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Birthday of Imam Mahdi

Imam Mahdi's Birthday, Iran

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi is considered by the Twelver Shia to be the last of the Twelve Imams and the eschatological Mahdi who will appear at the end of time to establish peace, justice and redeem Islam.

Hassan al-Askari, the eleventh imam, died in 260 AH (873-874 AD), possibly poisoned by the Abbasids. Immediately after his death, his chief spokesman, Uthman ibn Said, stated that the eleventh Imam had a young son named Muhammad, who was hidden from the public for fear of persecution by the Abbasids. Uthman also claimed to represent Muhammad entering a state of obscuration. Other local representatives of al-Askari largely supported these claims, while the Shia community broke into several sects due to al-Askari's succession. However, all these sects are said to have disappeared after a few decades, with the exception of the Twelver, who accept al-Askari's son as the twelfth and last Imam in the occult.

Uthman was followed by three more agents, collectively known as the "Four Deputies", who were considered representatives of Muhammad al-Mahdi by the Twelver community. This period, later called the Lesser Occultism, ended about seventy years later with the death of the fourth agent, Abu al-Hasan al-Samarri (940-941). It is said that shortly before his death he received a letter from Muhammad al-Mahdi. The letter predicted the death of Abu al-Hasan in six days and announced the beginning of a total eclipse, later called the Great Eclipse, which continues to this day. A letter attributed to Muhammad al-Mahdi adds that the total eclipse will continue until God gives him permission to manifest himself again at a time when the earth is filled with tyranny.

The Twelver theory of occultism crystallized in the first half of the fourth (tenth) century on the basis of rational and textual arguments. This theory, for example, claims that the life of Muhammad al-Mahdi was miraculously prolonged, arguing that the earth cannot be deprived of the Imam as the supreme proof of the existence of God. In the absence of the Hidden Imam, the leadership vacuum in the Twelver community was gradually filled by jurists. It is generally accepted that the Hidden Imam is sometimes pious. Accounts of these encounters are numerous and widespread among the Twelvers.

Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Askari, the eschatological savior in Twelver Islam, is known by many titles, including al-Mahdi (going righteous), al-Qaim (one who will rebel), al-Montazar (expected), Sahib al-Zaman (lord of the age), al-Ghaib (hidden), al-Khoja/Khojat Allah (proof of God), Sahib al-Amr (master of affairs), Sahib al-Haqq (master of truth), Bakiyat Allah (remnant of God).

The title al-Qasim signifies rebellion against tyranny, although one hadith from the sixth Shia Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq, associates this title with the rise of al-Qa. me after his death. As a timeless hadith, this report is not regarded as reliable by experts, writes the Shia Majlesi (1699), especially as it contradicts the Twelver belief that the land cannot be deprived of an Imam at any time, as Allah's hujjat (proof of God) on earth. The Majlesi also suggests that this hadeeth may refer to death in a figurative sense, referring to the forgotten memory of al-Qaim after his long concealment.

Sachedina notes that the titles al-Qaim and Sahib al-Amr have more political emphasis than the eschatological title al-Mahdi. The title of al-Hujja, on the other hand, emphasizes the religious function of the savior. Indeed, every Shia imam is regarded as a hujjat Allah, the (supreme) proof of God, through which the inner meanings of the Quran become available after the death of the prophet. However, this title is more pronounced for the twelfth imam, perhaps due to a related hadith from the tenth imam, Ali al-Hadi.

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