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Authenticity of hadith related to Imam Mahdi (as) and Abdullah


As salamu alaykum

What is the authenticity of the hadith narrating: whoever guarantee the death of Abdullah, I guarantee him the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as)?



This narration for the very first time appeared in the book, Al-Gaybah of Sheikh Tusi (d. 460 AH) which was later quoted by many compilers of the books of hadith. There is no other source for this narration except this book of Sheikh Tusi.

عنه عن عثمان بن عيسى عن درست بن أبي منصور عن عمار بن مروان عن أبي بصير قال سمعت أبا عبد الله ع يقول من يضمن لي موت عبد الله أضمن له القائم ثم قال إذا مات عبد الله لم يجتمع الناس بعده على أحد و لم يتناه هذا الأمر دون صاحبكم إن شاء الله و يذهب ملك السنين و يصير ملك الشهور و الأيام فقلت يطول ذلك قال كلا

Al Gaybah Pg 447

Chain of narrators:

Sheikh Tusi (d 460 AH) quotes this narration from Fadl b. Shadhan (d 260 AH). The chain of narrators and its appraisement could be traced in the following points:

1. Fadl b. Shadhan: Sheikh Tusi (d 460 AH) cannot narrate directly from Fadl b. Shadhan (d 260 AH) so there has to be a link between Sheikh and Fadl. He has 2 links to the books of Fadl.

a. Fihrist links: The links which are described by Sheikh in his book Al-Fihrist.

أخبرنا (برواياته و كتبه) أبو عبد الله عن محمد بن علي بن الحسين عن محمد بن الحسن عن أحمد بن إدريس عن علي بن محمد بن قتيبة عن الفضل.

و رواها محمد بن علي بن الحسين عن حمزة بن محمد العلوي عن أبي نصر قنبر بن علي بن شاذان عن أبيه عن الفضل

Al Fihrist Pg 363 Entry No. 564​

Appraisement: Ayatullah Khuei says that both the links are weaker due to the presence of some non trust-worthy narrators! (Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith Vol 13 Pg 299)

Some scholars such as Sheikh Kashshi, Allama Hilli and few contemporaries like Ayatullah Zanjani and others tend to authenticate Ali b Muhammad b Qutaybah who was student of Fadl and based on this view, the chain should be sound.

b. Mashikha link: The link which Sheikh has mentioned in Al-Mashikha (Teachers) of his book Tahdhib al-ahkam.

وما ذكرته عن الفضل بن شاذان فقد اخبرني به الشيخ أبو عبد الله والحسين ابن عبيد الله وأحمد بن عبدون كلهم عن أبي محمد بن الحسن بن حمزة العلوي الحسيني الطبري عن علي بن محمد بن قتيبة النيسابوري  عن الفضل بن شاذان

وروى أبو محمد بن الحسن بن حمزة عن علي بن إبراهيم عن أبيه عن الفضل ابن شاذان

Tahdhib al Ahkam Vol 10 Pg 86

Appraisement: Ayatullah Khuei says that the link is reliable. (Mu’jam Rijal al Hadith Vol 13 Pg 299)

Although this link is reliable but there is no guarantee that Sheikh Tusi has narrated this tradition from Mashikha link, especially when he hasn’t quoted this in Tahdhib al Ahkam. Most likely, he is narrating the tradition from the previous link which is supposed to be unreliable as per Ayatullah Khuei’s appraisal. Yes, others may authenticate it due to their reliance on Ali b Muhammad b Qutaybah.

2. Uthman b ‘Isa: He used to be Waqifi, believer of the notion that Imam Kazim (as) is the last imam, but then he repented and returned to the belief in the Imamate of Imam Ridha (as). Ayatullah Khuei and Allama Shushtari authenticate him based on different arguments. However, his belief in other school of thought doesn’t make him unreliable in hadith. The only thing is that the hadith would be termed as “Muwatthaq” which is widely accepted among scholars.

3. Durust b Abi Mansur: He is from the Waqefi sect but many scholars who used to believe in the imamate of Imam Ridha (as) have narrated from him. Ayatullah Khuei and many contemporary scholars do consider his narrations to be sound.

4. Ammar b Marwan: al-Yashkuri. He is trustworthy according to many scholars.

5. Abu Basir: The famous companion of Imam Sadiq (as) who is considered among those who were very close to Imam Sadiq (as) and has widely reported some famous traditions.

Based on the above appraisal of the chain, there is some way to authenticate it but then too is has to be with many ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’.

To get familiar with the context and application of the hadith, plz refer to the below link:

NOTE: Ilm al Rijal is a complex science in the science of hadith. It’s not easy to accept or discard any hadith just on the basis of the authenticity of the narrators. They do have many parameters and principles based on which they authenticate a report or discard it. For non-academician, it is not advisable to indulge in the authenticity of the reports and should leave it to the experts.

The above exercise was just to demonstrate the complex nature of this science.

Kumail Rajani