There are some ahadith doing the rounds on social media, can you tell us if they are authentic or if they can be applied to the present situation?
1. From the Messenger of Allah (pbuhaf): Hijaz (Saudi Arabia) will be ruled by a man whose name is the name of an animal(Fahad/leopard), when you see him from a distance, you would think he has a lazy eye, and if you get close to him, you do not see anything (wrong) in his eyes. He will be succeeded by a brother of his, named Abdullah. Woe to our Shia (followers) from him! Woe to our Shia (followers) from him! Woe to our Shia (followers) from him! – he repeated it three times – Give me the good news of his death, and I shall give you the good news of the appearance of the hujjah (Imam Mahdi). Reference: Two Hundred and Fifty Signs, sign number 122
2. From Abi Baseer who heard from Imam Sadiq (pbuhaf): Whoever guarantees for me the death of Abdullah, I will guarantee for him the Qa’im (Imam Mahdi). When Abdullah dies, then people will not gather/agree on anyone after him, and this matter will not except for your companion (Imam Mahdi) inshallah, and the kingdom of years will be over, and it will become the kingdom of months and days. So I asked: Will that be prolonged? He said: No. (Biharul Anwar, Volume 52, page 21)
The following is a brief response on these narrations:
Before delving into the meaning of a Hadith we have to be confident that it is narrated from a Ma’soom through a reliable chains of narrators.
The narration mentioned in the book of 250 Signs: The author of this book claims that its primary source is Mosnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal; which is a Sunni source and hence not reliable for us. Most Wahhabis in their Fiqh follow this book and its author. By the way, I checked Mosnad Ahmad but I could not find it in it! Besides the sign of fabrication is clear in it.
The narration quoted from Abu Baseer: the primary source of the Hadith is al-Ghayba written by Sh. al-Tousi (r.a.) pl. 447. Here is the actual Arabic text of the Hadith with its chain of transmitters:
الْفَضْلُ عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ دُرُسْتَ عَنْ عَمَّارِ بْنِ مَرْوَانَ عَنْ أَبِي بَصِيرٍ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ (ع) يَقُولُ مَنْ يَضْمَنْ لِي مَوْتَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ أَضْمَنْ لَهُ الْقَائِمَ ثُمَّ قَالَ إِذَا مَاتَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ لَمْ يَجْتَمِعِ النَّاسُ بَعْدَهُ عَلَى أَحَدٍ وَ لَمْ يَتَنَاهَ هَذَا الْأَمْرُ دُونَ صَاحِبِكُمْ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ وَ يَذْهَبُ مُلْكُ سِنِينَ وَ يَصِيرُ مُلْكَ الشُّهُورِ وَ الْأَيَّامِ فَقُلْتُ يَطُولُ ذَلِكَ قَالَ كَلَّا. (الغيبۀ للشيخ الطوسى ص 447)
The following are my comments on it:
The chains of its transmitters are very problematic. Interestingly two of its narrators (i.e. Othman Ibn Eisa, and Dorost) are Waqefi; meaning they did not believe in any of the Imams after Imam Kadhem (as)! In fact, Othman Ibn Eisa was one of the leading figures of Waqefi sect. He used to be the Wakil of Imam Kadhem and after the martyrdom of the Imam, claimed all the funds (Khoms and the like) to himself and to justify that he denied the Imamat of Imam Redha!
Regardless of the narrators, who would be this “Abdullah”, is this his real name or the Imam is using that title to make it anonymous? None of these are clear. Let me give you an example: one of our very eminent scholars of the 8th century A.H (about 600 years ago) whose name is Sh. Ali Ibn Yousof al-Hilli (he is the older brother of al-Allamah al-Hilli) he quoted the above Hadith in his book ‘al-‘Adadul-Qawiyyah’ p.77 and then concludes: “Indeed most of the Signs (of Reappearance) have already appeared such as… the death of Abdullah being the last Abbasid king”!
The Hadith does not mention the territory of that (supposedly) king, so one may claim it’s meant for King Abdullah of Jordan! And why does it have to be a king in our time?!
Abdullah could be also just a nickname, as it means ‘slave of Allah’. In Arabic its quite common to use this expression when they don’t want to mention an actual name.
As Shi’a we believe in the concept of al-Bada’ which means it is always possible that the Almighty Allah postpones an event or brings it forward, even if it was prophesized otherwise.
As the followers of Ahlul-Bayt (a.s) we are bound to believe in the coming of our Saviour al-Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance) and we hope it happens in our time, and we believe that it is near. However, we are forbidden to specify any date for it. Also, instead of delving into dubious narrations we are instructed by our holy Imams (a.s) to prepare ourselves- in all aspects- for his global government and to endeavor to be among his supporters by supporting his cause. Imam Sadiq (a.s) said to Zorarah: “Make sure you know the Imam of your time, for surely if you know the Imam of your time, it does not harm you whether this matter (the reappearance of al-Mahdi) happens in your time or not (you will be counted among his companions).” (al-Kaafi vol1. P.371)
Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei