Mahdi’s Reign

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My question is about 3 similar hadiths:

“Indeed there will be a Mahdi who comes in my Ummah (ruling) living for five, or seven, or nine.”- Zaid was the one in doubt- He said: “We said: What is that?” He said: “Years.” He said: “A man will come to him and say: O Mahdi! ‘Give to me, give to me! So he will fill in his garment whatever he is able to carry.'”
Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2232

“The Mahdi will be among my nation. If he lives for a short period, it will be seven, and if he lives for a long period, it will be nine, during which my nation will enjoy a time of ease such as it has never enjoyed. The land will bring forth its yield and will not hold back anything, and wealth at that time will be piled up. A man will stand up and say: ‘O Mahdi, give me!’ He will say: ‘Take.'”
Sunan ibn majah 4039

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead a prominent nose. He will fill the earth will equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years.
Sunan Abi Dawud 4285

What is the correct amount of years that the Mahdi will rule for according to scholars?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner, thank you raising this issue.

According to Mubarakpuri, the commentator on Jami al-Tirmidhi, the correct position is seven years. This is because seven years has been mentioned unequivocally in the hadiths of Umm Salama and Abu Said al-Khudri (Allah be well pleased with them) in the Sunan of Abu Dawud mention seven years explicitly. (Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, Mubarakpuri)

That said, this is not a tenet of faith, and I am sure there are other valid interpretations that marry the apparent conflict.

In his essay on the Mahdi, Abdullah al-Ghumari cites numerous hadiths in which the variation of number is mentioned by the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) himself. (al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar, Abdullah al-Ghumari) In which case, the numbers are just approximations, and not a product of doubt or inaccuracy. Allah knows best.

I pray this helps.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed. 

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