The Birth of Imam Mahdi from the Viewpoint of Sunni Scholars
(1) Muhammad bin Talhah Shāfe’ī writes, “Abu al-Qāsim Muhammad bin al-Hassan (Imam Mahdi) was born in the year 258 A.H. (873 A.D.) in Samarra. His father’s name was Hassan. Among the titles [of this last Imam] are al-Hujjah (a proof from Allah), al-Khalaf al-Sālih (the righteous offspring) and al-Muntazhar (the awaited one).” Following this statement, he has related several traditions on the subject of Mahdi, and concluded his statement by saying, “These hadith-reports confirm the existence of Imam Hassan al-‘Askarī’s son, who is in concealment and will appear later.” (Matālib al-Su’ül (1287 A.H. edition), p. 89).
Due to the widely related and authentic traditions narrated from the Prophet, all Islamic scholars, whether Shiite or Sunni, are unanimous in believing that Imam Mahdi will indeed appear, reform the world and destroy all forms of oppression. Hence, all Muslims have faith in it and consider it to be an inseparable part of their religion. Yet, All Shiite scholars, without any exception, believe that Imam Mahdi has already been born and is living in the present time. But, many Sunni scholars say that he shall be born in the future. However, some of them have related the event of the birth of Imam Mahdi in their books. For instance:
(2) Muhammad bin Yūsuf, following his entry on the death of Imam Hassan al-‘Askarī, says, “He did not have any child except Muhammad. It is said that he is the same as the Awaited Imam (whose title is Mahdi).” (Kifāyat al-Tālib, p. 312).
(Sabāik al-Dhahab, p. 78).
(3) Ibn Sabbāgh Māliki writes, “Section Twelve, on the life of Abū al-Qāsim Muhammad, al-Hujjah, al-Khalaf al-Sālih, the son of Abū Muhammad al-Hassan (the eleventh Imam). He is the twelfth Imam of the Shia.” Then he records the history of the Imam and relates some traditions about him. (Al-Fusūl al-Muhimmah (Second edition), p. 273 and 286).
(8) Mīr Khawand writes, “Muhammad was the son of Hassan. His cognomen is Abū al-Qāsim. The Imamiyyah acknowledge that he is the Hujjah, the Qāim, and the Mahdi.” (Rawdāt al-Safā, vol. 3, p. 143).
(4) Sibt bin Jūzī, after writing his account about the life of Imam Hassan al-`Askarī, says, “His son’s name is Muhammad, and his patronymic is Abu `Abdullah and Abū al-Qāsim. He is the Proof of Allah’s existence, the Master of the Age, the Qāim, and the Muntazhar. The Imamate has come to an end with him.” (Tadhkirah Khawās al-Ummah, p. 363).
(9) Sha’rānī says, “Mahdi is the son of Imam Hassan al-‘Askarī. He was born on the fifteenth night of Sha’bān, 255 A.H. He is alive and will remain so until he will emerge with Jesus. Now it is 957 A.H. He is, thus, 703 years old.” (Al-Yawāqīt wa al-Jawāhir (1351 A.H. edition), vol. 2, p. 143).
(5) Shablanjī in the book entitled Nür al-Absār, writes, “Muhammad is the son of Hassan al-‘Askarī. His mother was a slave-girl by the name of Narjis. His cognomen is Abū al-Qāsim. The Twelver Shia knows him as al-Hujjah, al-Mahdi, al-Khalaf al-Sālih, alQāim, al-Muntazar, and the Master of the Age…” (Nür al-Absār (Cairo edition), p. 342).
(10) Sha‘rānī, quoting Ibn ‘Arabī’s Futūhāt Makkīyyah, section 366, writes, “When the earth will be filled with tyranny and injustice, Mahdi will rise and will fill the earth with justice and equity. He is one of the descendants of the Prophet and from the line of Fatima. He is from the descendants of Imam Hussain, and his father is Imam Hassan al-`Askarī,…” (Al-Yawāqīt wa al-Jawāhir (1351 A.H. edition), vol. 2, p. 143).
(6) Ibn Hajar, following the biography of Imam Hassan al-‘Askarī, writes, “He has not left a son except Abū al-Qāsim, who is known as Muhammad and al-Hujjah. That boy was five years old when his father passed away.” (Al-Sawāiq al-Muhriqah, p. 206).
(11) Khājah Parsā in his book Fasl al-Khitāb writes: “Muhammad, the son of Hassan al-Askarī, was born on the fifteenth night of Sha’bān, 255 A.H. (870 A.D.) His mother’s name was Narjis. His father passed away when he was five years of age. From that time until now he is in occultation. He is the awaited Imam of the Shia. His existence is well accepted among his companions, trusted associates, and family…” (As cited in Yanābī’al-Mawaddah, vol. 2, p. 126).
(7) MuhammadAmin al-Baghdādīwrites, “Muhammad, whois also known as Mahdi, was fiveyears old at the time of his father’s demise.”
(12) Abū al-Fallāh al-Hanbalī says, “Muhammad is the son of Hassan al-`Askarī… His cognomen is Abū al-Qāsim and the Shia knows him as al-Khalaf al-Sālih, al-Hujjah, al-Mahdi, alMuntazhar, and Sāhib al-Zamān (the Master of the Age.)” (Shazarāt al-Zahab (Beirut edition) vol. 2, p. 141).
(13) Muhammad bin `Ali al-Hamaw says, “Abū al-Qāsim Muhammad al-Muntazhar was born in the year 259 A.H. (874 A.D) in Samarra.” (Tā’rikh mansūrī, a microfilm copy of the Moscow manuscript folio number 114).
In short, besides all these above mentioned Sunni scholars numerous others have recorded the birth of Imam Hassan al-Askari’s son. What is important is that many of them confess that the cognomen or the title of the mentioned son is Mahdi. Add to it that many of them confess that he is the Promised Savior who will emerge in a day. (See the references compiled in Kashf al-Astār by Hussain bin Muhammad Taqī al- Nūrī and Kifāyat al-muwahhidīn by Tabarsī, especially volume 2).
Source: “Imam al-Mahdi, The Just Leader of Humanity”