11 December, 2018 | 2 Rabi al-Thani, 1440 H

"Silence saves you from regret"

- Imam Ali (as)

Learning
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Core Curriculum

Section 1 - God, Religion and Islam: An Introduction
  • Topic 1.1 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 1.2 - God, Allah and Religion

  • Topic 1.3 - Introduction to Islam

  • Topic 1.4 - What is “Religion” and What’s the Point of it Anyways?

  • Topic 1.5 - A Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet of Islam

Section 2 - Foundations of Islam - Theology
  • Topic 2.1 - Entering Islam: The Shahada

  • Topic 2.2 - The Usūl al-Dīn: The Fundamental Beliefs of Islam

  • Topic 2.3 - Tawhīd: The Unity and Oneness of God in Islam

  • Topic 2.4 - Adala: Divine Justice in Islam

  • Topic 2.5 - Nubuwwa: The Purpose of Prophethood in Islam

  • Topic 2.6 - Imāmah or divinely guided leadership in Islam after the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Topic 2.7 - Maʿād: The Day of Judgment in Islam

  • Topic 2.8 - The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

  • Topic 2.9 - The Islamic Concept of the Nafs: Battling the Human Ego

  • Topic 2.10 - Satan, Jinns and Angels: Their Influence in the World

  • Topic 2.11 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Section 3 - Foundations of Islam - Obligatory Acts
  • Topic 3.1 - Accepting Islam: Putting Faith into Action

  • Topic 3.2 - Jihād in Islamic Law and Spirituality

  • Topic 3.3 - Salāt: Obligatory Ritual Prayers in Islam

  • Topic 3.4 - Ritual Purity in Islamic Law: Understanding Tahāra and Najāsa

  • Topic 3.5 - The Five Categories of Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.6 - Tawalla and Tabarra, its Basics and Purpose

  • Topic 3.7 - The Purpose of Zakat and Khums in Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.8 - The Hajj Pilgrimage

  • Topic 3.9 - The Furūʿ al-Dīn: The Fundamental Practices of Islam

  • Topic 3.10 - Fasting in Islam, its Purpose, Dos and Don’ts

  • Topic 3.11 - Other Obligatory and Forbidden Acts in Islam

  • Topic 3.12 - Niyya: Religious Intention as the Foundation of Islamic Practice

  • Topic 3.13 - Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil in Islam

Section 4 - Prophethood in Islam
  • Topic 4.1 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Childhood (PART I of III)

  • Topic 4.2 - Bio: The Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet of God (PART II of III)

  • Topic 4.3 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Character (PART III of III)

  • Topic 4.4 - The Prophet Muhammad (s) as Messenger and Teacher

  • Topic 4.5 - The Prophet and his Relationships

  • Topic 4.6 - The Prophet’s Sunnah and Hadith

  • Topic 4.7 - Ghadīr and Arafah: The Two Last Sermons of the Prophet

  • Topic 4.8 - Jesus and Mary in Islam

Section 5 - The Qur'an and Hadith
  • Topic 5.1 - Islam and Other Religions

  • Topic 5.2 - What is the Qur’an? A Short Introduction to Islam’s Holy Book

  • Topic 5.3 - The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.4 - The Quran and Islamic law

  • Topic 5.5 - The Qur’an, Allah and Humankind

  • Topic 5.6 - Hadith and Sunnah, difference and variations

  • Topic 5.7 - The Reliability of Hadiths

  • Topic 5.8 - A Reflection on Verses of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.9 - Hadith al-Thaqalayn

  • Topic 5.10 - Imam Ali (as) and Nahj al-Balagha.

  • Topic 5.11 - Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Section 6 - Measuring Good and Bad in Islam
  • Topic 6.1 - The Effects of Our Actions in this World

  • Topic 6.2 - The Gray Areas of Islamic Law and Morality

  • Topic 6.3 - Heaven and Hell in Islam

  • Topic 6.4 - Life and Death in Islam

  • Topic 6.5 - Guidance According to Islam

  • Topic 6.6 - Fate and the Consequences of our Choices in Islam

  • Topic 6.7 - The Effect of Culture and Environment in Shaping our Religious Choices

  • Topic 6.8 - Major Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.9 - Why Allah Allows People to Sin

  • Topic 6.10 - Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.11 - The Three Kinds of Rights in Islam

  • Topic 6.12 - Sinning Against Others and their Delayed Punishment

  • Topic 6.13 - Kufr in Islam

  • Topic 6.14 - Trivializing the Harām

  • Topic 6.15 - Benefits of Islamic Law in this World

  • Topic 6.16 - Good and Bad Deeds: The Spiritual Consequences of our Choices

Section 7 - The Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)
  • Topic 7.1 - Islam and Knowledge: the Importance of Islamic Education

  • Topic 7.2 - The Ahl al-Kisa

  • Topic 7.3 - Imamah in the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.4 - Fatima al-Zahrah (as)

  • Topic 7.5 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam al-Hasan until Imam Muhammad al-Baqir)

  • Topic 7.6 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)

  • Topic 7.7 - A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

  • Topic 7.8 - Salawat and Atonement in Islam

  • Topic 7.9 - The Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet According to the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.10 - Clerical Hierarchies in Muslim Communities

  • Topic 7.11 - Mosques in Islam

  • Topic 7.12 - The Philosophy of Karbala and Majalis

  • Topic 7.13 - A Brief Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

  • Topic 7.14 - The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Section 8 - Islamic Relationships, Sects and Conflicts
  • Topic 8.1 - Misconceptions about Shi’ism

  • Topic 8.2 - Major Sects of Islam

  • Topic 8.3 - Islam and Religious Conflicts

  • Topic 8.4 - Islam and Rights

  • Topic 8.5 - Sunnism and Shi’ism, beginnings and historical developments.

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Special Topics

Section 9 - Independent Topics
  • Topic 9.1 - Muslim Converts – Welcome to Islam!

  • Topic 9.2 - Basic Dos and Don’ts of Being a Muslim

  • Topic 9.3 - Halal Food and Zabiha

  • Topic 9.4 - Family, Parents and Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.5 - Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.6 - Islam and Sex

  • Topic 9.7 - Modesty in Islam

  • Topic 9.8 - Women’s Menstruation in Islam

  • Topic 9.9 - Music, Alcohol, Drugs and Pork in Islam

  • Topic 9.10 - Islam and Science

  • Topic 9.11 - A Reading List of Islamic Knowledge

  • Topic 9.13 - Ritual Prayers and Supplications in Islam

  • Topic 9.14 - Death & Burial Rituals in Islam

  • Topic 9.15 - The Battle of Armageddon: An Islamic View

  • Topic 9.16 - The Muslim Calendar

  • Topic 9.17 - Muslims and non-Muslims in the Shariah

  • Topic 9.18 - A Timeline of Major Events in Islamic History

  • Topic 9.19 - Introducing the Qur’an: Why it is the way it is

  • Topic 9.20 - The School of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq

  • Topic 9.21 - Major Fields in Islamic Studies

  • Topic 9.22 - The Caliphate in Sunni and Shia Islam

  • Topic 9.24 - Islam, Racism and Anti-Semitism

Section 10 - Islam, Religion, and Modern Controversies
  • Topic 10.1 - Modern Fallacies about God: where Theists and Atheists Agree

  • Topic 10.2 - Tawhīd: The Muslim God according to the Prophet Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)

  • Topic 10.3 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Being (Wujūd)

  • Topic 10.4 - God’s Existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  • Topic 10.5 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Design

  • Topic 10.6 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 10.7 - Why did God Create Us? The Purpose of our Creation

  • Topic 10.8 - Why Humans Need Religion according to Islam

  • Topic 10.9 - Jahl and Spiritual Ignorance in Islam

  • Topic 10.11 - Do Non-Muslims Go to Hell?

A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

Abstract

A brief look into the life of the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, the reasons for his long occultation and explaining how a person can live for over a thousand years.

INTRODUCTION

Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.

Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel! Our current series is an introduction the 14 Infallibles of the Ahl al-Bayt (as). So far we have covered all of the Infallibles, including the first 11 Imams.

This lesson will be the final part of our series covering the 12th and final Imam of the Ahl al-Bayt (as), Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (aj).

BODY OF TEXT

Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi (aj) is the son of our 11th Imam, Imam Hasan al-Askari (as). Al-Mahdi means “the guided one.” He was born in the year 869 A.D. He is also known by other titles, such as Imam al-Zaman, or Sahib al-Asr, meaning the Imam of the Time, or the Master of the Time.

His mother was a slave named Narjis. He was born in a very tumultuous time. Towards the end of Imam Hasan al-Askari’s life, the authorities of the Caliphate were fed up with the existence of Imamate. Over the generations, they had tried through various means to eradicate the power and influence of the Imams over the Muslim community.

They had tried war, they tried murdering Imams in public, they tried poisoning them or imprisoning them. None of it had worked, the Imams had been present in adulthood and left their mark on the community.

They even tried to coax them into accepting the legitimacy of the Caliphate, either by appointing them as so-called successors to the throne or by trying to teach and brainwash them at a young age, but none of it worked.

Their only option by now was to prevent the birth of an Imam from happening in the first place. There were rumors and traditions that the Prophet had predicted the coming of al-Mahdi, that is, a guided savior, who would overthrow oppressors and establish justice on earth.

The political authorities suspected, and they did so rightfully, that the 12th Imam would be that Imam that would overturn oppression in the world and establish justice. For these reasons, they desperately attempted to rid themselves of the 12th Imam. They would, for example, send spies and soldiers to check and see if there were pregnant women in the household of Imam al-Askari (as).

By Allah’s power, the pregnancy of Narjis was concealed from site. Imam al-Mahdi (aj) was thus miraculously born in the year 869 A.D. Due to the man-hunt that was orchestrated to kill Imam al-Mahdi, he was hidden from the community until the death of his father at the age of 5. It was at Imam al-Askari’s (as) funeral that Imam al-Mahdi (aj) made his first public appearance and led the funeral prayer.

Immediately after the funeral, Imam al-Mahdi (aj) went into what was to be known as the lesser occultation (ghaybat al-sughra). While in occultation, he kept in contact with the community for almost 70 years through a series of emissaries who would deliver his teachings and letters to people. But it was in the year 941 A.D that the Imam withdrew completely from the community and went into the greater occultation (or major occultation) called ghaybat al-kubra.

The Ghaybat al-Kubra was an indication that Imam al-Mahdi (aj) was the Imam of the End of Times (Akhir al-Zaman). Although he would remain in the background and guide the Muslim community either by privately appointing representatives, or guiding them spiritually with his metaphysical light.

His final task would be to reappear in the end of times and overthrow all oppressive governments around the globe and establish an order of global justice.

In his mission to establish global justice, the Islamic tradition believes that Jesus (as) will be sent to earth to accompany Imam al-Mahdi (aj). Jesus’ main task will be to bring Jews and Christians under the fold and guidance of the living Imam.

The death of Imam al-Mahdi (aj) is believed to trigger the complete end of the world and the end of life on earth. After the death and destruction of the world, the world will be brought back and humans will be resurrected for their final Judgment by God.

There are a number of important questions that need to be resolved. The first question is concerning the longevity of Imam al-Mahdi (aj). If the Imam went into occultation in the early 10th century, this means that he has been alive for over a thousands years … how is this possible?

The answer to this is why not? Isn’t Allah the originator and ender of life? Why can’t God make someone live longer than the normal human lifespan? He does so with some trees that have lived for almost 10, 000 years, why not a human?

The second is why is the occultation so long? It is long because at the time of the Imam’s birth, it was not the ending point of the world yet. One of the Imam’s major roles will be just that, he is the Imam that will prepare it for its end.

The third question is what is the benefit of a hidden Imam for those who have not and will not witness his reappearance (zuhur) in the end of days. As we said before, the Imam still continues to appoint representatives who help guide the community on his behalf, particularly scholars. There are many instances of this having happened as reported by reliable scholars who have testified that they have met the Imam.

The second way we benefit from him is through his guiding light. Just like the Devil or Shaytan can misguide people from the metaphysical plain by whispering evil thoughts into people’s hearts, the Imam can do the opposite by guiding them and inspiring their hearts to do the good. The Imam, just like the angels, is a means through which Allah guides humankind, and particularly the followers of the Imam, on earth.

Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh

Ghaybat al-Sughra

The 12th Imam’s lesser or minor occultation

Ghaybat al-Kubra

The 12th Imam’s greater or major occultation

Akhir al-Zaman

End of Days

Zuhur

The 12th Imam’s reappearance at the End of Days

Q1

Why was Imam al-Mahdi hidden from public during his mother’s pregnancy and during his birth?

Because the political authorities wanted to kill him.

Q2

Why did the political authorities of the time want to kill Imam al-Mahdi?

Because they wanted to end the Imamah of the Ahl al-Bayt from its roots and rid themselves of an Imam before he grew into adulthood. They also feared, and rightfully so, that the 12th Imam would be a global revolutionary who would overthrow oppressors all around the world (including Muslim oppressors) and establish justice all around the world.

Q3

Why did the Imam go into the minor occultation?

Because he wanted to slowly prepare the Muslim community for the major occultation which would last until the End of Days.

Q4

How can a human being live for more than a thousand years?

Allah has power over all things, including life, aging and death. He can do whatever He pleases.

Q5

Will Imam al-Mahdi (aj) establish global justice and overthrow evil oppressors alone, or with help?

He will do so with help, including Jesus (as) as well as a legion of 313 generals.

Muslim
God
Allah
Ahl al-Bayt
14 Infallibles
Muslim Community
Shariah
Imam Hasan al-Askari
Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi
Imam al-Mahdi
Imam al-Zaman
Sahib al-Asr
ghaybat al-kubra
ghaybat al-sughra
greater occultation
minor occultation
zuhur
reappearance of the Imam