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The title of Imam Mahdi "Al-Qa’im" (The Riser): Part 1

imam mahdi (a.s)

QUESTION: As everyone knows, one of the titles of the Mahdi (may Allah hasten his return) is "Al-Qa’im" (The Riser). A tradition has been related regarding the reason for his being given this title that requires contemplation, since it apparently indicates that this title was given because that personage will reappear after death. Yet we have over approximately one thousand traditions regarding that personage, his occultation, and long life, in view of which that tradition cannot be relied upon. However, if some clarifications about its narrators, text, and meaning can be given, it would be useful.

ANSWER: The great scholar Shaykh al-Tusi narrates an unreliable tradition that apparently indicates that the "Qa’im" was given this title because he will arise after death. Shaykh al-Tusi has provided a bit of explanation about this tradition, but before we enter this topic, we consider it necessary to mention the basics of Imamate in Shiaism, which verses of the Noble Qur’an, traditions, and rational proofs affirm. These principles are as follows:

1. Imamate is a Divine covenant, and individuals””who are worthy of bearing it””are specified and appointed by Allah, and this Divine selection and appointment is announced to the people by the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family).

2. The most important conditions of the Imam are sinlessness and being more knowledgeable than all other people, such that all be in need of his knowledge, guidance, and direction, which he be free of need of all, as has been related about Khalil ibn Ahmad that he said about the Imamate of Amir al-Mu’minin (peace be upon him):

إِحْتِيَاجُ الْكُلِّ إِلَيْهِ وَاسْتِغَنَاۆُهُ عَنِ الْكُلِّ دَلِيلٍ عَلَى أَنَّهُ إِمَامٌ الْكُلِّ

"The dependence of all others on him and his independence from all others are proof that he is the Imam of all."[1]

3. The earth will never be without a Divine Proof and Imam, and whoever dies without having recognized the Imam of his time dies the death of ignorance.

4. The Imams, as per the text of mutawatir traditions from the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family), are twelve personages.

5. They are twelve and all are from the Ahl-ul-Bayt (peace be upon them) of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family), and according to the meaning of the mutawatir traditions of Thaqalayn (The Two Weighty Things), they are equals of the Qur’an and shall never part from the Qur’an.

6. The Imams possess all of the religious and administrative stations except prophethood, which was sealed with the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family). And as Imam ‘Ali (peace be upon him) has said in Nahj al-Balagha, they are قوام الله, or the Divine Guardians2 over the creation, and on the basis of another tradition, they are the ship of salvation.


لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ إِلاَّ مَنْ عَرَفَهُمْ وَعَرَفُوهُ وَلاَ يَدْخُلُ النَّارَ إِلاَّ مَنْ أَنْكَرَهُمْ وَهُمْ سَفَنٌ النَّجَاةِ وَأَمَانٌ الأُمَّةِ مِنَ الضَّلاَلِ وَالإِخْتِلاِفِ
“None shall enter Paradise except one who recognizes them and whom they recognize, and none shall enter Hell except one who denies them; they are the ships of salvation and refuge of the ummat from deviation and discord.”‌3

7. The name, qualities, and order of the Imamate of the Imams (peace be upon them) was specified by the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family), and in addition, each Imam specified the following Imam.

These are among the important foundations of belief in the principle of Imamate, and for every Muslim who believes in the unseen world and in Allah, and the messengership of the Seal of the Prophets (peace be upon him and his family), the criterion of truth of these fundamentals is a rational proof, Qur’anic verse, or definite and mutawatir tradition. And most of these fundamentals can be proven by all three means.

Source: Taken from Discussions Concerning al-Mahdi (May Allah Hasten His Return) by Ayatullah Lutfullah as-Safi al-Gulpaygani


1. Mu’jam Rijal al-hadith, Volume 7, Page 76 and Tanfih al-Maqal, Volume 1, Page 403

2. Nahj al-Balagha, Subhi al-Salih, Speech 152, Part 7

3. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 6, Page 233

Other links:

Remember Him to Be Remembered by Him

The Companions of Imam Mahdi

Ways to Be in Touch with Imam of the Time

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