belief in Mahdi-e-Mau’ood, else it is not possible to conceive of such a person.’
(Ibne Khaldun’s al-Muqaddamah, p 327)

REPLY TO IBNE KHALDUN’S OBJECTION

This fact can not be denied that, if one wishes to wage a revolution and establish a government, then he will require the complete backing and dedicated support of a loyal group of supporters. This rationale applies even to Mahdi’s revolution. But to say that Mahdi’s revolution can be supported only by the Alawi Sayyeds or the Quraish is incorrect. This is because if a person is supported and backed only by his relatives and tribe members, then this backing and support will be based purely on the basis of blood relations and regard for kinship, and nothing beyond that, as was the case with the government of Tawaaef al-Mulooki. This is only to be expected for it is an accepted principle that when a government is established within certain limits and under a particular name, then its support too will be limited. These limits could be of kinship, friendship, patriotism, etc. But if a revolution is based on lofty ideals and principles, then it will attract widespread support from the people, in addition to relatives and tribe members. Mahdi’s universal revolution is based on profound ideals and principles and under a definite plan. It is not based on narrow principles of kinship and blood relations. He will wage a revolution against widespread materialism that, has replaced the fear of Allah in our hearts, and made us neglectful of religious commands and edicts. Mahdi will revive religion and solve the problems confronting humanity. He will resolve discord and disputes among the people. He will establish the belief in the Tauheed (Unity) of Allah, and negate all forms of apostasy (Shirk). He will ensure that Allah is worshipped as He should be, and will refute all other forms of worship. He will re-establish the true Islamic laws and issue religious edicts, which have been forgotten and disregarded by the people. He will establish justice and equity on earth, and vanquish the tyrants and oppressors.

MAHDI’S WORLDWIDE REVOLUTION

As explained above, Mahdi’s revolution will be broad based, and shall encompass the entire world. Under these conditions, he shall not only require the complete support of his relatives and tribe members from in and around Hejaz, but shall in fact, require widespread backing of people from all corners of the world. The Promised One’s revolution can succeed only if there are devoted individuals all across the world who can comprehend Allah’s plan behind the revolution, and are willing to extend their total and committed support, and make unlimited sacrifices to help their leader realise this plan. They will need to prepare the necessary platform on which such a widespread revolution can succeed. They have been anticipating such a revolution for a very long time, and are only waiting for the right person to lead this revolution. When they find him, and recognise him to be the promised one of Allah, then they shall support him with their lives to ensure the success of this revolution.

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