Al-Arba'in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin

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Al-Arba'in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin (Forty [Hadith] concerning the Mahdis) by Shah Ismail Shaheed (26 April 1779 – 6 May 1831) Balakot, Pakistan. Al-Arba'in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin is a small book consisting of 50 pages. As the name suggests it has forty Ahadith in it, all these traditions pertain to the appearance of Imam Mahdi in the Ummah of Muhammad. The author Shah Ismail Shaheed was the son of Shah Abdul-Ghani, and the grandson of Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi. Shah Ismail Shaheed died in action at Balakot fighting against the Sikh Raj on 6 May 1831. The book has been published some 20 years after his death by a Publisher at Misri Ganj Calcutta on the 25 Muharram 1268 Hijri (21 November 1851 G). The publisher writes, he has appended the "very famous Ode" of Shah Nimatullah Wali(1330-1431) at the end of the book.[1][2] This printed copy of the "Ode" [1851 AD] of Shah Nimatullah Wali(1330-1431) is probably the oldest published copy available at this time. According to Professor C. M. Naim of Chicago University,calling this copy of the "Ode" Q1, " ...had long existed, and was undoubtedly copied and shared by thousands of people, its debut in the political discourse of South Asian Muslims occurred near the middle of the 19th century. According to Qamar Islampuri, it appeared as a part of a book called Al-Arba'in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin ("Forty [Hadith] concerning the Mahdis"), ascribed to "Shah Isma'il 'Shahid' and published at Misri Gunj, Calcutta, on Muharram 25, 1268 AH (21 November 1851)".[3]


The booklet contains some of the famous Ahadith (saying of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad), a few are discussed below.

Reformer in every Century[edit]

On the first page of the book, the author has mentioned the Hadith:

Abu Hurairah narrated from the Holy Prophet, " "Allah shall raise for this Ummah at the head of every century a man who shall renew (or revive) for it its religion.".[4]

This is the basis of the belief of Mujaddids in the past centuries, some times lists are given to that effect.

Death in Ignorance[edit]

There is another Hadith on page 7 of the (PDF page):

"Whoever did not recognize the Imam (Reformer/Guide) of his age, and died (in such a state), he died the death of Ignorance" (page 7)

The Jihad in India[edit]

Two ahadith about a prophecy regarding Jihad in India on page 8 of the book:

"Abu Hurairah narrates, The Messenger of Allah gave us the promise of Jihad in India. And if I happen to see that, and offer my life and my wealth in it, it would be the most superior kind of Martyrdom. And if I return alive, I am free of the Fire (of Hell).".[Sunan Al-Nisai, chapter: Jihad in India by Al-Nasa'i (829-915 CE)]
" Narrated by Thobaan, the Messenger of Allah said,"Two parties of my Ummah have been saved from the Fire (of Hell) by Allah. One, who will wage Jihad in India, and the other, who will accompany the Messiah Jesus son of Mary ".[Sunan Al-Nisai, chapter: Jihad in India by Al-Nasa'i (829-915 CE)]

Khilafat to Khilafat[edit]

On page 12, the author mentions a prophecy of Muhammad as narrated by Huzaifa, to the effect that Muhammad's Prophethood shall be followed by a Khilafat on the principles of Prophethood and then...:

"Prophethood shall remain among you as long as Allah shall will. He will bring about its end and follow it with Khilafat on the precepts of prophethood for as long as He shall will and then bring about its end. A tyrannical monarchy will then follow and will remain as long as Allah shall will and then come to an end. There will follow thereafter monarchial despotism to last as long as Allah shall will and come to an end upon His decree. There will then emerge Khilafat on the precept of Prophethood." The Holy Prophet said no more and became quiet". (Masnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Mishkat, Chapter Al-Anzar Wal Tahzir.) (Al-Arba'in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin page 12-13)

Predicting the year of Jesus Descent[edit]

A page from Al-Arba'in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin page-28 (Line with words 1883 and 1300 Hijri)

This booklet contains many Ahadith about the Second Coming of Jesus son of Mary from different sources of Ahadith like the Al-Bukhari, the Sahih Muslim, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban and Sunan al-Bayhaqi of Al-Bayhaqi etc. The recurring theme is, "How (happy) will you be when the son of Mary (Jesus) descends amongst you".

The author Shah Ismail Shaheed (of Al-Arba'in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin), by drawing a line over the words كيف انتم اذا نزل ابن مريم فيكم ; and using the Gematria or the Abjad numerals has calculated the Value of the phrase, (by adding the Arabic phrase letter-by-letter and getting its cumulative value according to the Abjad numerals), printing over the line the words: Year 1883 CE and as of Hijri Year 1300 (Hijri).

Ode from Nimatullah[edit]

At the end of the book, the Publisher has appended the well known Ode of Nimatullah (1330-1431). The idea of appending these verses of the Great Sufi poet and Mystic of the 14th Century, Nimatullah, appears to be that he thought these verses closely described the same theme which the collection of those 40 Ahadith tend to do, i.e. the appearance of the Mahdi and Messiah. Here are some of these verses, (pages 48–51 of the PDF Copy):

"I do not say all this by reading the stars: Nay! I relate what God Almighty has told me. Immediately after the passage of twelve hundred years, I see terrible things happening.
I see that a new coin is struck, Whose value is less than it seems.
I see the face of the moon darkened; And the heart of the sun I see wounded.
I envision the joy of meeting the Sweetheart; I envision the rising of the sun of a happy spring.
When his tenure comes to its successful end, I see that he will be succeeded by his illustrious son.
I foresee that aristocrats and nobles; Will become his faithful disciples.
He resembles the Holy Prophet in his appearance; And I find him to be of placid disposition and I see him as the universally accepted leader; The whole world following him faithfully.
I see the name of that illustrious personage written; And I read: Alif, Ha, Mim, and Dal (A H M D)
With his advent I see that the faith of the world shall prosper; And mankind will float upon a wave of good fortune.
I see that he is the Mahdi and the Messiah of the age; And he is the champion in both capacities.
I see the whole world has become like one big city.... "


  1. ^ "Ni’matullah Wali is famous in India as a man of vision and a prefect saint. ... these verses, famous in Hindustan, are found. They are published here since they contain a description of the [expected] Mahdi. Written on the 25th of Muharram, 1268 " [1]
  2. ^ Arbaeen-Fi-Ahwaal-al-Mahdiyyeen by Shah Ismail Shaheed (1851)
  3. ^ ‘Prophecies’ in South Asian Muslim Political Discourse: The Poems of Shah Ni’matullah Wali by C M Naim Professor Emeritus of South Asian Languages and Civilisations at the University of Chicago, United States.[2]
  4. ^ Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 37: Kitab al-Malahim [Battles], Hâdith Number 4278