Al-Kāfi - Volume 1 > The Issue of Disappearance (of the twelfth Imam (a.s.) from Public Sight
Hadith #7

7ـ عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ عَبْدِ الله بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي مُنْذِرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ قَابُوسَ عَنْ مَنْصُورِ بْنِ السِّنْدِيِّ عَنْ أَبِي دَاوُدَ الْمُسْتَرِقِّ عَنْ ثَعْلَبَةَ بْنِ مَيْمُونٍ عَنْ مَالِكٍ الْجُهَنِيِّ عَنِ الْحَارِثِ بْنِ الْمُغِيرَةِ عَنِ الاصْبَغِ بْنِ نُبَاتَةَ قَالَ أَتَيْتُ أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) فَوَجَدْتُهُ مُتَفَكِّراً يَنْكُتُ فِي الارْضِ فَقُلْتُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مَا لِي أَرَاكَ مُتَفَكِّراً تَنْكُتُ فِي الارْضِ أَ رَغْبَةً مِنْكَ فِيهَا فَقَالَ لا وَالله مَا رَغِبْتُ فِيهَا وَلا فِي الدُّنْيَا يَوْماً قَطُّ وَلَكِنِّي فَكَّرْتُ فِي مَوْلُودٍ يَكُونُ مِنْ ظَهْرِي الْحَادِيَ عَشَرَ مِنْ وُلْدِي هُوَ الْمَهْدِيُّ الَّذِي يَمْلا الارْضَ عَدْلاً وَقِسْطاً كَمَا مُلِئَتْ جَوْراً وَظُلْماً تَكُونُ لَهُ غَيْبَةٌ وَحَيْرَةٌ يَضِلُّ فِيهَا أَقْوَامٌ وَيَهْتَدِي فِيهَا آخَرُونَ فَقُلْتُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَكَمْ تَكُونُ الْحَيْرَةُ وَالْغَيْبَةُ قَالَ سِتَّةَ أَيَّامٍ أَوْ سِتَّةَ أَشْهُرٍ أَوْ سِتَّ سِنِينَ فَقُلْتُ وَإِنَّ هَذَا لَكَائِنٌ فَقَالَ نَعَمْ كَمَا أَنَّهُ مَخْلُوقٌ وَأَنَّى لَكَ بِهَذَا الامْرِ يَا أَصْبَغُ أُولَئِكَ خِيَارُ هَذِهِ الامَّةِ مَعَ خِيَارِ أَبْرَارِ هَذِهِ الْعِتْرَةِ فَقُلْتُ ثُمَّ مَا يَكُونُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ ثُمَّ يَفْعَلُ الله مَا يَشَاءُ فَإِنَّ لَهُ بَدَاءَاتٍ وَإِرَادَاتٍ وَغَايَاتٍ وَنِهَايَاتِ.

7. Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from ‘Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid who has said that Mundhir ibn Muhammad ibn Qabus narrated to us from Mansur ibn al-Sindi from abu Dawud al-Mustariq from Tha‘laba ibn Maymun from Malik al-Juhanni from al-Harith ibn al-Mughirah from al-Asbagh ibn Nubata who has said the following. “Once I went to see Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) and found him thinking and he drawing lines on the ground. I then said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) I can see you thinking and drawing lines on the ground. Have you become interested in it (worldly things) ?” He said, no, by Allah, I have not become interested in it and the whole world not even for a day but I thought about a baby from my descendants, the eleventh generation. He will be al-Mahdi who will fill the earth with justice and fairness after its being filled with suffering and injustice. He will disappear from the public sight and in confusing conditions. Certain people will deviate and others find the path of guidance.” I then asked, “O Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.), how long will be the duration of confusion and the disappearance?” He said, “Six days or six months or six years.” I then said, “Will this really come to pass?” He said, “Yes, just his creation will be necessary (so also will be his disappearance). However, O Asbagh, this is not your concern. Those people will of the best in this nation with the best virtuous ones of this family (Ahl al-Bayt).” I then said, “What then will happen afterwards?” He said, “Allah will do whatever He will so decide. He possesses, Bada’s, (seemingly change of plan) wills, goals and ends.”