All the sects of Islam in general, and in particular, the Shiah are steadfast in their belief, that prior to the advent of the Day of Judgement (Qiyamat), injustice and inequality will be rife in the earth. In such a condition, Allah, through His Proof (Hujjat) will fill the earth with justice and equality, as it will be filled with injustice and oppression.
Execution of this momentous mission of altering the administration of the world requires the presence of an equally great personality. We all are aware that the great person being referred to here, is none other than Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). To complete his divine mission successfully, Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will naturally require supporters and helpers.
Inshallah, with the help of Allah and the grace of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), in this brief treatise, we shall delve into the characteristics of those personalities who will form the group of helpers of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Using the Holy Quran and traditions of our Holy Imams (a.s.), we shall try to find about more about those who will assist him (a.s.) in cleansing this earth from the stain of injustice and inequality and replacing it with justice and equality.
We shall divide our discussion into two sections;
1.The companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the light of verses of Holy Quran.
2.The companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the light of traditions.
The companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the light of Quranic verses
According to traditions of the infallible Imams (a.s.), numerous verses from the Holy Quran contain references to the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) (may our lives be sacrificed for him). The commentaries and references under these verses draw our attention towards the characteristics and traits of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
…wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together;…
(Surah Baqarah, verse 148)
With reference to the above verse, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says that this verse points to the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
(Ghaybat-e-Nomani, page 313)
Imam Baqir (a.s.) says that in reality this verse refers to those 313 companions of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) who will in a single moment gather around him (a.s.) (like moths gather around the glow of fire), between Rukn and Maqaam and pay allegiance to him (a.s.).
And if We hold back from them the punishment until a stated period of time, they will certainly say: What prevents it?…
(Surah Hud, verse 8)
According to Imam Ali (a.s.), Ummat Madoodah (Maeaanah Ummat) refers to the 313 companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
(Tafseer Qummi, volume 1, page 323)
…therefore if these disbelieve in it We have already entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it.
(Surah Anaam, verse 89)
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says that this verse is a reference to the special companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
(Ghaybat Nomani, page 316)
…then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers,…
(Surah Maedah, verse 54)
Imam Sadiq (a.s.), after reciting this verse, recited its preceding verse, and said this verse too refers to the companions of the previous Divine proofs.
(Tafseer-e-Ayyaashi, volume 1, page 326)
And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.
(Surah Ambiya, verse 105)
In an explanation to the above verse, Imam Baqir (a.s.) remarks that it refers to the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the last days.
(Tafseer-e-Majmaul Bayan, volume 7, page 66)
Those who, should We establish them in the land, will keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and enjoin good and forbid evil; and Allah?s is the end of affairs.
(Surah Hajj, verse 41)
In an exegesis to the above verse, Imam Baqir (a.s.) says that in reality, this verse has been revealed with reference to the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Allah will place the East and the West at their disposal, and through them He will establish His religion on this earth. There will remain no sign of injustice and oppression on this earth.
(Yanaabi ul Mawaddah, page 425)
Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth as He made rulers those before them,…
(Surah Noor, verse 55)
Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s.), while swearing by Allah says that these are our lovers and our Shiahs. These are those who will be made the successors of this earth by Allah through the Mahdi (a.s.), who will be from amongst us.
(Yanaabi ul Mawaddah, page 426)
Readers should note that there is a promise made by Allah in the above verse and Allah never breaks His promise. If Allah promises that the rightful inheritors of this earth will be the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), then taking a cue from the tradition we should wait for this day with restlessness. Allahs promise refers to that Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), who, after his reappearance will fill the earth with justice and equality, just as it will be filled (at that time) with injustice and oppression. At this juncture, we raise our hands and pray to Allah, that by the waseelah of Janabe Zahra (sa), Allah grants us the taufeeq (opportunity) of waiting for Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the true sense of the word – that we may strive to prepare the earth for his reappearance. And that after his reappearance, our names be included in the celebrated list of companions who will help Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in his mission.
The companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the light of traditions
Lets us see what are the characteristics and special attributes of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the light of traditions.
(a) The number of companions
Aban Ibn Tuglab narrates that, ?During my visit to Makkah, I presented myself in the company of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in Masjidul Haram, and was honored by the opportunity to kiss his hand. He (a.s.) said, ?O Aban, very soon, Allah will fill this Masjid with 313 persons.
(Ghaybat-e-Nomani, page 313).
In another tradition, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says, ?Imam Qaem (a.s.) will not leave the city of Makkah till such time, that he completes the size of his group.Abu Baseer, a famous companion of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) once asked the Holy Imam (a.s.) about the size of Imam Mahdis (a.s.) group, to which Imam (a.s.) replied, Ten thousand.
Apparently, the above traditions may appear in conflict with each other. But there is no contradiction. Explanations, which appear under these traditions, inform us that Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), will have 313 ?special companions?. Besides these, he (a.s.) will also enjoy the help and support of other people who will be his companions.
(b) The characteristics of Imam Mahdi?s (a.s.) companions
While narrating the features of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), Imam Sadiq (a.s.) narrates that,They will be such men, that their hearts will be like pieces of iron.
There will exist not a shred of doubt in their minds, nor will they ever harbour any doubts. To uphold the rights of Allah, they will be unyielding (like hard stone). They will constantly circumambulate the presence of the Holy Imam as moth circumambulate the fire (as they are attracted to the glow of the fire). They will submit themselves in the service of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). They will remain awake in the nights, and worship of Allah Through out. Their voices, as they worship Allah, will be similar to the humming sound of the honeybees. They will remain alert during the nights and prepare for jehad during the days. They will always be attentive towards the service and obedience of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
(Behaar ul Anwaar, volume 52, page 300)
(c) The strength of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)
He said: Ah! that I had power to suppress you, rather I shall have recourse to a strong support.
(Surah Hud, verse 80)
While explaining the above verse of the Holy Quran, Imam Sadiq (a.s.), quotes the words used by Hazrat Lut (a.s.) for his nation It is unfortunate that I do not possess the power and strength to control you. How excellent it would be, if I had the support of the people against you.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.), while continuing his narration says, The power and strength, which is desired by Hazrat Lut, is in fact the strength of Hazrat Qaem (a.s.) and the steadfastness of his companions.
Each companion of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will possess the power and the capacity equivalent to 40 people. Their hearts will be stronger than iron. If they pass by a mountain, then they will reduce it to dust.
(Kamaaluddin, volume, page 673)
The above traditions highlights the amazing power and strength of each companion of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) – such power that even a prophet like Hazrat Lut (a.s.) is desirous of it.
(d) The personalities of the companions of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.)
Imam Baqir (a.s.) in a prophecy says that,I see the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) controlling every thing in the East and the West. Every entity of this world will be involved in their obedience. Even the animals and the birds will be content in their obedience. The segments of the earth will take pride of pride themselves over each other saying that,Today, a companion of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has walked upon me.
(Behaar ul Anwaar, volume 52, page 327).
All the traditions enumerated above draw our attention to a special detail that will be found in every companion of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). A thought provoking point is that whatever has been stated above, if we pay attention to it, will lead us to the conclusion that these points are not new at all! In fact these are exactly the Islamic way of life which has been taught to us by Quran, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imams (a.s.).
Also, a detail which should not be overlooked is that the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will not have any special medicine, which on consumption will enable all these characteristics to develop automatically in their personalities!
A cursory glance at the history of Islam, from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to the 11th Imam, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) informs us that the companions of each of the infallible leaders (a.s.) were personalities of great eminence. We can quote examples of Salman Farsi, Miqdad, Misam-e-Tammar, Hisham ibn Hakam, Abu Baseer and many more. In all these personalities we find the same high details and morals that have been stated for the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
Each one of us is anxious for and desirous of being included amongst the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and we all pray to Allah to grant us the opportunity for the same.
In any case, it is necessary to support this desire with our actions. It is essential that we strive to develop the same characteristics and actions into our personalities that is worthy of the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Let us all pray to Allah that he kindles this desire in our heart for the companionship of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). And that He grants us taufeeq to strive to develop the same characteristics and high moral traits that is expected from one desirous of the companionship of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).