thirdly, as some of the adherents of bani-ummayyid came across traditions wherein the name of Mahdi was mentioned and concluded that if they were to believe in Mahdi who was a distinct person, they would be compelled to pronounce that he is from the progeny of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) and offspring of fatemah and hussein or still the son of hazrat hassan askari. this was something unpleasing for them and irreconcilable with their aims. as a result, they started believing in mahdaviyat of various kinds.
in this regard, other sayings can be found which, from the view-point of logic are worthless such as the saying that; Mahdi is from the offspring of abbass or from the children of hassan mujtaba (a.s.) or that he shall be born afterwards. the root cause of all these and such other talks about Mahdi is one of the afore-said three points.
in 'mataleb-us-su'ool', muhammad-ibn-thalha writes as such:- 'if anyone objects to these traditions of the holy prophet (where they are many in number and great emphasis has been laid to each one of them. moreover there is a consensus in the correctness of its chain of transmission as well as in its narration from the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) with correct and explicit proof that Mahdi is from the progeny of fatemah and from the lineage of the holy prophet and his name is the same as the prophet's name. besides, he shall fill the earth with justice and equity, he is from the generation of abdul-muttalib and amongst the leaders of paradise and there this manner that they do not indicate this fact that the Mahdi which the holy prophet depicted (which we have already mentioned) regarding his signs and qualities is the same abul-qasim muhammad-ibn-hassan, the virtuous 'hujjat (definitive proof)'. this is because the children of fatemah are many and till the day of qiyamat anyone who comes into existence from her generation will be true to him that he is from the pure progeny of fatemah and the holy prophet. therefore, with such exposition of the traditions which we have previously mentioned, we should have with us a proper proof which indicates that that Mahdi is the same hujjat-ibn-hassan.
we reply - the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) depicted Mahdi (a.s.) with some qualities like mentioning his name, lineage and his ancestry to fatemah (a.s.) and abdul-muttalib and the fact that he possesses a sparkling forehead and protracted nose and counted many other comprehensive characteristics (which we have previously mentioned) which all of these reveal that anyone possessing those characteristics and signs will be the same person called as Mahdi and he will be having some authority upon us as per what we have previously mentioned (like the necessity of following and obeying him). we found those afore-said characteristics only in abul-qasim muhammad, the virtuous successor. thus it is essential to substantiate these decrees for hazrat and he becomes the possessor of those characteristics. otherwise, how is it possible that sign and reasoning exist but not their purport! if the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) introduces some thing as the sign and proof of something else but does not consider the result as the desired goal, there has occured a contradiction in his sayings (i.e. he mentions some signs for something but rejects the result which is according to his own prestipulated criterion). if someone objects and says:- 'signs alone are not sufficient, we should ascertain the one who possesses those signs and characteristics and attribute those characteristics exclusively to him. however, until the exclusiveness and uniqueness of that person to those characteristics is not known, we cannot say that those signs are applicable to him and it is certain that right from the time of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.)until the time of the birth of the virtuous successor hujjat muhammad (a.s.), none (other than him) from the progeny of fatemah has been found to be exhaustive of those characteristics. however, the time of his movement and sovereignty will be at the end of time, when dajjal shall appear and isa (jesus)shall descend from the heaven. these shall occur after a lapse of a lengthy period and till then, there are new and novel times in between and in the pure generation of fatemah many will be born, one after the other. therefore it is possible that from now onwards, a person from the pure offspring and generation of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) shall be born who is exhaustive of these characteristics and he will be the same Mahdi whom you talk about and who is referred to in the afore-said traditions. in spite of this possibility how is it that your reasoning can be exclusively attributed to hujjat muhammad (a.s.)?
we reply: if you acknowledge that before and after birth of the virtuous successor, nobody except him has been found to possess all those characteristics and signs then this very acknowledgement will be sufficient enough to substantiate these afore-said signs and characteristics for Mahdi.
moreover, your saying that in the future there exists the possibility of the coming someone appearing from the progeny of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) who would possess the afore-said signs, does not bring any damage in the effect of reasoning, nor acts as any obstacle. this is because the existing proof is prefered (due to its manifestness) than the possibility of appearance of (another) proof which is against it. thus it is not advisable to forsake the preferable proof for the sake of unpreferable proof. otherwise it will not be possible to act upon the existing and firm proof because there exists no reason but the possibility of an opposite proof being found against it in the future. however, as per the consensus of the 'ulemas' (scholars) the appearance of an opposite proof cannot serve as an obstacle to the existing proof (from being put into practice).
an example which can perfectly clarify and accentuate this matter is the saying of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) to omar-ibn-khattab (just as imam muslim-ibn-hajjaj has narrated the same in his 'sahih'). it goes as follows:
owais-ibn-aamer who belongs to the tribe of 'murad' shall come to you with the people of yemen in the future. moreover, a person from 'qarran', having been cured from his leprosy (except for one spot) will approach you. owais is indeed a good man living with his mother. if owais vows to Allah then that person will be fully cured from his leprosy. if possible, ask him to seek forgiveness on your behalf.
here, the prophet (s.a.w.a.) has mentioned owais-ibn-aamer's name, lineage and qualities and set them as the sign and proof such that if anyone is found possessing this name and quality and if he swears by Allah, then that person will be cured. moreover, he would be competent enough to seek forgiveness and this is a very great position and status before Allah.
after the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) and abu bakr 'passed away, omar-ibn-khattab used to inquire from someone amongst the people of y emen about the person who was endowed with those characteristics. this continued until harbingers came from yemen and omar-ibn-khattab asked them about that person. omar was informed about his coming and did not stop from acting upon those signs and guide-lines which the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) had set forth. rather, he took action and contacted that person. he asked him to seek forgiveness. he believed that he was the same person who had been pointed out by the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.). in spite of this possibility that perhaps in the near future, another person could appear with those characteristics which the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) had referred to, (not withstanding that the tribe of 'murad' were many in number and their offsprings rapidly multiplying). omar did not stop. the same possibility which you give for Mahdi, can be given here too.