It is a fact that the earth has never been devoid of Allah’s sincere servants. The History is a witness that the virtuous servants of Allah have always worshiped Him without any anxiety. The rich and powerful stratum of society mocked at them, insulted them and severed relations with them. However, they never wavered from their goodness and piety. History tells us that many of the nations have even murdered their messengers (a.s.). The very messengers, who had come to save them from eternal calamities and misfortune, became victim to their nations’ cruelty and oppression

Thus, the earth has always been ruled over by tyrannical elements and the virtuous have been victims to their repression and have borne untold oppression. There were a few, who raised their voices against the unjust rule, but these voices were suppressed and their existence was wiped from the face of the earth.

For such people, The Holy Quran announces:
Surely (as for) those who disbelieve in the communications of Allah and slay the prophets unjustly and slay those among men who enjoin justice, announce to them a painful chastisement.
(Surah Aal-e-Imran (3): verse 21)

These oppressed nations would complain to the messenger of their time, being tired of the burden of injustice upon them. The messenger would advise patience and give glad tidings of a time when the rule of the land would be in the hands of the virtuous.

It is found in the incident of Hazrat Musa (a.s.) in Surah Aa’raf (7), verse 128:
Musa said to his people: Ask help from Allah and be patient: Surely the land is Allah’s; He causes such of His servants to inherit it as He pleases and the end is for those who guard (against evil).

Who are these people whom Allah has made the successors and masters of the land? The Holy Quran has eulogized this group at various places.

On examination of the exegeses, it becomes clear that these people are the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) about whom Ameerul Mo’mineen Ali (a.s.) has portrayed:
Men, who recognize Allah as He ought to be recognized, and they are helpers of the Mahdi (a.s.) of the last era.
(Kanzul Ummaal, 4/34)

The Majestic Quran informs regarding these companions:
He said: Ah! That I had the power to suppress you; rather I shall have recourse to a strong support.
(Surah Hud (11): Verse 80)

Under the exegesis of the above verse, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) informs:
‘Power’ refers to (Imam) Qaem (a.s.) and ‘strong support’ refers to the might of the companions of Qaem (a.s.).
Each of them have been gifted the strength of forty men and surely their hearts are firmer than iron, and they will not sheath their swords until the time their Lord is satisfied with them.
(Kamaaluddin, vol. 5, p. 273, H. 26, Chap. 58)

These are the chosen ones, whom the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has regarded as brothers and given them priority over his faithful companions. Hence he (s.a.w.a.) prayed:
O Allah! Join me to my brothers.

His (s.a.w.w) companions enquired: “Are we not your brothers?”

He (s.a.w.a.) answered: No! You are my companions. My brothers are a nation of people of the last era who have kept their faith on me while they have not seen me…” Then he (s.a.w.a.) described their virtues.
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 52, p. 125)

A narrator reports that: We were with Imam Sadiq (a.s.) when the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) were discussed. He (a.s.) explained:
They are three hundred and thirteen in number and each one has the strength of a hundred men.
(Muntakhabul Asar, p. 485)

Other exegeses relate the answer by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to a Jew called Jundab at the end of a lengthy narration:
Congratulations to those who are patient in his occultation, congratulations to the pious upon their love. They are the ones described by Allah in his Book when He (s.w.t.) says:
And those who believe in the occultation and He says:
These are the group of Allah, Know that surely the group of Allah is successful.
(Al-Ghaibah, Kifayatul Asar, p. 56, Al-Burhan, vol. 3, p. 146)

2) The friends of Allah
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) informs his companion in the explanation of verse 42 of Surah-e- Yunus.
O Abu Basir! Glad Tidings to the followers of our Qaem, the Awaiters of his Reappearance in his occultation and those submitting to him on his reappearance. They are the friends of Allah, those who neither fear nor grieve.
(Noorus Saqalain, vol. 1, p. 781; Yanaabiul Mawaddah, p. 422, Isbaatul Hodaat, vol. 3, p. 75; Al-Burhan, vol. 1, p. 564, As-Saafi, vol. 2, p. 173)

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) describes the companions of Imam Mahdi (May Allah hasten his reappearance):
One among you will awaken and find below his head a book wherein is written: ‘A reasonable obedience’.
(Isbaatul Hodaat, vol. 3, p. 582; Noorus saqalain, vol. 3, p. 616; Muntakhbul Asar, p. 440; Kamaaluddin, vol. 2, p. 654)

This means their obedience will be common knowledge among the people. Mention of this fact is found in Surah Noor of the Quran in verse 53:
And they swear by Allah with the most energetic of their oaths that if you command them, they would certainly go forth. Say: Swear not; a reasonable obedience (is desired); surely Allah is aware of what you do.

A tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has been mentioned under the exegeses of these verses:
And regarding this saying of Allah: ‘Until they see what they have been promised’ — is regarding the coming of Qaem (a.s.)
The narrator then questioned regarding the saying of Allah:
‘And Allah increases the guidance of the guided ones’.
He (a.s.) replied: Their guidance will be increased on that day, when they will be guided on their firm belief of Qaem (a.s.) neither disputing with him nor denying him.

(3) The loved ones of God
We find the following words of Quran in praise of these companions:
Then Allah will soon bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers.
(Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 54)
A tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is found in the Exegesis of this verse:
Surely Allah has chosen the companions of The Master of the Affair (Imam Mahdi [a.t.f.s.]). Even if everyone forsakes him, Allah will gather his companions for him about whom He has said:

‘Therefore if these disbelieve in it, We have already entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it.’

They are those about whom it has been announced:
Then Allah will soon bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers.
(Al-Burhaan, vol. 1, p. 78; Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 52, p. 380; Yanaabiul Mawaddah, p. 422; Gaibate Noamaani, p. 316)

In the same manner we find these phrases in ‘Tafseer-e-Qummi’:
There were people who were the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and they usurped the right of the Progeny of Muhammad (a.s.) and turned away from the religion. In this manner, they afflicted themselves to perpetual chastisement. The progeny of the Prophet (a.s.) have been deprived of their legacy from the day of the passing away of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) till the present time. The members of their house and their supporters have been tortured and killed only due to the sin of having affection for them. In this manner, the progeny of Muhammad (a.s.) have been oppressed in every period. This tyranny will be avenged by Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and his companions in the last era. These are the other group mentioned in the traditions.
Allah has specified five characteristics of this group.

First, they will not deny the right of progeny of Muhammad (a.s.). They will submit to their position and their commands.

Second, Allah loves them and they have the love of Allah in their hearts. And this is the sign of faith.?

Third, they will show consideration to the believers and be strict with the unbelievers. When they meet the believers, they will exhibit humility and kindness and be harsh to the apostate (an enemy of Ale Muhammad (a.s.)).?

The fourth characteristic is that they will strive in the way of God. The striving here does not only mean holy war but in fact also includes striving in the face of adversity. Lastly, they will not fear the reproach of the censurers, being firm in their faith and actions regardless of the response.

(4) The oppressed ones
The companions of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) have been remembered by Quran as the oppressed ones.
Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them.
(Surah Hajj (24), Verse 39)
Imam Baqir (a.s.) says regarding this verse:
This verse is regarding Qaem (a.s.) and his companions.?
(Ta’veelul Aayah, vol. 1, p. 338; Al-Burhaan, vol. 1, p. 93; Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 24, p. 225; Isbaatul Hodaat, vol. 3, p. 563)

(5) The sanctuary which provides security:
The word ‘Haram’ (sanctuary) is usually applied to the Mosque of the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) or the House of God. Likewise, Makkah has also been remembered by Quran as the City of Safety. These are the locations where the killing of even a fly or a mosquito is prohibited. And these places are the areas of security for the whole of creation. When the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.) conquered Makkah, he (s.a.w.a.) proclaimed that whosoever takes refuge in the House of God, or with my relatives or in the house of a believer will be provided security.?

And this is how Makkah was won without a drop of blood being shed. If we scrutinize the verse of Quran, we will find that the earth will be filled with tyranny and oppression just before the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Not only will there be an inclination towards misdeed rather sinning itself will not be considered as misconduct. The believers and the chaste worshipers would be the butt of jokes. The power will rest in the hands of the transgressors and the foolish. Immorality will become commonplace. Diseases and accidents will occur daily. Murder and mayhem will be seen everywhere. No city or place on earth will be safe from celestial adversity or human danger. When Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) reappears, he (a.s.) along with his companions will cleanse the earth from the filth of oppression and disbelief.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:
The verse ‘whoever enters it shall be secure’ is regarding our Qaem (a.s.) and his companions. Whosoever takes allegiance to him and joins his assembly, will be secure.
(Elalush sharaa’e, p. 89; Tafseer Al-Saafi, vol. 1, p. 351; Hilyatul Abraar, vol. 2, p. 148; Tafseer Al-Burhaan, vol. 1, p. 299; Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 2, p. 291; Noorus Saqalain, vol. 1, p. 369; al-Awaalim, vol. 3, p. 613)

(6) A numerable nation
The words ‘a numerable nation’ have been used for the companions of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) in a tradition from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.):
The companions of the Master of the time (a.s.) will be a little more than three hundred and ten. Regarding them, the words ‘a numerable nation’ have been used by Allah in His Book
Then he (a.s.) adds:
They will be gathered in an hour like the gathering of rain clouds.
(Tafseer Ayaashi, vol. 3, pg. 57)

The following tradition of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) is found in explanation to the above verse in the book Ta’veelul Aayaat, he (a.s.) said:
Chastisement herein refers to Qaem (a.s.) who is akin to chastisement over his enemies and ‘a numerable nation’ are those people who will fight along with him and their numbers will be the same as the warriors of the battle of Badr.
(Ta’veelul Aayaat, vol. 1, p. 223, Trad. 3; Tafseer Al-Burhaan, vol. 2, p. 9, Trad. 80)

We conclude the following from these traditions.
1. Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and his companions will achieve justice and equity when this world would be filled with inequity. That their number will only be a little more than three hundred shows the scarcity of believers in that era.
2. Despite being spread across the globe, these people will miraculously assemble in the shape of an army before Imam Mahdi (a.s.) either in a single night or in a few moments.
3. This army has been compared to rain bearing clouds, which enliven the dry barren land. While on the other hand, rain can cause immense destruction in the shape of floods drowning the lowly.
4. The Holy Quran has used the word ‘chastisement’ for Imam Qaem (a.s.). For, he will be punishment for his enemies. This may be because the period of respite for the hypocrites and the unbelievers may be complete.

The Book of Allah and traditions have described the qualities and virtues of these respected individuals in great detail. In our brief article its difficult to relate all.

Lastly, we entreat to the Almighty that He may consider us for the good fortune of being among the slaves of these companions. We can thus present ourselves in the service of His last Hujjat (a.t.f.s.).

O Allah! Hasten the reappearance of your Wali. Let us be among his supporters, helpers, servants and followers.