Various Ahle Tasannun scholars have narrated traditions on the authority of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) which discuss the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) at the end of time. But we find that many people reject the existence and reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
Ahle Tasannun scholar Shaikh Ibrahim Hamveeni mentions in his book Faraaed al-Simtain, vol. 2, p. 334, tradition 585, that the famous companion of the Ahlul Bait (a.s.), Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari (a.r.) narrated from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) who said,
“One who rejects the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has rejected all that was revealed upon Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny).”
Few points are evident from this tradition.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) who taught us the rules of Prayers, Fasting, Pilgrimage, Charity and other religious aspects, also mentions in his tradition that one who rejects Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has rejected the entire Shariah. To reject the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is equivalent to rejecting his existence. The reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is one of the fundamental Islamic beliefs which is proven from Quranic verses and authentic traditions.
Therefore, anyone who rejects these beliefs is out of the realms of Islam according to the above prophetic tradition.
And it is also important that the belief in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) must be prior to his reappearance. Believing in him after his reappearance will not yield any benefit.
Ali Ibn Rabaab narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him) concerning Surah An’aam (6): Verse 158:
هَلْ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلاَّ أَنْ تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْمَلائِكَةُ أَوْ يَأْتِيَ رَبُّكَ أَوْ يَأْتِيَ بَعْضُ آياتِ رَبِّكَ يَوْمَ يَأْتي بَعْضُ آياتِ رَبِّكَ لا يَنْفَعُ نَفْساً إيمانُها لَمْ تَكُنْ آمَنَتْ مِنْ قَبْلُ أَوْ كَسَبَتْ في إيمانِها خَيْراً قُلِ انْتَظِرُوا إِنَّا مُنْتَظِرُونَ
“Do they wait for the angels to come to them, or that your Lord should come, or that some of the signs of your Lord should come? On the day when some of the signs of your Lord shall come, its faith shall not profit a soul which did not believe before, or earn good through its faith. Say: Wait; we too are waiting.”
[Surah An’aam (6): Verse 158]
Imam (peace be upon him) said,
“Here, the signs refer to the Imams of the Ahlul Bait (a.s) and some of the signs refer to Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Hence, one who does not believe in him prior to his reappearance will not benefit by believing in him when he (a.t.f.s.) rises with a sword, even if he believed in the other Imams already.”
Therefore, if a person believes in 124000 prophets and 11 Imams but does not believe in the Imamate of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), his belief in Prophethood and Imamate is incomplete. And it is also important that the belief in the existence of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) must be before his reappearance and not after he reappears with the Zulfiqar and destroys his enemies as believing at that time will not be of any use.
May Allah hasten the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), keep us steadfast in our belief in his existence and reappearance, and include us among his helpers.
Aameen, O Lord of the Worlds!