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Duration of Imam Mahdi’s rule

Question

Please inform me on the correct amount of years that the Mahdi will rule for taking into consideration the following Hadiths:

1. “Indeed there will be a Mahdi who comes in my Ummah (ruling) living for five, or seven, or nine.” – Zaid was the one in doubt – He said: “We said: What is that?” He said: “Years.” He said: “A man will come to him and say: O Mahdi! ‘Give to me, give to me! So he will fill in his garment whatever he is able to carry.”’

(Jami’ut-Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2232)

 

2. “The Mahdi will be among my nation. If he lives for a short period, it will be seven, and if he lives for a long period, it will be nine, during which my nation will enjoy a time of ease such as it has never enjoyed. The land will bring forth its yield and will not hold back anything, and wealth at that time will be piled up. A man will stand up and say: ‘O Mahdi, give me!’ He will say: ‘Take.”’

(Sunan ibn Majah, Hadith: 4039)

 

3. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead, a prominent nose. He will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years.’

(Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 4285)

 

I wanted to know the correct amount of years that the Mahdi will rule for according to scholars since five, seven and nine years are all mentioned.

 

Answer

A notable amount of slightly differing narrations has indeed been recorded regarding the amount of time that the Mahdi will rule for. Muhaddithun of the past such as Imam Abu Dawud and ‘Allamahs: Nu’aym ibn Hammad, Abu ‘Amr Ad-Dani, Yusuf ibn Yahya Al-Maqdisi (rahimahumullah) and others have alluded to this in their respective works.

(Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadiths: 4284 – 4287, Al-Fitan, pgs. 268 – 270, Kitabus Sunan Al-Waridati Fil Fitan, pgs. 251 – 264,  Aqdu Durar fi Akhbaril Muntadhir)

 

Varied Preferences of the Muhaddithun

1. Amongst the Muhaddithun, there were those that refrained from specifying a specific number and left it general. Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah), for example, preferred to leave the number ranging from a minimum of five years to a maximum of nine years.

(An-Nihayah vol. 1 pg. 46)

 

2. Other ‘Ulama and Muhaddithun have offered explanations to reconcile between the narrations in such a manner that each of the numbers mentioned [in the more authentic narrations] would correlate with one another; each number thereby individually making sense. Included amongst them are ‘Allamah Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, ‘Allamah Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, and ‘Allamah Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (rahimahumullah) [each providing a different explanation]. Based on this, majority if not all of the numbers in the different authentic narrations would be correct depending on the angle examined.

(Al-Qawlul Mukhatasar fi Alamatil Mahdi Al-Muntazar pg. 28, Al-Kawkabud Durri vol. 4 pg. 429, Al-Badhlul Majhud vol. 12 pg. 331; Also see Tuhfatul Alma’i vol. 5 pg. 601)

 

3. There was also a group of ‘Ulama and Muhaddithun however, which seemingly gave preference to the opinion that the Mahdi will rule for a number of seven years.

Hafiz Abul Hasan Al-Aburri (rahimahullah) has stated: ‘Indeed, the extensive amount of narrations regarding the Mahdi’s emergence, that he is from the Ahlul Bayt [lineage of Rasulullah -sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam-], will rule for seven years, fill the earth with justice, that he will emerge along with ‘Isa (‘alayhis salam), assist him in killing the Dajjal by Babul Ludd in Palestine and that not only will he lead this nation [Ummah] in prayer but ‘Isa (‘alayhis salam) will also pray behind him, [the amount of narrations regarding this] has reached the level of tawatur through the profuse amount of narrators [that have transmitted the Hadith] from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

 

Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami (rahimahullah) has mentioned that narrations containing the number seven are the most famous and abundant of narrations to be reported.

( Al-Qawlul Mukhatasar fi Alamatil Mahdi Al-Muntazar pg. 27)

 

This opinion [of the Mahdi ruling for seven years] could also possibly be understood as the preferred opinion of ‘Allamahs: Qurtubi, Ibnu Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Sakhawi, Suyuti,  Mulla ‘Ali Qari, and Mubarakfuri (rahimahumullah).

(At-Tadhkirah fi Ahwalil Muwta wa Umuril Akhirah pg. 550, Al-Manarul Munif, pg. 142, Al-Qana’ah fi Ma Yahsunul Ihatah min Ashratis Sa’ah, pg. 79, Al-‘Arful Wardi fi Akhbaril Mahdi; Refer to Al-Hawi lil Fatawi vol. 2 pg. 85, Mirqat, Hadith: 5454 and 5457, and Tuhfatul Ahwadhi, Hadith: 2232)

 

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar