The location of Imam Mahdi (as) or of the Yamani (as) is varied according to the narrations. Some mention Mecca, Medina and ‘Rukn and Maqam’ (between the Corner and the Station); whereas others mention Iraq, Kufa, Najaf and Basra. Additionally the Yamani according to few narrations is stated as being from Yemen, some of these narrations include this information in brackets showing that it was added and not in the original hadith. We will consider both cases if the Yamani is truly from Yemen or not. In any case, there are many locations mentioned so it must be considered that either some of these locations are symbolic or that the starting place is one and the others are migrations or battle places.
The Hadiths are countless and only a few will be mentioned here focusing on showing the most commonly mentioned locations and which one the Yamani will appear from.
The following hadith mentions the presence of the Qaim (as) between Ruqn and Maqam and being in Mecca. It also mentions that his Minister (wazeer) is with him:
Imam Jaafer a.s says: “So the Qa’em will stand between the Rukn and Maqam and with him is his Minister(wazeer). And he shall emerge from Mecca, him and who was with him from the 300 and few men, and they will pledge allegiance to him between the Rukn and Maqam. He will have the promise of the Prophet of Allah pbuhap and his banner. So he shall pray and leave, and with him is his minister.”
Bihar Al Anwar v.52 p.222-223
Here there are black flags from Khurasan and Kufa, and when the Mahdi (as) appears in Mecca they will rush to him:
Imam Al Baqer(a.s)said:”The black flags that will come from Khurasan and Kufa, they will head-on ,and so if the Mahdi in Mecca appears, they will all go after the Baya'(allegiance)to the Mahdi.“
Uqd AlDurar p.129
The following is a long Hadith showing the encounters between the Sufyani supporters and those of the Mahdi (as). Our focus is not on the details but on the locations. As can be seen, the Hadith mentions Kufa then Mecca then Kufa then even Kurasan then Kufa, then Medina then Kufa then Mecca then Medina then Kufa numerous times and Basra. The distance between Iraq and Mecca is not short yet this hadith mentions activities taking place in them as if they are side by side cities and not in different countries.
Narrated from AlHukm son of Nafe from Jarah-From Arta’a he said “AlSufyani will enter to AlKufi and will capture it for three days, and kill 60,000 from its people, and will stay there for 8 nights, dividing his money. He shall enter into Mecca after he fights the Turks, and the Romans in Qirqeesya. And then he shall part them from behind, so a party will retreat to Khurasan. And so the horse(means of transportation) of the Sufynani gets killed (destroyed), and the barriers shall be destroyed until he enters Kufa. And will call the people of Khurasan. So then from Khurasan there will be a gathering that calls for the Mahdi. And so then the Sufyani will be sent to the Medina, and so a group from the family of Muhammad will be taken away, until they reach AlKufa, and then the Mahdi will appear and the Mansoor(victor) from AlKufa escaping and so then the Sufyani will be calling them, when the Mahdi and the Mansoor reach Mecca, the army of Sufyani will reach Baida’, and so a landslide will unfold. So then the Mahdi appears until he passes Medina, and so he rescues all who were from Bani Hashem, and the black banners will appear until they reach the waters, and they will call out whoever is in Kufa from the supporters of Sufyani that they are coming and so then they will escape. And then when they reach Kufa, they will rescue all of who was from Bani Hashem, and a group of people will emerge from the blacks of Kufa who are called the Asab, almost none of them have weapons except a few, and among them is a man from Basra, so then they will march to the supporters of Sufyani, and they will rescue whoever was with them from the capturing of AlKufa, and so the black banners will be marching to give allegiance to the Mahdi.”
Book of Fitan by Ibn hamad1/308 -893
It is very possible that Mecca and Medina are symbolic for places within Iraq that have religious significance to them. It is known that the Mahdi will be from the descendants of Prophet Muhammed (sawas) through his daughter Fatima and his brother-in-law Ali (as). And who else would the Mahdi(as) come from? It was Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) who was the closest to the Prophet (sawas) and gained knowledge from him about everything in Islam and knew every detail regarding each Quranic verse that was revealed. And Imam Ali (as) and most of the Imams from his sons are buried in Iraq. So if Iraq is the home of his ancestors where else is it more likely for the Mahdi appear from?
Soon we will look at some Hadith pinpointing the appearance of the Yamani from Kufa and Basra. But first let us state that it is not established that the Yamani appears from Yemen especially with so many other locations mentioned. The attribute of “from Yemen” is unlikely to be referring to a physical location but rather of his descent through his ancestors who are ‘Yemenites’ (from Yemen). According to the below Hadiths, Mecca is from Tuhama, and Tuhama is from Yemen. Thus the Messenger of God Muhammed (sawas) is “from Yemen” and he is a Yemenite/Yamani and so are his offspring, including the Yamani, by lineage.
According to Alama Al-Majlesi (May Allah be pleased with him) regarding the reason for the Ka’aba being called ‘the Yamani Ka’aba’: “Because Faith(Imaan) started from Mecca which is Tuhama from the region of Yemen, it was thus called: The Yamani Kaaba.”
Bihar AlAnwar v.22 p.137
From the Messenger of God (sawas): “… The best of men are the citizens of Yemen, and the faith is strong [there] and I am a Yamani.”
Bihar AlAnwar Vol 57, page 232.
Next we see that the Yamani who comes from the East and holds the Mahdi’s Banner (as), is the same man who ” comes before the Mahdi from his family from the East”:
The Prophet pbuh took the hand of Al-Abbas and the hand of Ali a.s and said: “There shall be a man from the offspring of this man(Abbas) who shall fill the earth with injustice and tyranny, and there shall be a man from the offspring of this man(Ali) who shall spread the earth with justice and tranquility, so if you see this happening, then it is incumbent on you to go with the man who is a Yemeni; for he shall come from the East, and he is the one with the banner of the Mahdi.”
AlMahdi alMuntather alMaw’ood, v.1 p.107, Door.4, Hadith.3
Imam Ali a.s said: “A man will come out before the Mahdi from his ahlulbayt (family) in the East, he carries the sword on his shoulder for eight months; killing and mutilating; and he goes towards Baytul Maqdis and he does not die until he reaches it.”
Kanz Al Umal v.7 p.261
Below it mentions “the Grand Truthful one” who migrates twice to Kufa, and goes to Basra having activities in both areas. This prophecised person has “the Banner of Guidance” which is an attribute belonging only to the Yamani during the End times, thus it emphasizes the Yamani’s presence in Kufa and Basra.
Imam Ali (as) said: “And the Grand Truthful one will advance with the Banner of Guidance, and the Thulfiqaar Sword and the Rod; until he descends twice to the Land of migration (hijrah), and it is Kufa. He will demolish Kufa’s Mosque and rebuild the Mosque according to its earlier construction. And also demolish what is in front of the Mosque from Houses of the Tyrants.
He will advance toward Basra until he controls its ocean. He has the Ark of the Covenant (Chest that holds the 2 Tablets containing the Ten Commandments) and Moses’ Staff (pbuh). He then decides on it and exhales a Sigh in Basra; so it turns into a bottomless ocean. [So] it drowns, and nothing remains in it except its Mosque, like the Prow (front) of a Boat on the surface of the water.”
Besharat Al Islam, Door.2, Hadith.240
This next Hadith tells of 12 “known” banners in Kufa before the time of the Sufyani. Whereas a man from the sons of Hussayn (as) raises a Banner in Kufa and calls to his father. The raising of a banner implies that it is a new movement which is started by this person and also is not known like the other 12 around it. This man is the Yamani who “calls to Imam Mahdi (as)” who is his father.
From Abi Jaafer (a.s): “And then the cursed Sufyani will appear and will appear among them all. And before it 12 banners will be raised in Kufa which are known, and someone from AlKufa will rise, he is from the sons of Al-Husayn (a.s) calling to his father. And so the Sufyani will send forth his armies.”
Book of Fitan for Abi Na’eem v.1 p.28
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