Imam al-Mahdi will be a righteous man from among the
descendants of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
who will appear at the end of time, through whom Allaah will set mankind’s
affairs straight, and will fill the earth with fairness and justice just as
it was filled with wrongdoing and oppression. His name will be the same as
the name of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
and his father’s name will be the same as that of the father of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). So his name will be
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Mahdi, or Ahmad ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Mahdi. He
will be descended from Faatimah the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), through al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may
Allaah be pleased with him). The sign of his appearance will be widespread
corruption and the earth being filled with wrongdoing and aggression.
There are a number of ahaadeeth which point to his appearance
and attributes being as described above. When taken together these reports
reach the level of tawaatur (i.e., narrated from so many people by so many
people that it is inconceivable that they could all have agreed upon a lie).
This is explained in more detail in question no.
With regard to the order in which the portents of the Hour
will appear, there is some difference of opinion among the scholars, the
reason being that no such order or events is narrated in the Sunnah. However
the scholars have determined the order of some of the events, as follows:
1 – The appearance of the minor portents of the Hour, of
which there are many which will not appear in any specific order. These
include: the sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) and his death; the plague of ‘Amwaas; the appearance of
tribulations; the loss of honesty; the disappearance of knowledge; the
spread of riba, musical instruments and alcohol; regarding these things as
permissible; competition in erecting tall buildings; a great deal of
killing; time passing more quickly; adornment of the mosques; prevalence of
shirk; the spread of immorality; a great deal of stinginess; many
earthquakes; landslides, transformations and pelting with stones from the
heavens; disappearance of righteous people; believers’ dreams coming true;
neglect of the Sunnah; a great deal of lying; a great deal of false
testimony; a great deal of sudden death; a great deal of rain but little
growth of vegetation; wishing for death; increase in numbers of the “Romans”
and fighting them; and other signs which are narrated in saheeh ahaadeeth
from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
2 – The appearance of the Mahdi, who will appear before the
Dajjaal and before the descent of ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him). This is indicated by the hadeeth of Jaabir (may
Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “ ‘Eesa ibn Maryam will come down
and their leader the Mahdi will say to him: ‘Come and lead us in prayer.’
But he will say: ‘No, one of them should lead the others in prayer, as a
sign of honour from Allaah to this ummah.’: Narrated by al-Haarith ibn Abi
Usaamah in his Musnad. And Ibn al-Qayyim said in al-Manaar
al-Muneef (1/147): its isnaad is jayyid. The hadeeth is narrated with a
mawsool isnaad in Saheeh Muslim, without naming their leader.
Muslim’s report says: “… ‘And ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) will come down and their leader will say to him: ‘Come
and lead us in prayer.’ But he will say: ‘No, one of them should lead the
others in prayer, as a sign of honour from Allaah to this ummah.’” Narrated
by Muslim, 225. So ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) will follow the Mahdi in
prayer, which indicates that the Mahdi will appear before ‘Eesa, and ‘Eesa
will kill the Dajjaal, which indicates that the Dajjaal will appear during
the time of the Mahdi.
5 – The appearance of Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog).
One indication that Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj will emerge at the time of ‘Eesa
(peace be upon him) is the hadeeth of al-Nawaas ibn Sam’aan, which says that
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told them about
the Dajjaal, and said: “Whilst he is like that, Allaah will reveal to ‘Eesa:
‘I have released slaves of Mine whom no one will be able to fight. Take My
slaves to safety in al-Toor (Sinai),’ and Allaah will send Ya’jooj and
Ma’jooj, who will come swarming down from every mound. The first of them
will pass by Lake Tiberias and will drink the water in it, and the last of
them will pass by it and will say, ‘There was water here once.’” Narrated by
Muslim, no. 2937.
Then the signs will come quickly, one after another.
According to a hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The signs
will come one after another, like beads falling from a string”. Narrated by
al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Awsat; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani
in Saheeh al-Jaami’. Then the sun will rise from the west, the Beast
will emerge, and there will be landslides and other major signs. We ask
Allaah to make us steadfast unto death. And Allaah knows best.
For more information see: al-Mahdi al-Muntazar by Dr. ‘Abd
al-‘Aleem al-bastawi, 1/256; Ashraat al-Saa’ah by Yoosuf al-Waabil, p. 249.
see also question no. 3259.