Q:) Is it a authenticate hadith tre will 2 eclipse?
A:) A Narhat Imam mahdi will come during the month of ramadan and also theration does appear in some books of hadith that a dual eclipse shall occur during the Ramadaan of the year in which Imam Mahdi is scheduled to make his appearance. For the benefit of readers, I reproduce the text and commentary of this particular narration:
Imam Ali bin Umar Dar-e-Qutni states in his collection of ahadith: ?My Ustaad Abu Saeed Istakhri narrates from his Ustaad Muhammad bin Abdullah, who narrates from his Ustaad Ubaid bin Ya?eesh, and he narrates from Yunus bin Bukair, and he from Amar bin Shamir, and he from Jaabir who narrates that Muhammad bin Ali said:
'Verily, for our Mahdi there are two signs which have never as yet concurred since the creation of the heavens and earth; first is the eclipse of the moon on the first night of Ramadan, and second is the eclipse of the sun during the middle of that same Ramadan. This (concurrence of a solar and lunar eclipse) has never happened since Allah created the heavens and earth.'
(Dare Qutni vol.2 p.65)
THE CHAIN OF TRANSMISSION:
Sanad or Isnaad are Arabic terms which mean the chain of transmission through which a hadith or narration is transmitted. In order to verify whether a hadith or narration is authentic and reliable, the narrators whose names appear in the sanad are scrutinised. This procedure, known in Islamic terminology as Jarah wa Ta'deel, was used extensively by the Imams and Muhadditheen of old. They have set out a code of conduct according to which they examined and critically analysed the narrators of any hadith. If even one Raawi (narrator) is discovered to be unreliable or untrustworthy, the entire narration becomes seriously suspect. Such a hadith or narration can never be accepted as a basis for any Islamic belief or practice. They adopted this procedure in order to prevent fabrications and false narratives from creeping into the pristine pure teachings of Islam. It has quite rightly been said: ?If these chains of transmission were non-existent then everyone and anyone would say what they like.? Upon studying the chain of transmission quoted above we firstly notice that this sanad does not reach right up to Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. It stops on Muhammad bin Ali, the great-grandson of Ameerul Mumineen Hazrat Ali radhiyallahu anhu. Such a narration, where there is no direct link with Rasoolullah sallall?hu alaihi wasallam, is termed Munqati?, and most Ulema do not regard such a transmission as tenable proof for any Deeni practice or belief. Secondly, two names appear in this chain, viz. Amar bin Shamir and Jaabir. Let us now study statements of the Muhadditheen regarding the authenticity and integrity of these two:
The author, Imam Dare Qutni himself, after quoting this narration, singles out these two figures in the chain of transmission and states: ?Both are unreliable narrators. Their narrations are not admissible as proof to substantiate any claim.? (Dare Qutni vol.2 p.65)
Allama Zhahabi, a great authority on hadith has the following entry in his famous critique, Meezaanul I'tidaal:
Amar bin Shamir: A Shia from Kufa. Yahya (bin Mu'een) says: (He is) a non-entity.? Jauzjaani says: A misguided impostor. Ibni Hibbaan says: This man is a Shia who insults the Sahaba, and fabricates narrations in the name of authentic Ulema. Imam Bukhari says: His narrations are rejected. Yahya says: His narrations should not be recorded. Suleimani says: This Amar used to fabricate narrations for the Shias. Imam Nasaai says: His narrations have been discarded.
(Meezaanul I'tidaal vol. P.268)
Allama Ibni Hajar quotes the following in his work, Lisaanul Meezaan: Ibni Abi Haatim says: I asked my father(Abu Haatim) about him (Amar bin Shamir), and he replied: His ahadeeth are totally rejected, a weak narrator, a person one should never get involved with. The Muhadditheen have forsaken him. Abu Abdullah Haakim (a high ranking authority on hadith) states: He has many fabrications narrated from Jabir Ju?afi, and no-one else besides him (Amar bin Shamir) narrate these blatant fabrications from Jabir.
(Lisaanul Meezaan vol. P. 367)
From the above it is evident that this narration is very weak and flimsy, and cannot serve as the basis for any firm belief or practice. You will notice many signs attributed to Imam Mehdi's appearance in the books of hadith, which are derived from extremely weak, unsound, and doubtful narrations. Some of these appear to come from Shia sources, of which the above is a typical example. Note the words, Verily, for our Mahdi..... The Shiahs have their own concept of a Imam Mehdi, which differs vastly to what the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama-ah believe and teach.
Apart from the above, let us consider some other aspects to this narration. Assuming that the narration is sound and good, the content matter is difficult to reconcile with scientific evidence (which we are presently using to figure out these signs). It states that the lunar eclipse will occur on the first night of Ramadaan. Now it is common knowledge that lunar eclipses only occur when there is full moon, and that can be on the 13th , 14th , or 15th nights of the Islamic month. According to the information obtained from the Observatory, the lunar eclipse will occur on 9 November, and that should be somewhere in the middle of Ramadaan. Logically too, one cannot imagine an eclipse of the new moon (which too many may happen every month when they go out to sight the moon!).
Secondly, this particular concurrence of eclipse, I believe, will not be visible from the same belt of earth. The lunar eclipse on November 9, 2003 will be visible from America, Africa, and Europe, while the solar eclipse on 23 November will be seen from Antarctica (of all places). For this sign to be accepted, both eclipses must be seen from the same belt of earth, and in particular, from Arabia, for this is the context of this sign of Imam Mehdi. It seems that this is not the case with this particular eclipse. When I enquired from the same Observatory several years ago about the same phenomenon, they replied that a dual eclipse is not uncommon and happens often. (That is, at different parts of the world) They provided some charts which depict different areas where both solar and lunar eclipses will occur over the next two decades (i.e. up to 2015), advising me to study these charts. Apparently they were too busy to enlist places and dates where a dual eclipse was to occur. Nonetheless, this observation of the Observatory (if you'll excuse the pun) that such a happening is not uncommon means that you will frequently find a situation when in one area of the world there is a solar eclipse and, concurrently, at another place there is a lunar eclipse. This, of course, can and does happen frequently. They further stated that a dual eclipse from the same belt of the earth is less frequent. Well, if you can recall, in June 1992, here in South Africa we had a similar experience of a lunar and solar eclipse in the month of June, for which we even offered Salaatul-Kusoof in the Musjid. Both were visible in South Africa.
Thirdly, the signs attributed to Imam Mehdi are all unique in their occurrence. This dual eclipse, too, must be unique. Yet, it appears that such a dual eclipse in one month in the same area of the world has already happened. The words in the narration clearly state that "this has never happened since Allah created the world". So if we are to accept the narration as it is, with an eclipse of new moon and all, how do we reconcile this statement when we have already experienced a dual eclipse in one month? Yes, one might say that such an event has never happened before IN RAMADAAN, or that an eclipse of the new moon has never yet occurred, and it may be a "first". The first is possible, the second (of it being a "first") improbable, but the first is dependent upon acceptance of the second - first accept that eclipse of the new moon is possible, then say it will happen for the first time in Ramadaan.
Furthermore, a lunar eclipse is called such because the entire moon is cast into shadow, and that's what makes it so dramatic. But the crescent at the start of an Islamic month is already barely noticeable, what's so grand about it not being noticed at all? (Ask the people of PE who go moon-sighting every month!)
Lets move on to another aspect. Sorry for the quick shift in line of thought, for perhaps you may need time to sift through my maze of confusion above. Leaving alone the authenticity of such an event, what is important is not to create hysteria among people for no reason. Also, not to present something of Islam which may turn out to be false. The prediction we now discuss was brought up several years earlier by a certain Moulana. I believe some people, after listening to his talk of the dual eclipse in 2003 or 2004, actually intended selling up and going to settle in Makka to await the coming of Imam Mehdi. Now this is not healthy for anyone. Besides, the hadith shareef is very clearly THAT IMAM MEHDI WILL APPEAR WHEN PEOPLE LEAST EXPECT, AND THE FIRST GROUP OF ULEMA AND BUZRUGS WHO TAKE BAY'AT AT HIS HANDS WILL DO SO UNEXPECTEDLY. Now if this is the case with the pious people who will be honoured to take first bay'at at his hands, do we think we can do better by either searching out for him, or awaiting his advent? This is something that will take its natural course. None of the signs are such that people can actually predict them with accuracy. Yes, once it really happens, then one can attribute it to the Imam. Once Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Ali were passing by a certain area of Iraq, on the banks of the Tigris or Euphrates River. The former remarked: "I've heard Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) speak of the treasures that this area will throw up. Perhaps I should make an attempt to unearth these treasures (thus fulfilling the prophecy)." Ali (Radhiyallahi anhu) said: "O Ameerul-Mumineen, forget it and just keep walking ahead. These treasures are not your department. Instead a youth among the Quraish, who will be called Mehdi, will see to this." This incident proves that such signs must take their fixed course and cannot be pre-empted.
I believe that we should concentrate on the signs that are chronicled in authentic and sound ahadith, so that we are sure of our teaching and belief, and we do not run the risk of inadvertently endorsing a Shiaconcept. Despite extensive research we could not find any other hadith book recording this event as given above, besides the work of Imam Daare-qutni, from which we have obviously quoted. Sometimes the author will cite a narrative purely to reject and criticise it, which I think is what the author of Daarie-Qutni has done. Also, all subsequent books that do mention this event quote it from the same Daar-e-Qutni.
Insha-Allah, an updated version of our book, The Story of Imam Mahdi will soon be handed in for publication. We shall be referring therein to this incident.