Are there also women among the 313 companions of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ, based on Shia and Sunni sources?
In Islamic sources various numbers of Imam Mahdi’s companions have been presented some of which can be attributed to a certain group of these companions. But today quotations indicating that the companions are 313, are more famous and anyway they do not belong to a certain geographical region and it’s not about the number of all the followers of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ, but only includes those by whom help Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ will commence his movement and are somehow the top commanders and administrators of Imam Mahdi’s ᴾᴮᵁᴴ government. It is not exactly indicated that who many of Imam Mahdi’s companions are woman and it may be doubted that even there is even a woman among his particular companions is doubtful. Because most quotations that are cited about the 313 individuals of Imam Mahdi’s companions in credible Shia and Sunni books, have all mentioned men and among these quotations there is only one quotation from Shia and one from Sunnis that have said that there are fifty women among these particular companions.
Hence in this text first we examine the quotations that explain the male companions of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ from Sunni and Shia sources and at the end we examine the quotations that consider women as companions of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ.
First quotation: Hakim al-Nishapuri
“Muhammad al-Hanafiyyah says: We were with Imam Ali ᴾᴮᵁᴴ when a person asked about Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ. Imam Ali ᴾᴮᵁᴴ said: That’s so far. Then Imam Ali ᴾᴮᵁᴴ closed his hands seven times and said: He (Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ) will rise in the last era, when one may be killed if he says Allah Allah. Then God Almighty gathers a group that were separate like scattered clouds and makes them friends so that they fear no one and be unhappy if someone enters their gathering and be added to them and their number is the same as Badr companions and neither the previous ones nor those who come in the future won’t measure up to their status and excellence and they are the same in numbers as Talut’s companions that were with him while passing the river.”
Hakim al-Nishapuri, al-Mustadrak ala Saheehayn, v. 4, p. 554
Second quotation: Ibn Naim
حدثنا سعيد أبو عثمان عن جابر عن عن أبي جعفر قال ثم يظهر المهدي بمكة عند العشاء ….سنته فيظهر في ثلثمائة وثلاثة عشر رجلا عدة أهل بدر.
Al-fetan, Abi Abd-Allah Naim ibn Himad, v 1, p 213
Third quotation: Maqdisi
وقيل : إنه يخرج من واد بأرض الشام … ، ويكونون علي عدد أهل بدر ، ثلاثمائة وثلاثة عشر رجلاً ، ثم تجتمع إليه المؤمنون.
Eqd ol-Dorar Fi Akhbar al-Montazar, p 80
According to these quotations, the number of Imam Mahdi’s companions is 313 men and there wasn’t any mention of women in these quotations. But Tabarani cites a quotation from Prophet Muhammad ᴾᴮᵁᴴ that says Imam Mahdi’s companions are 314 individuals among which are women too.
He writed down in this regard:
حدثنا محمد بن عثمان بن أبي شيبة قال حدثنا محمد بن عمران بن أبي ليلي قال حدثنا المطلب بن زياد عن ليث عن أبي جعفر محمد بن علي بن حسين عن أم سلمة قالت قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم يسير ملك المشرق إلي ملك المغرب فيقتله ثم يسير ملك المغرب إلي ملك المشرق فيقتله فيبعث جيشا إلي المدينة فيخسف بهم ثم يبعث جيشا فيسبي ناسا من اهل المدينة فيعوذ عائذ بالحرم فيجتمع الناس إليه كالطائر الواردة المتفرقة حتي تجمع إليه ثلاثمائة واربع عشر فيهم نسوة فيظهر علي كل جبار وبن جبار ويظهر من العدل ما يتمني له الاحياء امواتهم فيحيا سبع سنين فان زاد ساعة فاربع عشرة ثم ما تحت الأرض خير مما فوقها.
Abu l-Qawsim Sulayman Ibn Ahmad ibn Ayyoob al-Tabarani
Haythami has mentioned this quotation and about its authenticity he says: In the citation of the quotation there is Laith ibn Abi Salim who is hypocrite but other quotators are all trustworthy.
Al-Haythami, Abu al-Hasan Nur al-Din Ali ibn Abi Bakr, Majmau’ al-Zawa’id wa Manba’ al-Fawa’id, v 7, p 612
This quotation is not only problematic in its documentation as Haythami has said, but it also doesn’t have the potential to confront all those quotations not mentioning women in them.
Quotations in this regard are so abundant in Shia books that there is no need to examine the documentations, but we cite one quotation for instance:
First quotation: Late Shaykh Saduq
وَبِهَذَا الْإِسْنَادِ عَنْ أَبَانِ بْنِ تَغْلِبَ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عليه السلام سَيأْتِي فِي مَسْجِدِكُمْ ثَلَاثُمِائَةٍ وَثَلَاثَةَ عَشَرَ رَجُلًا يعْنِي مَسْجِدَ مَكَّةَ يعْلَمُ أَهْلُ مَكَّةَ أَنَّهُ لَمْ يلِدْهُمْ آبَاؤُهُمْ وَلَا أَجْدَادُهُمْ عَلَيهِمُ السُّيوفُ مَكْتُوبٌ عَلَي كُلِّ سَيفٍ كَلِمَةٌ تَفْتَحُ أَلْفَع كَلِمَةٍ فَيبْعَثُ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَي رِيحاً فَتُنَادِي بِكُلِّ وَادٍ هَذَا الْمَهْدِي يقْضِي بِقَضَاءِ دَاوُدَ وَسُلَيمَانَ عليهما السلام وَلَا يرِيدُ عَلَيهِ بَينَةً.
“Aban ibn Taghlib said that Imam Sadiq ᴾᴮᵁᴴ said: In this mosque of yours in Mecca soon will come 313 men whom inhabitants of Mecca know they weren’t born from their fathers and ancestors (They don’t know them). In their hands there are swords on every one of which a word is written that leads to thousand words. Then Allah sends a wind so that it is cried in every corner that this is Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ and he will judge by the method of David and Solomon and will not demand any witnesses for his sentence.”
Al-Saduq, Kamal al-Din wa Tamam al-Ni’ma, p 671
Examining the quotation that says there are also women among the 313 individuals:
In the above quotation and quotations like this there is no mention of the fact that women are among the 313 individuals. There is only one quotation from Shia and one in Sunni sources that say among these companions are 50 women. The Sunni quotation as discussed above is weak. We will cite the Shia quotation about this subject and will examine it to determine whether this quotation can prove that 50 women are among the particular companions of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ or not. Ayyashi mentioned this quotation through citatation line in his interpretation book:
عن جابر الجعفي عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام يقول: الزم الأرض لا تحركن يدك ولا رجلك ابدا حتي تري علامات اذكرها لك في سنة … ويجيئ والله ثلاثمائة وبضعة عشر رجلا فيهم خمسون امرأة يجتمعون بمكة علي غير ميعاد قزعا كقزع الخريف …
“By Allah there will come three hundred and some men, among them there are 50 women. They will gather in Mecca without making arrangements beforehand. Their coming is like clouds of fall that move rapidly.”
Al-Ayyashi al-Selmi al-Samarqandi, Muhammad ibn Masood ibn Ayyash, Tafsir al-Ayyashi, v 1, p 64-66
This is the only quotation that argues that 50 women are among the particular companions of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ, but this quotation has flaws that makes it unacceptable.
The flaws in this quotation:
Firstly: The proof of the quotation has not been mentioned prior to Jaber ibn Abd-Allah Joefi so it can’t be cited therefore the proof is “Mursal”.
Secondly: The exact same quotation with solid proof has been cited in the book “Ghayba al-Nu’mani” by Kulayni without the phrase “among them are 50 women”.
Thirdly: With attention to the quotations of Imams ᴾᴮᵁᴴ we realize that using the term “rajol” (man) in quotations refers to male individuals. For instance, it has come in a quotation:
عَنْ عَبْدِ الْعَظِيمِ الْحَسَنِي قَالَ: كَتَبْتُ إِلَي أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ الثَّانِي عَلَيهِ السَّلَامُ أَسْأَلُهُ عَنْ ذِي الْكِفْلِ مَا اسْمُهُ وَ هَلْ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ فَكَتَبَ صَلَوَاتُ اللَّهِ وَ سَلَامُهُ عَلَيهِ بَعَثَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَي جَلَّ ذِكْرُهُ مِائَةَ أَلْفِ نَبِي وَ أَرْبَعَةً وَ عِشْرِينَ أَلْفَ نَبِي الْمُرْسَلُونَ مِنْهُمْ ثَلَاثُمِائَةٍ وَ ثَلَاثَةَ عَشَرَ رَجُلًا وَ إِنَّ ذا الْكِفْلِ مِنْهُمْ صَلَوَاتُ اللَّهِ عَلَيهِم .
“It has been cited from Abd al-Azim al-Hasani that: I wrote a letter to Imam Hasan al-Askari ᴾᴮᵁᴴ and asked him about the name Dhu al-Kifl and whether he was a prophet or not. Imam Hasan al-Askari ᴾᴮᵁᴴ replied: God Almighty appointed 124,000 prophets among which 313 individuals were mursal and Dhu al-Kifl was among them.”
Al-Majlesi, Mohammad Baqer, Bihar al-Anwar, v 13, p 405
Therefore, considering the fact that among prophets and the 313 individuals of Badr companions there weren’t any women we conclude that “three hundred and thirteen men” that has come in these quotations means they are only men and not women and if there are any women at war they are behind the frontline to nurse and provide services for warriors.
Fourthly: Considering some quotations (The fourth quotation) it has been mentioned that on the swords of those 313 individuals, the names of each and every man are written, as it has been cited:
… سيأتي الله بثلاثمائة وثلاثة عشر رجلا في مسجدكم هذا، يعلم أهل مكة أنه لم يخلق آباءهم ولا أجدادهم بعد عليهم السيوف ، مكتوب علي كل سيف اسم الرجل.
Al-Ghaibah by al-Numani, vol. 1, p.313/ Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 362/ Basa’ir ad-Darajat, vol. 1, p. 311.
If there are women among them, why are only the names of men written on their swords?
Fifthly: Carrying weapon or sword is for men which is the sign of military combat and the status of women is higher than military combat and it has come in quotations that women are actively participant in helping the warriors and treating them, as it was so in the time of Prophet Muhammad ᴾᴮᵁᴴ.
Kulayni has cited a quotation in this regard:
علي بن إبراهيم ، عن أبيه ، ومحمد بن يحيي ، عن محمد بن الحسين جميعا ، عن عثمان بن عيسي ، عن سماعة ، عن أحدهما ( عليهما السلام ) قال : إن رسول الله ( صلي الله عليه وآله ) خرج بالنساء في الحرب حتي يداوين الجرحي ولم يقسم لهن من الفيئ شيئا ولكنه نفلهن.
“Prophet Muhammad ᴾᴮᵁᴴ took women with him to war for treating the wounded and he didn’t allocate a share of loot to them, but he gave them a share as a gift or donation.”
Al-Kulayni al-Razi, Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Yaqub ibn Ishaq, al-Osul Men al-Kafi, v 5, p 45
It has also been mentioned in a quotation that in the time of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ, too, women have an active role:
وأخبرني أبو عبد الله ، قال : حدثنا أبو محمد هارون بن موسي ، قال : حدثنا أبو علي محمد بن همام ، قال : حدثنا إبراهيم بن صالح النخعي ، عن محمد ابن عمران ،عَنِ الْمُفَضَّلِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيهِ السَّلَامُ يقُولُ: يكَن مَعَ الْقَائِمِ عَلَيهِ السَّلَامُ ثَلَاثَ عَشْرَةَ امْرَأَةً قُلْتُ: وَ مَا يصْنَعُ بِهِنَّ؟ قَالَ: يدَاوِينَ الْجَرْحَي ، وَ يقُمْنَ عَلَي الْمَرْضَي، كَمَا كَانَ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّي اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ .قُلْتُ: فَسَمِّهِنَّ لِي.فَقَالَ: الْقِنْوَاءُ بِنْتُ رُشَيدٍ، وَ أُمُّ أَيمَنَ، وَ حَبَابَةُ الْوَالِبِيةُ، وَ سُمَيةُ أُمُّ عَمَّارِ بْنِ ياسِرٍ، وَ زُبَيدَةُ ، وَ أُمُّ خَالِدٍ الْأَحْمَسِيةُ، وَ أُمُّ سَعِيدٍ الْحَنَفِيةُ، وَ صُبَانَةُ الْمَاشِطَةُ، وَ أُمُّ خَالِدٍ الْجُهَنِية.
“Mofazzal ibn Omar says: It has been cited from Imam Sadiq ᴾᴮᵁᴴ that he said: Along with Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ there are 13 women. I asked: What would he do through them? He answered: They treat the wounded and nurse the patients as they did so when they were with Prophet Muhammad ᴾᴮᵁᴴ. I asked: Name them for me. Imam said: Qonwa daughter of Rashid, Om Aiman, Hobabe Valebie, Somayye the mother of Ammar Yaser, Zobayde, Om Khalid Ahmasiye, Om Said Hanafiye, Sabbane Mashete and Om Khalid Jahnie.”
Al-Tabari, Muhammad ibn Jarir, Dalael al-Imamah, p 484
Correct and abundant quotations argue that the 313 companions of Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ are all men, considering the fact that no women is mentioned in such quotations. Women not being included in the 313 companions doesn’t mean that the status of women are lower than men, but sometimes women can do things that are not less than fight and combat, like what Lady Zeynab did in Karbala. She didn’t hold a sword but rather did something that saved Imam Hussain’s movement and this movement will endure till Judgement day. It needs to be reminded that these quotations are not exactly definite that no other responsibility will fall on women, but nursing has been mentioned which is proven experimentally that women operate more successfully than men in this role. Anyway it is obvious that faithful women will join Imam Mahdi ᴾᴮᵁᴴ at the time of his rise, too.