Hazrat Mahdi's (as) struggle and the difficulties he will face -1-
According to our Prophet (saas) in the hadiths, the End Times will be an age of moral degeneration, when hunger and poverty reach desperate levels and when people spend their lives in fear and tension because of anarchy, terror, conflict and disorder.
A time when killings, suicides, and slaughter rise to the worst possible level and when fraud, cheating, and injustice rule.
All unlawful things will be regarded as lawful in the End Times, and all kinds of perversion will be practiced openly across the world.
People will completely turn away from the moral values of the Qur’an, and the result will be a world ruled by lovelessness, ruthlessness, and selfishness.
Allah will be openly denied (surely He is beyond that) and perverted ideologies such as atheism, Darwinism, and materialism will spread and be portrayed as scientific in order to turn people away from belief in Allah.
The number of believers in the world will be very small and they will suffer terrible oppression, persecution and cruelty because of their beliefs.
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear at such a difficult time and wage his intellectual struggle in that climate.
Under these harsh conditions of the End Times, and like all the prophets sent in the past, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be subjected to false accusations, tested by various difficulties and troubles and be exposed to traps set by unbelievers.
What makes Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) struggle different from the times of the other prophets is that in the End Times, degeneration and godlessness will be more widespread than ever before and will pervade the whole world.
Nonetheless, however, by Allah’s leave the vile and disbelief-filled system of the unbelievers will be defeated.
No matter how widespread moral degeneration and how fierce the pressure on Hazrat Mahdi (as) may be, nothing, by Allah’s leave, can prevent Hazrat Mahdi (as) emerging victorious from his struggle for the truth.
By Allah’s leave, the two holy figures of the End Times, the Prophet Jesus (as) and Hazrat Mahdi (as) will totally eliminate this perverted mindset and be instrumental in the moral values of Islam coming to rule the world. By Allah’s leave, this great promise of our Lord’s will come true in the century in which we are living.
As Allah has revealed, in the words of the Qur’an, “ ... Allah will not give the disbelief any way against the believers,” (Surat an-Nisa, 141) the snares set for and oppression on believers will never succeed.
By Allah’s leave, when the Prophet Jesus (as) returns to earth and Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears, true believers will support these holy figures and, no matter how few their numbers, they will install the moral values of the Qur’an across the world.
THE PERIODS OF HAZRAT MAHDI’S (AS) STRUGGLE
At What Age Will Hazrat Mahdi (as) Commence His Struggle?
Our Prophet (saas) reveals in the hadiths that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will begin his work aimed at establishing the dominion of Islamic moral values at the age of 30 to 40:
He [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will be sent when he is between 30 and 40 years old… Hazrat Mahdi (as) is one of my children. He is around 40. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 41)
The Places Where Hazrat Mahdi (as) Will Wage His Struggle
Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) Istanbul Period
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “… a man of the people of Medina [A GREAT CITY] [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will come to Mecca. (Mari’ bin Yusuf Karami Hanbali, Fawaid Fawaid al-Fikr fil Mahdi al-Montazar)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said, 'Six things will happen to this community: … The sixth is THE CONQUEST OF MEDINA.'
I ASKED, 'O MESSENGER OF ALLAH, WHICH MEDINA?'
HE SAID, 'CONSTANTINOPLE [ISTANBUL].' (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 204; Ahmad Diya ad-Din al-Kamushkhanawi, Ramuz al-Ahadith 1/296)
As revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be born in ‘Medina,” the dictionary definition of which is “a large city.’ According to other information provided in the hadiths, the main center of Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) intellectual struggle will be Istanbul.
In his Commentary, Imam Al-Qurtubi says that Hazrat Mahdi (as) ‘will emerge from the western part of the countries of Islam.’ In his book Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, the great Sunni scholar Barzanji says that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will come and spiritually conquer Istanbul:
“WE ARE TOLD IN AL-Qurtubi'S COMMENTARY THAT HE WILL EMERGE FROM THE COUNTRIES OF THE MAGHREB, AND FROM THERE WILL COME AND CROSS THE SEA.”(, Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, 7th edition, p.162)
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be born in a great city, or medina, in the west of the countries of Islam, and when the time for his struggle arrives he will leave it and cross the sea to Istanbul. The hadiths even refer to a bridge by saying that a dry path across the sea will open up for Hazrat Mahdi (as); we are then told that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will enter Istanbul by that bridge:
“During the spiritual conquest of Constantinople he [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will plant a standard when he goes to make ablution for the morning prayer, and the water will divide in two and withdraw from him. He will cross to the other side through this path that opens and say, “o people, learn from this. The sea has parted its waters for us, just as it did for the tribe of Israel.” then they will utter the takbir [Allah is Great] again and again and with twelve takbirs the twelve towers of the city will collapse. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al- Muntadhar, p. 57
The hadiths also state that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear with the sacred relics of our Prophet (saas). And the place where these holy relics are preserved is, of course, Istanbul.
It is related from Abdullah ibn Shurafa that: Hazrat Mahdi (as) will have the banner of our Prophet (saas) with him. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 65)
He [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will appear with the camel hair banner of the Prophet (saas). That banner has four corners, is unstitched and black in color. There is a halo on it. It has not been unfurled since the death of the Messenger of Allah (saas), but it will be opened when Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears. (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 23)
As for signs, he [Hazrat Mahdi (as)] will have with him the shirt, the sword, and the banner of the Messenger of Allah (saas). That banner has never been unfurled since the death of the Prophet (saas). And, it will not be unfurled until the appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as). (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 164)
Bediüzzaman Said Nursi has also said, in the light of the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), that Hazrat Mahdi (as) ‘will emerge from the erstwhile center of the Caliphate, in other words from Istanbul’:
Now, the difference in the narrations about INDIVIDUALS LIKE HAZRAT MAHDI (AS), and their meaning, is this: those who expounded hadiths applied the text of the hadiths to their own interpretations and commentaries. For example, since the CENTER OF POWER at that time was Damascus or Medina, they imagined the events connected with Hazrat Mahdi (as) and Sufyan in places like Basra, Kufa, and Syria, which were in the region of those centers, and expounded them accordingly.” (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Words, p. 359)
Since in early times the centers of the Caliphate were in Iraq, Damascus, and Medina, on their own interpretations, the narrators showed these events as occurring close to the center of Islamic government, as though it was always going to remain thus, and said Aleppo and Damascus. They added their own details to the succinct predictions of the Hadith. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Rays / The Fifth Ray - Second Station - p.107)
As Bediüzzaman has said, the scholars who handed down the hadiths of the End Times described the events of the End Times in terms of the headquarters of the Caliphate in their own days. The headquarters of the Caliphate have changed many times from the days of our Prophet (saas) to the present; Damascus, Aleppo, Kufa, Mecca and last of all, Istanbul. Every scholar has therefore described these places, such as Iraq, Damascus, Kufa and Medina, the centers of the Caliphate in their own days, as where Hazrat Mahdi (as) will appear. That is the reason for the difference in the accounts regarding the place where Hazrat Mahdi (as) will come from.
However, the common point in the accounts regarding the place where the events of the End Times will take place is that it will be in the center of the Caliphate. Bediuzzaman’s statements indicate he reached the same conclusion.
The final headquarters of the Caliphate was ‘Istanbul.’ The Caliphate was officially abolished in the early days of the last century, and never moved anywhere else. The two banners of the Prophet (saas), his sword and shirt and other holy relics are all in Istanbul. In conclusion, Istanbul is the only city to maintain this spiritual title. Therefore, it is from here that people expect Hazrat Mahdi (as) to appear. (Allah knows best.)
It also appears from the hadiths handed down from our Prophet (saas) and statements made by Bediuzzaman Said Nursi that it is from Istanbul that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will intellectually defeat those godless and satanic philosophies such as Darwinism, materialism and atheism that strive against the moral values of the Qur’an.
"… Followers in far distant places will swear allegiance to Hazrat Mahdi (as). He will intellectually neutralize oppression and oppressors, and will stabilize countries, AND ALMIGHTY ALLAH WILL CAUSE HIM TO [SPIRITUALLY] CAPTURE ISTANBUL.” (Al-Uqayli, An-Najm al-saqib fi Bayan Anna al-Mahdi min Awladi Ali Ibn Abi Talib Ale't-Temam wa al-Qamal)
ALLAH WILL CAPTURE CONSTANTINOPLE [ISTANBUL] THROUGH HIS BELOVED FRIENDS [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)].... He will lift sickness and sorrow from them. (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 181)
The Period When the Oath of Allegiance Will Be Taken to Hazrat Mahdi (as) in Mecca
The period when Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be in Mecca is a significant one in terms of the coming about of the global dominion of Qur’anic moral values. It is in his time in Mecca that leading Muslims will express their love for and spiritual devotion to him, in the name of all Muslims.
At the same time, the Meccan period equates to the final years of Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) struggle. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi refers to this time as ‘the time of politics and governance.’ Allah has selected the city of Mecca as the place where believers will swear allegiance to Hazrat Mahdi (as) since it is a very holy site of great spiritual importance to Muslims. (Allah knows the truth.) Some of the hadiths on the subject read:
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “… a man of the people of Medina [A GREAT CITY] [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)] WILL COME TO MECCA. Some of the people of Mecca will come to him, bring him out and swear allegiance to him against his will BETWEEN THE CORNER AND THE MAQAM.” (Mari’ bin Yusuf Karami Hanbali, Fawaid Fawaid al-Fikr fil Mahdi al-Montazar)
"HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) WILL APPEAR IN MECCA in the evening with the standard, mantle, sword, signs, light and beautiful expression of our Prophet (saas). …” (Mari’ bin Yusuf Karami Hanbali, Fawaid Fawaid al-Fikr fil Mahdi al-Montazar)
“…… A group from the people of Mecca will bring him out (from where he is), against his wishes. THEY WILL SWEAR ALLEGIANCE TO HIM BETWEEN AL-HAJAR AL-ASWAD AND ABRAHAM'S MAQAM. (Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 5/94; Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 20)
Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) Jerusalem Period
After His Meccan period, Hazrat Mahdi (as) will live for a long time in Jerusalem. There he will rebuild the Temple of the Prophet Solomon (as) and treat Christians according to the moral values of the Gospels, Jews according to the Torah and Muslims according to the Qur’an.
“HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) WILL DESCEND TO BAYT AL-MAQDIS [JERUSALEM] AND THE NATION WILL LIVE FOR A LONG TIME WITH THOSE WHO COME FROM HIS AHL AL-BAYT... (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir al-zaman, p. 77)
WHEN HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) IS PERFORMING THE MORNING PRAYER WITH THE BELIEVERS AT THE BAYT AL-MAQDIS [JERUSALEM], he will introduce the Prophet Jesus (as) who has appeared, and the Prophet Jesus (as) will place his hands on his shoulder and say, “The call to the prayer has been issued for you, so you must lead it,” and finally Hazrat Mahdi (as) will lead the Prophet Jesus (as) and the believers in prayer. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 25)
Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) Roman Period
It is also revealed in the hadiths that at a later time Hazrat Mahdi (as) will spiritually conquer Rome; in other words, he will install the moral values of Islam there through his intellectual struggle:
“… Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his students will...capture Rome with tasbih [praise Allah] and takbir [declaration of the greatness of Allah] of Allah’s greatness…” (Al-Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-ashrat al-sa'ah, p. 204) (As-Suyuti, Al-Hawi lil-fatawi, II. 81)
How Long Will Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) Struggle Last?
It is also revealed in the hadiths of our Prophet (saas) that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will wage his struggle until he completely neutralizes all atheistic philosophies and imposes the moral values of Islam on the whole world:
He will continue his struggle until people return to the truth. (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, p. 23)
HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN HIS STRUGGLE, NOT THROUGH EXTRAORDINARY ATTRIBUTES THAT ELIMINATE THE USE OF FREE WILL, BUT BY MEANS OF HIS FAITH, REASON, CONSCIENCE AND MORAL VIRTUES
According to the hadiths of our Prophet (saas), Hazrat Mahdi (as) will wage a difficult intellectual struggle against atheistic philosophies. He will adopt the most rational paths during that struggle, he will get fast results and there will be great intelligence and wisdom in his actions. The methods employed by Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be highly effective and unlike any seen ever before.
But Hazrat Mahdi (as) will work no miracles in his struggle. Because Hazrat Mahdi (as) will wage a struggle ‘in the sphere of natural causes’, in other words ‘under natural conditions.’
Some people imagine that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will struggle in a mystical framework and think that he will perform extraordinary marvels. They believe that Hazrat Mahdi (as) is not a normal human being, but rather a most extraordinary entity. They think there will be a cloud and angels above his head that people will see when they look at him, and that the angels will introduce him to people. They also picture him, within that mystical framework, as someone who is invulnerable to tanks, rockets, guns and even nuclear weapons. The fact is, however, that all these beliefs regarding Hazrat Mahdi (as) are mistaken.
Allah has revealed in the Qur’an that many people expect the Messengers to be superhuman entities, but that they are in fact just normal human beings:
We never sent any Messengers before youWHO DID NOT EAT FOOD AND WALK IN THE MARKET-PLACE. But We have made some of you a trial for others to see if you will be steadfast. Your Lord sees everything. Those who do not expect to meet Us say, ‘Why have angels not been sent down to us? Why do we not see our Lord?’ They have become arrogant about themselves and are excessively insolent. (Surat al-Furqan, 20-21)
There will be no angel above Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) head plainly visible to everyone and calling out, “This is the Mahdi (as), follow him.’ Allah reveals in the Qur’an that people will only be able to see angels on the Day of Judgment:
(They say,) ‘Why do you not bring angels to us if you are telling the truth?’ The angels only descend with the truth and then they would be granted no reprieve. (Surat al-Hijr, 7-8)
In addition, in the hadiths our Prophet (saas) speaks of Hazrat Mahdi (as) being exposed to oppression, torture and persecution by the system of the dajjal, of his being imprisoned and living among difficulties and troubles and the threat of death, of his being chained by his hands and feet, of his being placed in solitary confinement and of disappearing from sight from time to time.
If Hazrat Mahdi (as) really were an extraordinary entity, invulnerable to guns and tanks and who called people to Islam owing to the angel above his head, then how could he be imprisoned, or tortured and persecuted, or face great difficulties? Who could ever threaten, imprison or torture someone who is invulnerable to any gun or other weapon? If Hazrat Mahdi (as) really were such a fantastical entity, there would never be times when he disappeared, and he would have no need to hide himself away from sight.
Even our Prophet (saas) received a sword blow and one of his holy teeth was thus broken. Many prophets have been martyred on Allah’s path and many believers and Companions have been martyred in war or lost hands, eyes, arms or other parts of their bodies. In the same way that no prophet has ever come with supernatural features, so Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be a guide with no such attributes and will not wage his struggle in any such extraordinary manner.
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will oppose the system of the dajjal in order to ensure that the moral values of Islam rule the world. He will wage a great struggle against materialism and Darwinism, will teach people to live by the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas) and will establish unity among all the Muslims of the world. And, by Allah’s leave, he will achieve all these without eliminating the need for free will, by an intellectual struggle, using reason and good conscience.
Indeed, that is where the superiority of Hazrat Mahdi (as), whom Allah says will be rewarded with paradise, actually lies. Hazrat Mahdi (as) will never be worn down by all the difficulties, pressure, traps and tests he faces. Although, with a few exceptions, the whole world will oppose him, he will persist in his struggle with his love of Allah and bright faith, and will achieve a total, global success.
HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) WILL WAGE HIS STRUGGLE IN THE MIDST OF THE ‘END TIMES,’ THE MOST TROUBLED AGE THERE HAS EVER BEEN
All Through History a Ruthless Campaign Has Been Waged against All Messengers and True Believers
All unbelievers and idolaters that have ever lived have opposed the true faith preached by Messengers, imagining that this would harm their own interests. This is a method employed by unbelievers for the same purpose over hundreds of years.
We are told in the Qur’an that all the Messengers who have preached the true faith have been the subject of such false accusations as “self-interest, madness, pride and sorcery.” Our Prophet (saas) also says in the hadiths that all the Messengers after him will be exposed to various troubles and slanders for preaching the true faith sent by Allah. Allah says that this state of affairs set out in the Qur’an is His Law; He tells us that all Muslims may be tested by similar difficulties, slanders and persecution.
You will be tested in your wealth and in yourselves and you will hear many abusive words from those given the Book before you and from those who are idolaters. But if you are steadfast and guard against evil, that is the most resolute course to take. (Surah Al’Imran, 186)
But again under the Law of Allah, every trap set for believers has been thwarted right from the outset and every false accusation has been created to be exposed as hollow. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that these initiatives taken by unbelievers will always end in favor of believers.
When those who are unbelievers were plotting against you to imprison you or kill you or expel you: they were plotting and Allah was plotting, but Allah is the Best of Plotters. (Surat al-Anfal, 30)
Allah will defend those who believe. Allah does not love any thankless traitor. (Surat al-Hajj, 38)
That is your reward. Allah always confounds the schemes of the disbelievers. (Surat al-Anfal, 18)
This state of affairs that has persisted throughout the course of history will of course also apply to Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his community. However, every step taken with the intention of harming Hazrat Mahdi (as) will actually turn out in his favor. All measures taken to oppose Hazrat Mahdi (as) will lead to him being better known across the world, to his virtues becoming even clearer and to him enjoying ever-greater success.
Because the Period Involved Is the End Times, the Negative Forces Opposed to Hazrat Mahdi (as) Will Wage the Most Ruthless Struggle in History against Him
Allah has created unbelievers along with believers in all periods of history, and unbelievers have always waged a ruthless struggle against believers. Under the Law of Allah, communities of believers have always been small in numbers while unbelievers, as required by the test, have always constituted the majority.
Again under the Law of Allah, the community of Hazrat Mahdi (as) in the End Times will number some 300 people, and with these few individuals he will strive to bring about the global dominion of the moral values of Islam.
The effectiveness of the campaign that irreligion will wage against Hazrat Mahdi (as) can better be seen when considering the fact that by the use of technology the impact of both visual and written media, and also the means of communication such as the internet and satellites have reached their most advanced points in the End Times in which we are living.
Mr. Adnan Oktar gave an example of the impact of the negative forces opposed to the system of the Mahdi in an interview:
The system of the Mahdi will encounter intense incidents that have never been seen in the world before. It will confront things that have never been seen in the history of the world. That is because, in the time of the prophets, they used to produce corruption in only one region, for instance in a city of perhaps 100,000 people, or 50,000 or in a population of 1 million; but now they produce corruption in a population of 7 billion. There are billions of deviant people against the system of the Mahdi. (From Mr. Adnan Oktar’s Live Interview on Gaziantep Olay TV on April 6, 2010)
It is in such a climate that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will begin work, and he will wage his struggle under those conditions. Unbelievers, hypocrites who leave Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) community, idolaters who emerge from among Muslims and attack Hazrat Mahdi (as) and materialists, atheists and Darwinists representing irreligion will all join forces against the system of the Mahdi and use all the technological and communications means at their disposal to work against him.
During the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as) there will therefore be a harsh and intense climate of struggle made incomparably greater than those in any society that ever existed before with the means possessed by the deniers. However, as Allah promised some 1400 years ago, Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his few followers will overcome all these unbelieving societies.
Because of the Intensity of the Irreligion in the End Times, Hazrat Mahdi (as) Will Initially Wage His Intellectual Struggle in Secret
Our Prophet (saas) has revealed in the hadiths that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will carry out his activities in secret in the early period when people have not yet recognized him. One of the main reasons for this is that the period that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will emerge into is one in which the effects of irreligion and moral degeneration will reach the most serious dimensions. Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not appear and will not be recognized by people at a most harsh time when unbelievers harbor an intense enmity toward believers and religious moral values, and work against them both openly and in secret. This is how the hadiths say that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will perform his early activities in secret:
AT NIGHTS HE [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)] WILL BE ENGAGED IN WORSHIP while he will be hidden during the day... (Al-Uqayli, An-Najmu’s-saqib fi Bayan Anna’l Mahdi min Awladi Ali b. Abu Talib Ale't-Tamam ve'l Qamal)
From Nahj al-Balagha: The Lord of believers (saas) said: "WHEN HE [HAZRAT MAHDI (AS)] HIDES AWAY FROM PEOPLE, NOT EVEN TRACKERS WILL BE ABLE TO SEE ANY TRACE OF HIM… (Sheikh al-Tusi, Kitab al-Ghayba, [Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 51], Ansariyan Publications, Collected by: Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Iran-Q’um, 2003, p. 186)
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will not appear in society during this time; he will meet with only a very few people:
“HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) WILL CERTAINLY RETIRE INTO OCCULTATION AND TURN AWAY (FROM THE PUBLIC) DURING THAT OCCULTATION...”(Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Numani, al-Ghaybah al-Numani, p. 216)
Hazrat Huseyin b. Ali (as) says:
"... HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) WILL DISAPPEAR FROM SIGHT FOR A TIME."(Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 51, p. 133; Al-Hurr al-Amili, Ithbat al-Hudat, Vol. 2, p. 333 and 399)
Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) remaining secret and unrecognized at such a time will, by Allah’s leave, be instrumental in him being protected from attacks by unbelievers and allowing him to work more easily.
BUT ALLAH WILL HIDE HIM (HAZRAT MAHDI (AS) FROM PEOPLE AGAINST THE OPPRESSION, CRUELTY AND WASTE OF PEOPLE’S EARTHLY DESIRES. (Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Numani, al-Ghaybah al-Numani, p. 162)
His Having Few People alongside Him and Being Opposed by the Majority Will Make Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) Struggle Even More Valuable
They consist of a group, including women, of 314 people. They will overcome all tyrants. Their hearts are like iron, and they are lions by day and devout believers by night. Neither those before nor after them can match them in self-sacrifice. (Al-Uqayli, An-Najmu's-saqib fi Bayan Anna'l Mahdi min Awladi Ali b. Abu Talib Ale't-Tamam wa al-Qamal)
It is narrated from Muhammad ibn Hanafi that: “Their numbers are those of the people of Badr. In the same way that those who went before could not surpass them, those who come after will not be able to catch them. Their numbers are the number of those who crossed the river with SAUL.” (Al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Al-Burhan fi Alamat al-Mahdi Akhir az-Zaman, p. 57)
It is a requirement of the Law of Allah revealed in the Qur’an that the number of Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) supporters and helpers should be very small. This has been the same in the communities of believers that have ever existed. It is revealed in the Qur’an that the number of true believers around the prophets has always been small. For example, only a very few of the young people in his community had faith in the Prophet Moses (as):
“No one believed in Moses except for a few of his people out of fear that Pharaoh, and the elders, would persecute them…(Surah Yunus, 83)
One verse reveals that Pharaoh said this of the small number of people who believed in the Prophet Moses (as):
“‘These people are a small group”(Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 54)
Another verse reveals how the number of people believing in the Prophet Noah (as) was also very small:
“...But those who believed with him were only few.”(Surah Hud, 40)
We are also told in the Qur’an that few people believed in the Prophet Lot (as). When a terrible disaster struck his people, Allah saved only those family members who believed in the Prophet Lot (as), and even excluding his own wife. We are told that only a few disciples, and nobody else, believed in the Prophet Jesus (as). It is also revealed in the Qur’an that the numbers of those known as the People of the Cave were also very small.
Throughout the course of history people have preferred to keep their distance from true believers exposed to false allegations and smear campaigns.
This is of course a grave error on the part of these people. But because of that error a great many people will also refuse to follow Hazrat Mahdi (as) out of a fear of the kind of pressure and difficulties they may face, and they will distance themselves from his community.
It is most surprising that the number of people who have faith in such a person who calls on others to believe in Allah and performs such great services for the religion will be few in number. Since Hazrat Mahdi (as) is someone whose devotion to Allah, purity and superior virtues are very striking and who will perform many service of great benefit to Muslims, one would expect a great many people to gather around such a virtuous person whose moral values are compared to those of our Prophet (saas), who heeds only the approval of Allah and who performs sincere work for people’s happiness in this world and the hereafter. One would expect every Muslim who sees such a person’s virtues and good works would want to be alongside and support him.
The fact that the number of people supporting Hazrat Mahdi (as) is very small, despite all this, is most thought provoking. It means that although the people in the society in which Hazrat Mahdi (as) lives and sees his superior virtues and the auspicious work he performs they will still keep their distance from him because of the pressure of irreligion and out of calculations of self-interest.
This state of affairs, which will arise as a result of the Law of Allah, will actually make Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) struggle even more valuable. Allah will be victorious over a great many communities through Hazrat Mahdi (as) and his small number of followers. The fact that Hazrat Mahdi (as) wages his struggle under very difficult conditions and with the help of very few people but still achieves the global dominion of Islam will bestow upon him superiority in both this world and in the hereafter.
…How many a small force has triumphed over a much greater one by Allah’s permission! Allah is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Baqara, 249)