Imam Mahdi in the Verse (24:55) 2

Concerning the virtuous society, the author adds that this can only become a reality in the time of the Mahdi: “It is clear in the verse that God promised to those who believe and work righteous deeds that He will soon grant them a society that will be virtuous in all its meanings, that will be purified from blasphemy, hypocrisy and debauchery, that will inherit the earth and in which the True religion masters the beliefs and deeds of its people, that will be in safety and will have no fear from enemies from inside or outside and that will be free from the oppressors, tyrants, and dictators.

Such a pure and perfect society has never existed in the world. Neither has such a society existed since the beginning of the Prophet's mission. But if a society such as this ever becomes a reality, it will inevitably be during the time of the Mahdi, because the traditions reported by numerous unbroken chains of transmitters (Akhbar Mutawatira) from the Prophet and the Imams of his family concerning the characteristics of the Mahdi and his government mention the creation of such a society. Of course the people the verse is addressing are virtuous people in general and not only the Mahdi in particular.”

Tabataba’i answers possible objections to this view as follows: ‘According to this point of view,  the verse addressed people who believed and worked righteous deeds at that time, while the Mahdi and anyone from his time did not yet exist’. He then goes on to say: “It is possible to address people in two different manners: On the one hand, we can address people while taking into consideration their individual qualities and characteristics, while on the other hand, we can speak to the same group without considering them as individuals but rather as a group with particular qualities.

In this second case, designated individuals are not involved but those in general who possess the qualities mentioned in the verse are addressed, even though they did not exist when the verse was revealed. In this verse, the second case is applied as well as in most of the verses which address either the believers (Mu’minin) or the unbelievers, or in the verses which criticise the People of the Book, particularly the Jews, not speaking to them individually but only to those among them who committed such and such a fault.”

The author adds, “The reality is that, if we really want to give a true meaning to the verse, it can only be in conformity with a society founded through the reappearance of the Mahdi.” But, says the author, “if we interpret the verse negligently, then:

- It is possible to say that the inheritance of those who believe and act virtuously is the inheritance of the whole community. In denying this view, we can answer that it is overgeneralizing. In fact, it is like saying that Shams (Sun) and Qamar (Moon) are the Shamsayn (two Suns), or the Qamarayn (two Moons), and so on.

- We can also interpret the supreme reign of their religion, the one they love, as the fact that God will make them renowned throughout the world as the Islamic Community (Ummah), and will consider Islam as their exclusive religion, and this, even if they divide into seventy-three different schisms, and each one of these branches considers the others heretics and unbelievers or find it permissible to kill the members of other branches and steal their goods.

- We can also interpret the fact that God will replace their fear by safety and that they will worship God and nothing else, as the granting by God of dignity and power to their religion, so that it will spread throughout the world, and people will then be able to practise their religion freely, even if among these people themselves, there is no security, and if the truth has abandoned the inhabitants of the earth.”

Tabataba’i then reports from the Majma’ al-Bayan, Shaykh Tabarsi’s work, concerning this verse, that the commentators have different interpretations related to the expression “al-ladhina amanu minkum” (“those among you who believe”) and that there are traditions from the Ahl al-Bayt which attribute it to the Mahdi from the family of the Prophet. He also reports from the Majma’ that ‘Ayyashi reported from Ali ibn al-Husayn (fourth Imam) that when he recited the verse, he said: “By God these are our Shi’ites, about whom God will fulfill his promises through a man from us, and he is the Mahdi of this Community, about whom the Prophet said: ‘Even if there remains only one day on Earth, God will prolong it until He will bring forth a pious man from my progeny whose name is the same as my name and he will fill the earth with justice and equity as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.’” A similar tradition is reported from Abi Ja’far (fifth Imam) and Abi ‘Abdillah (sixth Imam).

Tabataba’i says: “Traditions are reported from the Imams concerning the subject that we mentioned previously. Also the Majma’ al-Bayan, after the tradition reported above, mentions that: ‘In consequence, “al-ladhina aamanu minkum wa ‘amelu as-salehat” (“those among you who believe and work righteous deeds”) are the Prophet and his family.’” Tabatabai comments: “The reader has understood that the verse is general and the tradition does not argue more than that. In the work al-Durr al-Manthur, it is mentioned that ibn Abi Hatem and ibn Marduyeh reported from Bara’ about the interpretation of the verse that he said: ‘It was revealed about us, because we were living in fear and insecurity’.  It appears from this tradition that the meaning of ‘al-ladhina aamanu ...’ is the Companions of the Prophet, but the reader must have realised that the verse does not argue at all in favour of this meaning.”

C- Tafsir Makhzan al-‘Irfan by Banu Nusrat Amin

Banu Amin (1) reports different views concerning this verse from the work of Shaykh Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan:

1- The verse concerns the Companions of the Prophet.

2- According to ibn ‘Abbas and Mujahid, the verse is general and concerns the whole Community of the Prophet.

3- It is reported from the Ahl al-Bayt that this verse was revealed by the family of the Prophet about the Mahdi, while ‘Ayyashi reports from Ali ibn al-Husayn (fourth Imam) that the Imam recited the verse saying: ‘By God, those who are described in this verse are ourselves the Ahl al-Bayt and God will fulfill what is said in the verse through a man from us who is the Mahdi of this Community and who is the person about whom the Prophet said : ‘Even if there remains only one day on Earth, God will prolong it until He will bring forth a pious man from my progeny whose name is the same as my name and he will fill the earth with justice and equity as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.’”(2)

A similar tradition is reported from Abi Ja’far (fifth Imam) and Abi ‘Abdillah (sixth Imam). According to this tradition, we understand that “those among you who believe and work righteous deeds” refer to the Prophet and his family, and the verse gives them the good tidings that during the time of the Mahdi’s uprising, He will make them Governors on the earth and will enable them to live in security. God also says that they deserve the governorship as did Adam, Dawud and Sulayman.

Also all the Imams have a consensus on this subject and their consensus is considered as a proof (hujja) because the Prophet said: “I am leaving among you two weighty things: the Book of God and my Progeny. They will not be separated from each other until they meet me next to the fountain”. (3) Such conditions as those described in the verse have never occurred in reality for the believers, but they must occur one day because God never break His promises.

NOTES:

_________________________________________________________________

1. Makhzan al-‘Irfan : Vol. 9   p. 137.

2. See note 5.

3. Oyoun Akhbar ar-Reza, Vol. 2, P. 62.