Does Mansoor believe that Mahdi exists and is alive now? If so, what is his reason for this belief?
Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani firmly believes that Mahdi exists and is alive at present, and what indicates it is the report of one of his companions, in which it has been said:
«دَخَلْتُ عَلَى الْمَنْصُورِ الْهَاشِمِيِّ الْخُرَاسَانِيِّ وَهُوَ فِي مَسْجِدٍ، فَسَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ: أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ! إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْمَهْدِيَّ وَلِيًّا، فَاتَّخِذُوهُ وَلِيًّا، وَلَا تَتَّخِذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ، قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ! فَقَامَ رَجُلٌ أَحْوَلُ مِنْ بَيْنِ النَّاسِ فَقَالَ: وَهَلْ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ الْمَهْدِيَّ؟! قَالَ: نَعَمْ، وَإِنَّهُ لَيَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ! قَالَ الرَّجُلُ: وَهَلْ رَأَيْتَهُ أَنْتَ بِعَيْنَيْكَ؟! فَسَكَتَ الْمَنْصُورُ وَلَمْ يُجِبْهُ حَتَّى سَأَلَهُ الرَّجُلُ ثَلَاثًا، فَقَالَ: مَا كُنْتُ لِأَدْعُوَكُمْ إِلَى مَنْ لَمْ أَرَهُ! قَالَ الرَّجُلُ: فَلِمَ لَا يَخْرُجُ إِلَيْنَا لِنَتَّبِعَهُ؟! قَالَ: يَخَافُ! قَالَ الرَّجُلُ: مِمَّ؟! قَالَ: مِنَ الْقَتْلِ -وَأَشَارَ إِلَى حَلْقِهِ»; “I came to Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani while he was in a mosque, then I heard him say: ‘O people! Indeed, God has appointed Mahdi as your guardian, so take him as guardian, and do not take guardians other than him, little you heed to advice!’, at this time, a squint-eyed man stood up from among people and said: ‘Has God created Mahdi?!’, he said: ‘Yes, and indeed, he eats and walks in the markets!’, the man said: ‘Have you seen him with your own eyes?!’, then Mansoor fell silent and did not answer him until the man repeated his question three times; at this time he said: ‘I do not invite you toward someone I have not seen!’, the man said: ‘Then why does he not come out toward us so that we may follow him?!’, he said: ‘He is afraid!’, the man said: ‘Of what?!’, he said: ‘Of being killed’, and he pointed at his throat”.
This saying clearly states that he has evidence for the existence of Mahdi at present, even though he is absent from people; in the sense that he is not known to them due to fear of them for his life, and this is rationally and religiously possible, but rather very likely considering the emergence of the signs mentioned in mutawatir Hadiths for the time of his rising, such as the predominance of oppression and injustice in the world, the abundance of calamities, and the like, and therefore, there is no reason to deny it, and whoever denies it has done so without knowledge, and in addition to that, he is like someone who has despaired of God’s mercy, ﴿وَمَنْ يَقْنَطُ مِنْ رَحْمَةِ رَبِّهِ إِلَّا الضَّالُّونَ﴾; “and who would despair of the mercy of his Lord except for the misguided?!”. In any case, it is clear that one who is ignorant has no proof against one who is knowledgeable, and Mansoor knows about the existence of Mahdi, and in this regard, he has not sufficed with informing others about seeing him, even though he is trustworthy in his informing due to his justice and dignity, but rather he has provided proof for his existence from the intellect and Sharia. As for his proof from the intellect, it is the necessity of the existence of the Caliph of God on the earth to teach the entirety of Islam and establish it purely and perfectly; considering that the intellect understands the necessity of such teaching and establishment and does not consider them possible except with the existence of the Caliph of God on the earth; as it has been said in the book Return to Islam:
“It may be imagined that practicing the entirety of Islam is not possible, and therefore, there is no choice but to practice some of it, and if practicing some of it is not adequate, then there exists no choice, which is not possible, but it is clear that this is a baseless illusion; because God, by virtue of His wisdom and mercy, has surely not put anything in Islam that would be impossible to practice; rather, He has put everything in Islam for the purpose of practicing it, and it is clear that putting something in Islam that would be impossible to practice is futility, and futility is not done by God. In addition, there is no doubt that God has commanded the entirety of Islam, not just a part of it, and it is clear that His commanding what is impossible is impossible; because it conflicts with His wisdom. Moreover, nothing has been claimed in the entirety of Islam that would be intrinsically impossible to believe or practice. Nevertheless, the only aspect that can be mentioned for the impossibility of practicing the entirety of Islam is the impossibility of knowing the entirety of it; considering that knowing the entirety of Islam is necessary for practicing the entirety of it, while it is possible only for the One who has legislated it, and therefore, Muslims’ knowing the entirety of it and accordingly their practicing the entirety of it are not possible. However, the truth is that this aspect is also rejected; because God certainly has obligated Muslims to practice the entirety of Islam, and based on this, by its contingency on knowing the entirety of Islam, God is required to teach the entirety of Islam, not to remove the obligation to practice the entirety of Islam; in the sense that considering the necessity of practicing the entirety of Islam, its contingency on knowing the entirety of it, and God’s intrinsic monopoly on this knowledge, it is necessary for God to make it possible for Muslims to know the entirety of it in some way so that they do not have an excuse against Him for not practicing the entirety of Islam and consequently their fall into misery and problems. It is clear that this teaching is inevitable and certain, and it is possible in two ways: either God teaches all Muslims the entirety of Islam directly, or He chooses some of them for that so that others learn about the entirety of Islam from them indirectly. Since God certainly has not taught all Muslims the entirety of Islam directly, then it is clear that He has taught it to some of them, and therefore, it is obligatory for others to know them and learn from them, and since the knowledge of the entirety of Islam is with God alone, then they are inevitably either the Prophets, who have learned about the entirety of Islam directly from God, or related to the Prophets, who have learned about the entirety of Islam from God through the Prophet, and such persons are considered the Caliphs of God among Muslims because they are representatives of God in teaching the entirety of Islam. It is hereby understood that God has appointed a Caliph on the earth”.
As for his proof from Sharia, it is the words of God Who has said: ﴿إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً﴾; “Indeed, I am the Appointer of a Caliph on the earth”, because it is like His promise that will not be broken and like His way that will not change; as one of our companions informed us, he said:
«سَأَلْتُ الْمَنْصُورَ عَنْ قَوْلِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى: ﴿إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً﴾، فَقَالَ: إِنَّ الْأَرْضَ لَا تَخْلُو مِنْ خَلِيفَةٍ اللَّهُ جَاعِلُهُ، وَلَوْ خَلَتْ لَسَاخَتْ بِأَهْلِهَا، وَمَنْ مَاتَ وَلَمْ يَعْرِفْ هَذَا الْخَلِيفَةَ فَقَدْ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً، ثُمَّ سَكَتَ سَاعَةً حَتَّى أَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَقُومَ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ، فَقَالَ: لَا يَزَالُ اللَّهُ يَجْعَلُ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً مُنْذُ قَالَهُ، وَلَوْ قَالَ: <إِنِّي أَجْعَلُ> لَكَانَ مِنْهُ جَعْلٌ وَاحِدٌ، وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ: ﴿إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ﴾، وَالْجَاعِلُ مَنْ يَسْتَمِرُّ مِنْهُ الْجَعْلُ، وَكُلُّ خَلِيفَةٍ لِلَّهِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَهْدِيٌّ إِلَى مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِيهَا لِيَضَعَهُ حَيْثُ يَشَاءُ اللَّهُ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَهْتَدِ إِلَى مَهْدِيِّ زَمَانِهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا»; “I asked Mansoor about the words of God Almighty Who says: ‘Indeed, I am the Appointer of a Caliph on the earth.’ So he said: ‘Indeed, the earth is not empty of a Caliph that God is the Appointer of him, and if it becomes empty of such a Caliph, it swallows its inhabitants, and whoever dies without knowing this Caliph has died a death of ignorance!’ Then he fell silent for a moment until I intended to leave him, then he continued: ‘God, since the time He said that, has always been appointing a Caliph on the earth, and if He had said: “I appoint,” it could have been one appointment, but He has said: “I am the Appointer,” and the appointer is one by whom the appointment continues, and every Caliph of God on the earth has been guided to what God has created on it in order to put it in a place where God wills, and whoever does not find the way to Mahdi (the guided one) of his time has indeed gone far astray.’”
This means that the earth is never empty of a Caliph whom God has appointed on it, and it is clear that the only Caliph of God at the end time is Mahdi; because there is no proven report from the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, regarding the Caliphate of anyone other than him for God at the end time, and therefore, it is not possible to be certain of the Caliphate of anyone other than him after the righteous predecessors, while nothing but certainty is considered sufficient in Islam, and this means that no one other than Mahdi can be the Caliph at present; as one of our companions informed us, he said:
«سَأَلَ الْمَنْصُورَ رَجُلٌ وَأَنَا حَاضِرٌ عَنْ قَوْلِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى: ﴿إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً﴾، فَقَالَ: لَا يَزَالُ اللَّهُ جَاعِلًا فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً مُنْذُ وَعَدَهُ، إِمَّا ظَاهِرًا مَشْهُورًا وَإِمَّا خَائِفًا مَغْمُورًا، وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ! قَالَ الرَّجُلُ: إِنَّهُمْ قَدْ جَعَلُوا فِي الْعِرَاقِ خَلِيفَةً وَلَا يَرَوْنَ إِلَّا أَنَّهُ الْخَلِيفَةُ! قَالَ: كَذَبُوا أَعْدَاءُ اللَّهِ، مَا قَالَ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ: <إِنَّكُمْ جَاعِلُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً> وَلَكِنْ قَالَ: ﴿إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ﴾، فَلَوْ جَعَلُوا فِيهَا خَلِيفَةً دُونَ الْخَلِيفَةِ الَّذِي جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ فِيهَا لَكَانُوا بِذَلِكَ مُشْرِكِينَ! قَالَ الرَّجُلُ: وَمَنْ هَذَا الْخَلِيفَةُ الَّذِي جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ فِيهَا؟ قَالَ: رَجُلٌ مِنْ وُلْدِ فَاطِمَةَ يُقَالُ لَهُ الْمَهْدِيُّ»; “While I was there, a man asked Mansoor about the words of God Almighty that says: ‘Indeed, I am the Appointer of a Caliph on the earth’, so he said: ‘God, since the time He promised, has always appointed a Caliph on the earth, whether he has been visible and famous or hidden and frightened, and indeed, God does not break His promise!’, the man said: ‘People in Iraq have appointed a caliph and have no belief other than that he is the caliph!’, he said: ‘The enemies of God lied! God did not say to them: “You are appointers of a Caliph on the earth”, but rather He said: “I am the Appointer”, so if they appoint a caliph on it other than the Caliph whom God has appointed on it, they indeed become polytheists by doing so!’, the man said: ‘Who is this Caliph whom God has appointed on it?’, he said: ‘A man from the descendants of Fatimah, who is called Mahdi’”.
Based on this, it is possible to believe in the existence and life of Mahdi at present, and this belief is not considered contrary to Islam or contrary to the intellect, even though it necessitates believing in the longevity of his life; because the longevity of life is not rationally or religiously impossible, but rather it is not unusual for the Caliphs of God on the earth either; as He has said about Nuh, peace be upon him: ﴿فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمْ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمْسِينَ عَامًا﴾; “So he stayed among them a thousand years minus fifty years”, and it is clear that ﴿أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ﴾; “God has power over all things”. Also, a group of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah has agreed with His Honor Mansoor in this regard, such as Muhammad ibn Talha Al-Shafi‘i (d. 652 AH) in Matalib al-Sa’ul, Sibt ibn al-Jawzi al-Hanbali (d. 654 AH) in Tadhkirah al-Khawas, Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Shafi‘i (d. 658 AH) in al-Bayan, ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki (d. 855 AH) in al-Fufusl al-Muhimmah, Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha‘rani (d. 973 AH) in al-Yawaqit Wa al-Jawahir, al-Shabrawi al-Shafi‘i (d. 1171 AH, Al-Qandu) in al-Ithaf, al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi (d. 1294 AH) in Yanabi‘ al-Mawaddah, and al-Shiblanji al-Shafi‘i (d. 1308 AH) in Noor al-Absar. Also, ibn Arabi (d. 638 AH) has said in al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah after mentioning Mahdi: «قد جاءكم زمانه وأظلّكم أوانه، وظهر في القرن الرابع اللّاحق بالقرون الثلاثة الماضية، قرن رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه وسلّم، وهو قرن الصّحابة، ثمّ الذي يليه، ثمّ الذي يلي الثاني»; “His era has come upon you, and his time has cast a shadow over you. He has appeared in the fourth century after the first three centuries, the century of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him, and that is the century of the Companions, then the century that follows it, then the century that follows the second century”, and said: «وهو في زماننا اليوم موجود، عرفت به سنة خمس وتسعين وخمسمائة، ورأيت العلامة التي له قد أخفاها الحقّ فيه عن عيون عباده، وكشفها لي بمدينة فاس حتّى رأيت خاتم الولاية منه، وهو خاتم النبوّة المطلقة، لا يعلمها كثير من الناس، وقد ابتلاه اللّه بأهل الإنكار عليه فيما يتحقّق به من الحقّ في سرّه من العلم به»; “He exists today in our time. I was in his presence in the year 595 and saw the sign that God has hidden in him from the eyes of His servants, and He revealed that sign to me in the city of Fas. I saw the seal of guardianship with him, which is the seal of absolute Prophethood, and many people do not know about it. Indeed, God has afflicted him with people who deny the firm truths about him that originate from divine secrets”, and this is like the saying of His Honor Mansoor that Mahdi exists and he has seen him.
However, it should be noted that His Honor Mansoor has not based his invitation to prepare the ground for the advent of Mahdi on the belief that he exists and is alive at present, but rather he has clearly stated in his book that preparing the ground for his advent is necessary even based on the lack of belief in his existence and life at present; considering that with this basis, his existence and life will be conditional on the capability of people in the sense of their willingness and readiness, although it will be conditional on the authority of God in the sense of His genesis, and God will create him at a time when he will be able to appear at it. Therefore, if he does not exist or is not alive at present, then it is necessary to prepare the ground for his existence and life, like preparing the ground for his advent, and this is based on the words of God Who has said: ﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ﴾; “Undoubtedly, God will not change anything for a people until they change what is in themselves”.
As a result, whether Mahdi exists and is alive at present or not, it is obligatory for all Muslims to prepare the ground for his advent, and what is meant by that is to make the necessary arrangements to provide his security and realize his government, as His Honor Mansoor has explained it in detail in his invaluable book Return to Islam.