Say thou (O Muhammad) "This is my way, I do invite unto Allah on an insight clear as the seeing with one's eyes, I and the one who followeth me. Glory be to Allah! and I am not of the polytheists!" Al-Quran 12/108

Mubahisa-e-Alamgiri
The Debate on Mahdaviat between Hazrat Miyan Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH)
and Qadi Abu Said ordered by the Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir at Ahmadnagar

Compiled in Persian by:
Hazrat Miyan Abu aI-Qasim

Translated into English by:
Scott A. Kugle
Research Scholar
Graduate Programme in Religious Duke University, Durham. USA.

Published by:
MARKAZI ANJUMAN-E-MAHDAVIA
Chanchalguda, Hyderabad - 500 024. Phone 4568432

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of both worlds, the only goal for those who keep constantly aware of Allah for their whole lives. Praise and blessing be upon the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and upon his family and companions, each and every one.

You discriminating reader, who can judge between right and wrong Know that the events recorded here took place in the reign of the Emperor Aurangzeb, when he came from Delhi to stay in the region of Ahmadnagar. The religious scholars of this region, along with the judges, the deliverer of the Friday sermons, and other religious leaders who have harbored enmity against the religion of the Mahdi (may peace be upon him) took counsel with the Emperor. They informed him that the community of the followers of the Mahdi (AHS) were verty numerous in this region. They told him that these Mahdawis claim that the Promised Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time has come and gone, and that their doctrine is different from our Sunni doctrine.

The emperor Aurangzeb ordered the Judge, Qadi Abu Sa'id, .to summon some of the leaders of the Mahdawi community and apprehend from them what their actual doctrinal beliefs might be. The Judge therefore summoned the descendents of Shah Sharif (RAH) who lived at the tomb complex [raudah] of their ancestor. He asked them, "Are you followers of the Mahdi?" And they answered that they were indeed. The Judge then asked, "Do you have in your religious community any scholars or learned leaders with whom I could have a discussion?" They answered him, We ourselves do not have the required knowledge and learning of our own tradition that we might dispute with one such as you, but you should consider another descendents of our leader, his name is Miyan Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), and he lives at Chichaund. The Judge then requested that they send for this learned man. After meeting Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) and informing him of the Judge's intentions they brought the Shaykh and some of his companions to Ahmadnagar. So from Chichaund came Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), Ilyas Miran (RAH), Shaykh A'zam (RAH) (the son of Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH)) and Abu al-Qasim (the writer of this narrative), along with others from their community who had renounced worldly ambitions. They arrived at the tomb-complex of Shah Sharif in Ahmadnagar, and gave notice to the Judge of their arrival.

The Judge summoned them into his presence, and they all sat down in the official court building. In accordance with the summons, Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) and his son, Shaykh A'zam (RAH), entered into the Judge's private chambers and greeted him by saying 'as-Salamu' alaykum.' The Judge answered, 'Wa'alaykum as-Salam.' He then asked them about their doctrinal beliefs. They pronounced the ritual words of witness [shahadah] that there is no divinity but Allah, and that Muhammad (PBUH) is the Prophet of Allah (PBUH). They then explained that their belief is based on the singularity and uniqueness of Allah, who sent the messenger (PBUH), Muhammad (praise and peace be upon him). Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) said, We cherish the memory of all four of the Prophet's (PBUH) closest companions [meaning the four rightly-guided Khulafa'] and acknowledge that all four schools of law are based on the divine truth and are worthy of being followed. We are of the people of the Prophet's (PBUH) example and community [Ahl-i Sunnat o Jama'at] and we say that the Promised Mahdi (AHS) has already come and gone.

Upon hearing this, the Judge challenged him, 'By what proof do you claim that the Mahdi of the end of time has come and gone?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) replied, 'We make this claim by the proof that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said, "It is true that Allah sends to this community [ummah] at the start of each century someone who will renew its religion". And reliable commentators on this report have further clarified that the religious renewer [mujaddid] of the tenth century will be none other than the Mahdi (AHS). This commentary is mentioned in many books, including Tambih al-Taharruz and lrnam al-Nawwawi's commentary on Sahih Muslim. Not only that, but the great and pious saint, Hazrat Gesu Daraz (may Allah's mercy be upon him), who is trustworthy and followed the shari'ah scrupulously, has said in the malfuzat text that records his words. "The Prophet (PBUH) has said that Allah will send one from within his community to be a Mahdi at the start of each century, and at the tenth and last century, that one will be none other than the [promised] Mahdi (AHS)". Likewise al-Tabari has written in his book of hi story that the Mahdi (AHS) will appear in the year 905 after the Hijra. "The Mahdi (AHS) that we affirm, Sayyid Muhammad (PBUH) Jaunpuri, made his appearance in this very year, and if anyone doubts this they can look up the historical facts. So it is clearly established without any doubt that this very man, Sayyid Muhammad (PBUH) Jaunpuri, is the [promised] Mahdi (AHS). We affirm his status as the Mahdi (AHS) with all of these proofs; so tell us, with what proofs do you challenge his status?'

The Judge said, In this matter, there is a saying of the Prophet (PBUH) that the Mahdi (AHS) "will fill the earth with fairness and justice, just as it has been filled with tyranny and injustice". It is clear from this saying that, with the appearance of the promised Mahdi (AHS), all the tyranny and injustice in the world will be eradicated and that the whole world will be filled with justice and honesty. Therefore, all the people will become Muslims and not a single infidel would be left on the face of the earth. Up until this very day, such an extraordinary event has not happened! So how can you claim that the promised Mahdi (AHS) has already come and gone?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) answered him, In this matter, Allah has informed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), that all people will not be united into one religious community, but would rather stay divided into different religions and sects; injustice and tyranny between them would never be absent, and they would continue to differ amongst each other and commit injustice against each other until the very Day of Judgment (Qiyamat).

The Judge challenged him to read out the verse from the Qur'an that proves this point.

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) recited, 'Allah has spoken in the Qur'an that "If your Lord had willed, He would make all people into one single community, yet they remain differing amongst themselves and quarreling, except those upon whom your Lord has shown mercy. For this Allah has created them and the word of your Lord was made complete, that surely I will fill up Hell with Jinn and Humans all together" (Qur'an, Surat Hud, 11:118-119). And Allah has also spoken in another verse "We have cast among them enmity and anger until the Day of Judgement" (Qur'an, Surat al-Ma'idah, 5:67). Commentators have written on this verse (in the Tafsir al-Madarik) that all people will remain divided and in disagreement and the commitment of their hearts will never be in accord; they will never achieve mutual understanding or cooperation. Those who have been infidels will remain in their own stubborn opinions until the Hour of Judgement overtakes them all of a sudden or until they are given their due punishment. The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, "One group from my community will remain fighting with the others to uphold the truth, and will be clearly evident until the Day of Judgement.

So it is clear from these verses of the Speech of Allah and from these reports of the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) that the whole world will never become Muslim. Rather, the people of the world will remain in difference and conflict until the very Day of Judgement. From the first creation of Adam (AHS) until today, the pattern of behaviour ordained by Allah with regard to human beings is unchanging in all our circumstances: Allah has said "How little it is they believe!" (Qur'an, Surat al-Baqarah, 2:88) and "No, most of them have gone astray [fasiquna]" (Qur'an, Surat Al Imran 3:110). But despite this, Allah has declared in honour of the Prophet (PBUH) that "We have sent you only that you might be a mercy to both worlds" (Qur'an Surat al-Anbiya', 21:107). Despite the strong speech of the most noble of the Prophets, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who is the clearest proof of all the pure ones, still the world has not accepted to become Muslim in his own time. How, then, could you imagine that all the people of the world would become Muslims in the days of the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time? Our Prophet (PBUH) has said in relation to his community that "My community will split up into seventy-three different sects and all of them are in the fire except for one". This means that all the diverse groups from among the Muslim community will enter the fires of hell, except for one that will enter directly to paradise. Since the Prophet (PBUH) himself has clearly stated that even his community will never be unified and will stay split into all these quarreling groups, how can you claim that in the time of the Mahdi (AHS), all the world will become Muslims? Be just and reasonable, for the Prophet (PBUH) has said that Allah is merciful on whoever deals justily with others!'

The Judge then asked him, 'The Mahdi (AHS) and Jesus ['Issa] will appear in the world during the same time and that one would obey the other and follow his lead in prayer. But up until this very day, Jesus (AHS) has not appeared and has not acknowledged the Mahdi (AHS), so how can you people still insist that the Mahdi (AHS) has already come and gone? With what proof do you make this claim?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) answered him, 'We believe this according to the sayings reported from our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). and also by the research of Mulla Taftazani; we claim what is established as true that the Mahdi (AHS) and Jesus (AHS) will not come at the same time.'

The Judge challenged him, 'Recite those sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) and the claims of the Mulla that prove your point'.

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) obliged him, saying, 'The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, "How could my community ever come to ruin, with me coming at its beginning, Jesus (AHS) coming at its ending, and the Mahdi (AHS) from among my descendents appearing in its middle. The Prophet (PBUH) has also warned against the appearance of two leaders of the community [khalifah] at the same time, saying "If the people swear allegiance to two leaders at the same time, then kill the one who has appeared second".

The Judge questioned him, 'In which book have you found this saying of the Prophet (PBUH)?'

'It is found in the text Mishkat' (Miskhat al-Masabih) answered Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH). The Judge then began to search around in that book, looking for the quoted sayings. Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) himself extracted both of them from the book and read them aloud.

Then the Judge asked, 'And whose saying did you mention besides these reports of the Prophet (PBUH)?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) recited the passage [from Mulla Taftazani]: 'As for what people say abut the Mahdi (AHS) following in obedience Jesus (AHS), or Jesus (AHS) following in obedience the Mahdi (AHS), this is a matter on which there is no reliable proof either way. So nobody should pronounce the truth to be one way and not the other''

'This passage is found in what book?' the Judge interrogated him, 'and who is the author?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) replied, It is quoted from Sharah al-Maqacid, and the author is Shaykh Sa'd al-Din al-Taftazani.'

Then the Judge changed the topic and asked, 'The Mahdi (AHS) is clearly predicted to be born in Madinah, while this man whom you claim to be the Mahdi (AHS) was born in Hindustan (Al-Hind). So by what logic can you claim that he is proved to be the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) answered him, 'It is clear that the word madinah in the language of the Arabs is used in a general sense to mean any city; to use it in a limited sense is not permissible. Just refer to the verse in the Qur'an when Allah says, "A man came running from the furthest part of the madinah." (Qur'an, Surat Ya-Sin, 36:20)

'To what madinah is that in reference?' the Judge asked, 'and what was the name of that man, and who was the Prophet active during his time?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) answered, 'The madinah referred to is the city of Antioch [Antokiya] at the time of the Prophet Jesus. The name of that man who came running was Habib Najjar. Therefore it is clear according to this Qur'anic verse that the term madinah in Arabic has a general meaning in reference to any city [and not just to our Prophet's city of Madinah in the Hijaz].'

The Judge again objected, The city of Jaunpur is located in Hind, while the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time is clearly stated to be born of the Arabs!'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) answered, A saying of the Prophet (PBUH) has been relayed, indicating that the Mahdi (AHS) will be born in Hind.

The Judge challenged him, 'Recite that saying!'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) recited this saying reported from the Prophet (PBUH), "The Mahdi (AHS) will appear from the descendents of Hussain (RA), the son of Ali (may Allah uphold his dignity), and his birthplace will be Kabul or Hind; then the Mahdi (AHS) will travel to Makkah and stay for some time in Makkah" until the end of the report.

The Judge asked, 'What claims did [the man you claim as the Mahdi (AHS)] make there in Makkah, and who accepted them?'

'The promised Mahdi (AHS) went to the Ka'ba, to the house of Allah, 'answered Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'and there he mounted the pulpit and clearly pronounced his claim to be the Mahdi (AHS). And he recited this saying of the Prophet (PBUH): "Those who follow me are the believers [mu'min]". After this pronouncement, the first man to pledge allegiance to him was Shah Nizam (RA), the king of Ja'is, saying "I have believed and placed my trust in you. After that, Qazi Ala'ul-Din Bidari (RA) pledged allegiance to the Mahdi (AHS), by saying the same thing.

The Judge objected, 'The pledges of just two people do not confirm his claim to be the Mahdi (AHS)'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) responded, 'The followers of the Mahdi (AHS) were very numerous, and each of them took the same pledge of allegiance as these two did. Besides, in the ritual law laid down by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), if two trustworthy witnesses confirm the claim of a man, then his claim is considered established and valid. I mentioned the pledge of these two men because they were both very highly esteemed and respected leaders. One was the king of city of Ja'is, while the other was the Chief Judge of the city of Bidar. In the view of the law, the testimony of these two witnesses confirms an established proof By their testimony the claim of [Sayyid Muhammad (PBUH)] to be the Mahdi (AHS) has been clearly and firmly established.'

The Judge said, 'The saying of the Prophet (PBUH) that you have recited, in what book is it recorded?'

In the book of Prophetic (PBUH) traditions called 'Iqd-al-Durar,' answered Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH). (Iqd-al-Durar fi Akhbar al-Mahdi) Likewise, there is a saying by Ali (my Allah be content with him) from a letter that he wrote. It has been quoted by Shaykh Muhayy al-Din lbn 'Arabi in his text called al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah in the form of this poem:

It is true that the Seal of the Saints bears witness.
The essence of the leader of the Knowers of God is unique.
He is the Mahdi (AHS), rightly guided and descended from Ahmad (PBUH)
His gaze is sharp as an Indian sword as he passes beyond sight
He Is the Sun that blazes away every fog and darkness
He is the seasonal downpour as it rains abundantly

You see, it is clear that both the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) and the sayings of Ali claim that the Mahdi (AHS) will appear in Hind. We accept this very Mahdi (AHS) as the promised one, whose coming at a specified time is clearly established beyond doubt.

Then Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) turned to the Judge and asked. 'Do you have with you that book called Shu'ab al-Iman.'

'Why would you be asking after that book?' the Judge questioned him back.

'In that book,' Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) told him, 'there is the report of a decision from all among the scholars of the Sunni community in which they advise to hesitate and equivocate before specifying the time in which the Mahdi (AHS) will appear. They all agree that the conditions of the appearance of the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time and the exact time of his appearance are frilly dependent on the will of Allah [who will make him appear whenever the Divine wills].

The Judge asked him, 'Which scholars have said this? Read out that passage.'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) recited the following passage. 'Indeed, people have vast disagreements on the topic of the Mahdi (AHS). A whole group of scholars have advised caution on this topic, and have adopted the policy of ceding to each person what he thinks and knows. They have agreed in the belief that the Mahdi (AHS) is one of the descendents of Fatimah (RA), the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH), whom Allah will create at whatever time he wills and whom Allah will send on a mission to secure victory for his religion.'

'Who exactly has stated this?' asked the Judge.

'This is a statement', replied Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'of the scholars of the community of Ahl-iSunnat wa.Jama'at, that lmam Baihaqi has quoted in his text called Shu'ab a/-Iman.'

Finally, the Judge said, 'I do not have this book in my library.'

'Then request it from the library of the Emperor,' insisted Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'and we will see if this passage is quoted in that book--we will see if I am telling the truth. If I am not, then I become like those cesured in the saying of the Prophet (PBUH), that "The liar does not belong to my community.'

The Judge knew within that Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) was telling the truth. He connived to change the subject, saying 'No, it is already evening [we cannot get that book]. Tell me, in the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) there is mention of a fortress by the water's edge called Constantinople [Qunstantaniyyah] which the Mahdi (AHS) will conquer after pronouncing Allahu Akhar. The Mahdi (AHS) you claim to follow never conquered any fortress like this.'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) replied, The Mahdi (AHS) we follow did not conquer any such fortress, because there is a great disagreement about this saying of the Prophet (PBUH).

'What disagreement can there be'?' asked the Judge.

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) said, 'Some scholars hold that the conquest of this fortress by pronouncing Allahu Akbar is the work of some one from the Jewish tribes [Banu Isra'il]. whereas the Mahdi (AHS) is necessarily someone from the Arab tribes [Banu Isma'iI].

In the middle of this discussion, one of the scholars present interjected that, The Mahdi (AHS) is of the descendents of Hussain (RA), so what he's saying about the Arab tribes is correct!'

The Judge contradicted him, 'I have seen it written in one book that the Mahdi (AHS) will be from the descendents of 'Abbas'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) said, The scholars from the whole Sunni community have come to the consensus that the Mahdi (AHS) will be from the descendents of Hussain (RA).'

'First of all, 'said the Judge, let us find out the truth about the Mahdi (AHS) you claim to follow, and only after that will we finish this other discussion.'

'By means of these conflicting views and contradictory opinions,' said Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'one of our greatest leaders became a follower of the Mahdi (AHS). He was Shaykh Ala'i (may Allah be merciful to him) who was the spiritual guide of Sher Shah Suri and the Emperor Salim Shah. He did extensive research from the most prestigious books of respected early scholars of the Sunni community, and found that the appearance of our Mahdi (AHS) was in perfect accord with the verses of the Qur'an, reports of the Prophet's (PBUH) words, and the statements upon which all the Sunni scholars have agreed. Only then did he bear witness to the truth of the claim of our Mahdi (PBUH). We Mahdawis all fully believe that the ethics, values and action of Sayyid Muhammad (PBUH) Jaunpuri follow exactly in every detail the ethics, values and actions of Muhammad (PBUH), the seal of the Prophets (PBUH) and Messengers (PBUH). As they say in Arabic, exactly. measure for measure, and step for step. Those who sincerely believe in the mission the Prophets (AHS) and the sanctity of the saints are in total agreement that any person who shares in the ethical character of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is trustworthy in his claims. Such as ethical person could never spread lies and falsifications or impute to Allah something that Allah has not decreed to him. This is just like a general principle that the jurists have laid down in establishing the truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. They have written that "Everything which is established by the words of a trustworthy person is therefore completely trustworthy".

'Therefore, if any person is just and is a sincere seeker after the truth, then he must necessarily research into the noble character of this Mahdi (AHS) in order to compare him to the nobility of the Prophet (PBUH); then he can see for himselves whether they are of one constitution. Just see how the author, Imam Muhammad Nasfi, has mentioned both of these two Muhammads (PBUH), the Prophet (PBUH) and the Mahdi (AHS), with equal mention in his commentary on the verse "Who have not already joined with them" (Qur'an, Surat aI-Jumu'ah, 62:3) in his book Kashf al-Haqa'iq. He writes that "The Mahdi's (AHS) essence is like the Prophet's essence, his knowledge is like the Prophet's (PBUH) knowledge, his followers are like the Prophet's (PBUH) followers, his patience is like the Prophet's (PBUH) patience, his reliance on Allah is like the Prophet's (PBUH) reliance on Allah. In every state he is the Prophet's (PBUH) equal, inwardly and outwardly". This shows that the essence of the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time follows the inner character and outer conduct of the Prophet (PBUH) in each detail. Look also with what praiseworthy qualities and lofty eithics Shaykh Ibn 'Arabi has described the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time in his book al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah, when explaining the details of the special sanctity [wilayat] of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). You must look at this passage, so that you may understand his real intent in writing it and reach the full realization of its importance, If Allah wills.'

Then Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) saw a book before the Judge and asked 'Which book is this?' The Judge answered, 'It's title is Mishkat. Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) said that this book also mentions the Mahdi (AHS) in this passage. "Ali (RA) once asked: Oh Prophet of Allah (PBUH), will the Mahdi (AHS) be from our family lineage, or from another family's lineage? The Prophet (PBUH) answered him: Truly the Mahdi (AHS) will come from our lineage, for Allah will close the Muslim community as Allah had opened it. This report has been transmitted by an entire group of reliable reporters in their books, including Abu al-Qasim al-Tabrani and Abu Nai'im al-Isfahani and Abd al-Rahman ibn Hatim and others.'

'I, too, have seen in this book that same quotation that you have recited,' admitted the Judge. Then he complained, 'You have memorized all these texts and reports about the Prophet (PBUH) that prove you points. But I have not have the chance to memorize the points [to refute you].'

'Well, look here,' said Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'I have memorized just those points which are necessary proofs in any debate. They are indispensable for me, since persuading the whole of humanity to believe in the Mahdi (AHS) is a duty incumbent upon me. The Mahdi's (AHS) essence requires and demands such belief, since his appearance has been promised by Allah. He is called the promised one since Allah has spread the word about his advent in Allah's very own scripture through the tongue of Allah's very own Prophet (PBUH). Sayyid Muhammad (PBUH) himself has said, "I am ordered by Allah to declare that I am the Mahdi (AHS), witnessed by the spirit of the Prophet (PBUH). He followed exactly the example of our Prophet (PBUH); he reached a spiritual level above the level of Ijtihad (thorough familiarity with the Prophet's (PBUH) external teachings). No other person can claim a share in the loftiness of this spiritual attainment. Scholars have proclaimed that a person of such rank must be believed and followed, for he shares all the personal qualities of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): he claims to be the Mahdi (AHS) on the order of Allah and in accord with the scripture of Allah. he is protected for error by Allah like the Prophets and Messengers. his advent is promised by Allah, he is the Seal of the Sainthood (Khatim al-Wilayat il-Muqayyadah Muhammadi SAS) that flows from the archetype of Muhammad (PBUH), he is described by the Qur'an to be equivalent to the Qur'an in guidance and mercy, his reputation is spread by the Qur'an and its text confirms his status as leader of the community [imamat] and [khilafat], he is the indisputable evidence of Allah and the beloved of Allah as described by the Speech of Allah. His community of followers is also described in the Qur'an as those who will be obedient to him inwardly and outwardly. Such a person who is supported by so many clear and decisive proofs from the scripture, and who supports the scripture so clearly, his very person by his very nature demands to be believed and followed by all people, by all created beings. Whoever can understand will understand. Arid what is the denunciation of such a person who rejects his rightful claim if not outright infidelity against Allah and the Prophet [Kufr]? People who believe in him know that his essence and his person require such belief, therefore they pledge allegiance to his mission and confirm his status. After this, they gather together the verses of Quran, the reports of the Prophet (PBUH), the decisions of the pious scholars who belong to the Sunni community, and insist that they confirm the advent of the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of time, who is none other than Sayyid Muhammad (PBUH), the promised Mahdi (AHS). They do this just as the scholars of old had gathered together the proofs of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and declared that beyond a doubt his very person required belief and faith. They reposed their faith in him through these proofs, and declared that all people must believe in the advent of the Mahdi (AHS), that this belief is a ritual obligation [farz] integral to religion itself.

'The Prophet (PBUH) has said about the scholars, that "the scholars of my community are [as honored as] the prophets of the Jewish tribes, "Yet despite all these signs and confirmations of the advent of the Mahdi (AHS), scholars harbored many differences of opinion and conflicts of view about the Mahdi (AHS). Numerous reports of what the Prophet (PBUH) has said about the Mahdi (AHS) contradict each other. There is a basic guideline about controversial topics like this that leading scholars any mystics have advocated, "lf two [reports] contradict each other, let them both fall into disuse, "But you, oh Judge, want to make use to this difference opinion about asserting the leadership of the Mahdi [imamat] and declaring his rightful place of [khilafat], If anybody, through selfishness and pride, gets caught up in these disputes that are impossible to win and topics that are difficult to understand, then they can never possibly reach the goal [of understanding Allah and following the Prophet (PBUH)]. There is a verse of Qur'an which makes this very clear: "Then Allah guided those who truly believed to the truth in whatever they may have disagreed upon, for Allah guides those whom Allah desired to guide to a path straight and clear."25 In the commentary on this verse in Tafsir-i Rahmani, it is written that Allah guides those who believe in the truth directly "without any proof from textual sources and without any human teacher". When such guidance comes down from Allah. what is the use of this dispute between you and me? What is the use of these arguments and counter-arguments? What refutations and retaliations can there by? Wouldn't it be better if we just enact the commandments of Allah [as best we know how]?'

The Judge asked him, 'And how does Allah command us to act?'

Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH) recited this verse from the Qur'an "Whoever performs a good deed gets the reward for it, and whoever acts evilly will get the punishment for it, for Allah does not act tyrannically with humankind". Then he recited another verse to compliment the first, "Every soul will be held accountable only for what it has done, no delegates can bear the responsibility in their place. Your Lord is the place to which you each return, then Allah will inform you about what you had conflicted and edisputed" (Qur'an, Surat al-An'am, 6:164). Then he recited another, "That community which has passed, they will reap the results of what they have done while you will reap the results of what you are doing. You will not be questioned about what they have done, nor can you benefit by it" (Qur'an, Surat al-Baqarah, 2:134 and 141), And he followed this with another verse, "I have been ordered to deal between you with fairness and justice. Allah is our Lord and Allah is also your Lord. We will be judged by our acts and you will be judged by yours. There is no contention and quarrel between us. Allah will gather us together again, and Allah is the inevitable end for each of us"(Qur'an, Surat al-Shurah, 42:15).

'You see, 'said Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'that Allah commands us to act justly and to do good in every moment, in every situation. It is clear that Allah will not ask you about me on Judgement day, and Allah will not ask me about you. Allah plainly gives each one reward for what they do which is good and beneficial, and punishment for what they do which is bad and harmful. You must know that on the Day of Judgement, Allah has no need to ask any question of anyone!'

The Judge protested, But it is my job to test and examine everyone.

'But Judge,' interjected Shaykh A'zam (RAH), the son of Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'there are so many different religious communities and sects who fight side by side in the army of the Emperor! I mean, besides the seventy-three different sub-communities of Muslims, there are Jews, Christians and Parsis [Magian], and even pagans! Which of all these religious communities are you examining and interrogating? Those who are outside the pale of Islam say things that are clearly outside the pale, while those who are trustworthy and true believers say things that are clearly true in accord with the Qur'an. What profit do you hope to make by interrogating every one and examining the beliefs of each? One thing is for certain, that whatever a father does, he will bear the consequences, and what his son does, that son alone will bear the consequences'.

The Judge corrected him, 'Whatever good a father does, the reward for it will not accure to his son, but whatever good a son does will also reward his father.

'I understand what you mean', said Shaykh Ibrahim (RAH), 'but look here. Is it true that if a father does not pray, does not keep the fast, drinks alcohol and chases after other women, his son will be punished? Or if a son should do evil things, is it so that his father will be punished as well?'

'No', insisted the Judge, he will not be liable to punishment.'

Shaykh A'zam (RAH) replied. 'Then just as you say he will not be punished by means of another person's evil actions, by the same logic his good actions cannot benefit another person either. Both of these suppositions go against the explicit teaching of the Divine words.'

'Recite the verse that proves your point,' ordered the Judge.

Shaykh A'zam (RAH) recited this verse, "Oh you people, stay constantly aware of your Lord and feel dread for the Day on which a father will not be rewarded at all for what his son has done nor will children be rewarded for what their parents have done. Whatever Allah promises is irrevocably true, so do not let this worldly life mislead you and do not let the proud deceiver trick you regarding Allah" (Qur'an, Surat Luqman, 31:33).

The Judge finally pronounced, 'You people really do act on the commandments of Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) in accord with the legal norms set down by Muhammad (PBUH)! I judge that your doctrine is correct and acceptable.

'Well, Judge,' said Shaykh A'zam (RAH), 'of course we have a sound and reliable doctrine, since we believe in the oneness of Allah and the Divine mission of the Prophet (PBUH), and act out the commands of Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) in accordance with the limits of the religious law set down by Muhammad (PBUH). Just as Allah has told in the Qur'an, Obey Allah and the Messenger (PBUH), for if you turn astray again, know that Allah does not love those who are unfaithful."

When the Judge heard this verse, he became very happy, and gave the official order that the interrogation was done; they could go back to place where they had been staying. Then the Judge himself went to the Emperor and told him all about the discussion and debate that had passed between them.

The Emperor asked him, 'Have you now become fully informed about the beliefs of these followers of the Mahdi (AHS), and have you closely examined all their doctrines?'

The Judge replied, 'They bear witness to the oneness of Allah who sent the Prophet (PBUH) on a mission. They cherish the memory of all four of the Prophet's (PBUH) close companions, and believe that all four legal methods are validly based on the truth. They are certainly members of our Sunni community. They say that the Mahdi (AHS) of the end of tirne (akhir az-Zaman) is their leader (Imam (AHS)) who has come and gone.'

The Emperor asked 'So did you find that they transgress the limits of the religious law in any aspect that makes them liable to punishment?'

'No', answered the Judge, they are not liable to any Qur'anic punishment, nor to summary execution, nor to imprisonment or exile. I have found no cause for punishing them in any way.

'I have known well', admitted the Emperor, 'that they follow the law (shariah) scrupulously and know the dictates of our religion and enact them, and dispute with others through the proofs of the Qur'an, the words of the Prophet (PBUH), and the teachings of the pious scholars. Their practices are not against the religious law at all, and they only act on that which is in accord with the Qur'an and the example of the Prophet (PBUH). Their doctrines are surely within the bounds of the Sunni community. That they declare the slogan that "the Mahdi (AHS) had already come and gone" does not make them liable to any punishment under the religious law. So you can give the order to let them go freely.'

When the Judge returned to his courtroom, he summoned us all from the tomb-complex of Shah Sharif Majdhub (RAH) to come back to speak with him. He told us about his meeting with the Emperor and what he had commanded. He said, I have gone before the Emperor and explained everything to him and secured for you the permission to live freely in this region. You are now free to go back to your own residences.' All these people took their leave from the Judge, Abu Sa'id, and left the tomb of Shah Sharif (RAH), departing for their homes in Chichaund.

 

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