It simply means hoping and aspiring for the materialization of the order
(referred to above) which the Divine Will has destined for the world. Now let us
turn back to the point that the expectation is of two kinds. One kind is
constructive and dynamic which is an act of virtue and the other is destructive
and paralyzing which is a sort of licentiousness.
We have already mentioned that these two kinds of expectations are the outcome
of two divergent notions of the great appearance of the promised Mahdi. These
two notions have sprung from the two approaches to the nature of historical
development. Now let us explain further the two kinds of expectations.
The concept which some people have of the rising of the Mahdi and the revolution
which he will bring about is only of an explosive nature. These people believe
that the appearance of the Mahdi depends solely upon the spread of injustice,
discrimination, frustration and disasters. They are of the opinion that,
immediately prior to the appearance of the Mahdi, the forces of evil will gain a
complete hold and not a single good man will be left in the world. They look
forward to an explosion, following which the divine forces will redeem the truth
but not the supporters of truth, for they would not be existing.
On this basis they would condemn every reform and regard every sin, every excess
and every injustice as valid and proper, because, according to their idea,
corruption and tyranny bring the explosion nearer and pave the way for the
eventual betterment of a permanent nature. They believe in the maxim that ends
justify the means and as such unlawful means become lawful if the objective is
desirable. That is how deadly sins besides giving pleasures are supposed to help
in bringing about the final sacred-revolution. The following lines most
appropriately apply to their case:
"Win the heart of your beloved even by deceit and treachery. Commit a sin if
you are unable to perform a good deed."
Such people naturally dislike the reformers and all those who enjoin good and
forbid evil, because they think that their action is delaying the appearance of
the promised Mahdi. They, even if they do not commit the sins themselves, at
least appreciate the reprehensible activities of the sinners who, according to
them, are preparing the ground for the appearance of the Mahdi.
This sort of notion may be called semi-dialectic, because it regards corruption
and distress as a prelude to the sacred explosion. The dialectic thinking also
opposes partial reforms and allows the creation of unrest, but it has some
merit, because it does so with a view to making the split wider and the fight
hotter, whereas the supporters of this outrageous notion simply allow corruption
and disorder and then do nothing except to sit back and hope for the desired
result to follow automatically. It need not be added that this sort of notion of
the appearance of the promised Mahdi is against the tenets of Islam and must be
regarded as a sort of licentiousness.
All the verses of the holy Qur'an, which form the basis of the concept of the
Mahdi and all the traditions cited in support thereof go against the above
notion. What is inferred from the holy Qur'an is that the appearance of the
Mahdi is a link in the series of fights between the righteous and the wicked and
the Mahdi is the symbol of the final and complete victory of the righteous and
the faithful. The holy Qur'an says:
﴾Allah has promised the righteously striving believers to appoint them
as His deputies on earth, as He had appointed those who lived before. He will
make the religion that He has chosen for them to stand supreme. He will replace
their fear with peace and security. They will worship their Lord without fear
and will not submit to anyone other than Him and will associate nothing with His
worship and obedience.﴿
(Surah al-Nur, 24:55)
The appearance of the Mahdi is Allah's favour for the oppressed and the weak and
is a means of their coming to power and gaining the promised Divine succession
in the whole world. The holy Qur'an says.
﴾We have decided to grant favour to the suppressed ones by appointing
them leaders and heirs of the earth.﴿
(Surah al-Qasas, 28:5)
The appearance of the Mahdi means the realization of the promise Allah made to
the righteous in His sacred Book.
﴾Verily We have written in the Psalms after the Torah had been
revealed: My righteous servants shall inherit the earth.﴿
(Surah al Anbia, 21:105)
The well-known saying of the holy Prophet that Allah will fill the earth with
justice after its having been filled with injustice and tyranny testifies to the
fact that at the time of the appearance of the Mahdi there will exist two
classes. One will consist of the oppressors and the other, howsoever small, of
the oppressed who are subjected to injustice and tyranny.
Shaykh Saduq narrates on the authority of Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq that
the Mahdi would appear only when the virtuous would become the most virtuous and
the wicked the most wicked. From this also it is evident that both the virtuous
and the wicked will be in existence.
Islamic traditions make mention of a group of people who will come forward and
join Imam Mahdi immediately on his appearance. From this again it is evident
that the virtuous will not be completely wiped out and though their number may
be insignificant, yet they will be best in the quality of faith and comparable
to the companions of Imam Husayn ibn Ali.
According to Islamic traditions the rising of the Mahdi will be preceded by
other risings of the virtuous. What has been mentioned as the Yamani's rising is
In some Islamic traditions a mention has been made of a government of the
righteous people which will continue to exist till the rising of the Mahdi (May
Allah hasten his solace) and, as we know, some Shi'ah ulama, who held good
opinions about some of their contemporary Shi'ah governments, considered it
probable that it would be those very governments which would last till the
rising of the Mahdi.
It is gathered from the various Qur'anic verses and traditions taken together
that rising of the promised Mahdi will be the last one of the chain of the
battles which have taken place between truth and falsehood since the creation of
The promised Mahdi will realize the ideal of all the prophets, saints and
fighters in the path of truth.
* Book: The Awaited
Saviour. By: Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari- Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir As-Sadr