Two Hundred Questions and Answers about Imām of the Time

Author: Sayyid Jaʿfar Mūsavīnasab
Reviewed by: Morteza Karimi

Sayyid Jaʿfar Mūsavīnasab, Divīst Pursish va Pāsukh Pīramūn-i Imām Zamān (a) (Two Hundred Questions and Answers about Imām of the Time (a)), 3rd ed., 2 vol., Qom: Farhang-i Minhāj Publication, 1386, vol. 2: 304 pp.

There are many questions about the doctrine of Imamate in general and for each of the Imāms (a) in particular. However, the life and Imamate of Imām Mahdī (a) has features that have led to the raising of various questions about his birth, Imamate in childhood, minor occultation, major occultation, waiting, reappearance, return (rajʿa), and formation of the world government, and on this basis, answering these questions is one of the important duties of Shiʿa scholars. Divīst Pursish va Pāsukh Pīramūn-i Imām Zamān (a) (Two Hundred Questions and Answers about Imām of the Time (a)) in 2 volumes in Persian by Sayyid Jaʿfar Mūsavīnasab answers 200 questions in the field of Mahdism. This review introduces the second volume in which 89 questions are answered.

Sayyid Jaʿfar MūsavīnasabBorn in 1347 (solar) in Nayshabur, Iran, Sayyid Jaʿfar Mūsavīnasab is a contemporary Shiʿa scholar and expert in Mahdism. Among his other works, mention should be made of Hizār Pursish va Pāsukh (One Thousand Questions and Answers), and Ibtilāʾ dar Qurʾān (Test in the Qurʾān).

The second volume of Divīst Pursish va Pāsukh Pīramūn-i Imām Zamān (a) consists of 5 chapters. As it is the continuation of the topics in the first volume in which 111 questions are answered in 9 chapters, this volume begins with the 10th chapter and 112th question. It is to be noted that each chapter has a specific topic and questions related to that topic are answered and after each answer, sources for further study are introduced.

The tenth chapter is about one of the important topics on Mahdism, namely the conditions and signs of the reappearance, and 28 questions and answers are raised in it, such as what are the material and spiritual signs of the reappearance? What is the common point of signs of reappearance in different religions? What is the difference between the signs of reappearance and the conditions of reappearance? What are the definite signs of the reappearance? Who are Dajjāl, Sufyānī, al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, Yamānī, and Khurāsānī? What is meant by the heavenly call, tābūt and dābbat al-arḍ? Does the fight against oppression delay the reappearance of Imām Mahdī (a)? What is the view of Huntington, Toffler and Fukuyama about the end of history and what is their criticism? Does the reappearance of Imām Mahdī (a) depend on the preparation of 313 people?

The eleventh chapter of Divīst Pursish va Pāsukh Pīramūn-i Imām Zamān (a) contains 15 questions and answers about the companions and supporters of Imām Mahdī (a), including what are their number and characteristics? What is the meaning of Nujabāʾ, Abdāl, Awtād and Nuqabāʾ in the narrations? Are the residences of Imām Mahdī’s companions mentioned in the narrations? Are women among the companions of Imām Mahdī (a)?

The next chapter is about the events related to the reappearance and uprising of Imām Mahdī (a), and in it, Sayyid Jaʿfar Mūsavīnasab answers 19 questions, including whether Imām Mahdī (a) is aware of the time of his reappearance. What day is his reappearance? Does he reappear from the Sardāb? How does Imām Mahdī (a) introduce himself on the day of his reappearance? Is the claim that some Muslim scholars oppose Imām Mahdī (a) after his reappearance true? What is Imām Mahdī’s weapon for fighting his enemies? Does Imām Mahdī (a) force everyone to become Muslim? Will Imām Mahdī (a) take revenge on the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (a)? Does Imām Mahdī (a) kill Satan after his reappearance?

Sixteen questions related to the rule and government of Imām Mahdī (a) have been answered in the thirteenth chapter of Divīst Pursish va Pāsukh Pīramūn-i Imām Zamān (a), such as what is the fate of the infidels after the reappearance of Imām Mahdī (a)? Where is his seat of government? Who are the agents of his government? What is the rate of war and killing after the reappearance? How long is Imām Mahdī’s rule? How will Imām Mahdī (a) die and who will run the Islamic government after him? What is the duration of human life after his reappearance?

Finally, the last chapter on the topic of rajʿa (return to life after Imām Mahdī’s reappearance) contains 11 questions and answers, including what is rajʿa and its purpose, and who will be revived after the reappearance of Imām Mahdī (a)? Is it necessary to believe in rajʿa? Is it possible to prove the possibility of rajʿa with Qurʾānic verses and narrations? Is rajʿa for believers and unbelievers optional or mandatory? Will the previous Imāms (a) come back to life and rule?

The appendix of the first volume about the introduction of 44 sites on Mahdism is also included at the end of the second volume.