Can you please comment on the validity (or invalidity) of the following hadith:
Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s) said: “from among us, after the Qa’em (Imam Mahdi), we shall have twelve Mahdi’s of Al Hussein descendents (a.s).” [Bihar Al Anwar (Oceans of Lights), chapter 53 page 148, and Ghaybat Al Tousi (Occultation by Al Tousi) page 4478]
Some Shias are using this hadith and other similar ones to claim that there is a man living today who is the son of Imam Mahdi (ajtf) and that he is one of the ’12 Mahdis’ mentioned in hadiths such as the one above. Please clarify if this can be true.
There a few Ahadith like that in our books of Hadith. Please consider the following points about them:
1. These Ahadith are weak in their Esnad (Chain of transmitters), there are unknown narrators among them, and in some of them part of the Sanad (chain of transmitters) is missing.
2. They are contrary to many other authentic and famous narrations that state: ‘The Imams from the pure Progeny of the Prophet (P) are twelve, and they are all Mahdi’ (i.e. in the literal sense: ‘guided’). For example see: Behar, vol. 36, p. 385.
3. Irrespective of the above points, these Ahadith are talking about the time after the appearance of Imam Mahdi (a.f), thus no one can relate them to any individual or group during our occultation time.
4. Sheikh al-Mofid; one of the most eminent early Shi’a scholars comments on such Ahadith as follows:
ولیس بعد دولة القائم (عج) لأحد دولة إلّا ما جاءت به الروایة من قیام ولده إن شاء الله ذلک ، ولم یرد به علی القطع والثبات ، واکثر الروایات انّه لن یمضی مهدی الأمة الّا قبل القیامة بأربعین
یوماً ، یکون فیها الفرج ( الهرج ) و علامات خروج الاموات وقیام السّاعة للحساب والجزاء
“And there will be no state for anyone after the state of the Qaaem (Imam Mahdi), although there are some narrations about his son ruling if God willed so, but there is no certain narration about it, instead most of the narrations say that the Mahdi of (the Islamic) Ummah will not pass away till 40 days prior to the Day of Judgment, whence there will be the relief (or great commotion) and the signs of the resurrection of the dead (from their graves) and the hour of judgment and recompense.” (Al-Irshad – 2:387)
Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei