Some of the Alids (descendants of Ali) were disappointed when the Abbasid State was established. Among them, Muhammad b. Abdullah (nicknamed as Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya) who was the grandson of Hasan acted against the Second Abbasid Caliph, Abu Jafar el-Mansur. During this political movement, the use of nickname ‘mahdi’ by Muhammad b. Abdullah for himself was included in our historical sources. The narrative that “the name matches my name, the name of his father matches my father's name” played an important role for him to get this nickname. So this narration was determined the name of mahdi as Muhammad b. Abdullah.
In our hadith sources, the perception of mahdihood which is stated as “the name matches my name, the name of his father matches my father's name”, also takes place in different hadith sources. There are four different forms of this narration of which there is an alliance; but three of them are weak. There are different opinions about Abu’n-Nücûd Âsım b. Bahdala who is in the isnad of the narrative in the works of Abu Davud and Tirmidhi. Although the narrator in question is a good qiraah scholar, there is a controversy about his hadith profession. It is stated that he mixed the narrations which he conveyed from Zir, especially as in the narration of mahdi. In addition, there is a problem related to relevant narrations that those are conveyed by only narrators from Kufa. This means that it was used by Muhammad Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya and the narration was not known in Medina.
The narration of mahdi pointing to Abdullah was first mentioned by Mughira b. Said. After Mughira, who will later use the same nickname for himself, mahdihood of Muhammad will also be accepted by his father and family. This opinion, which was accepted by some groups, was also accepted by Muhammad. Thus, he described himself as a mahdi in correspondence with the Abbasid caliph. In this way, the narrations of mahdi that started with Muhammad b. Abdullah were accepted by the Shia sources.
On the other hand, the mahdi narrations as “the name matches my name, the name of his father matches my father's name” were also used for Mahdi Muhammad b. Abdullah Abu Ja-far el-Mansur, the third caliph of the Abbasid. Thus, the same narration began to be seen in Sunni sources, and the narrations of mahdi which include the expression “the name matches my name, the name of his father matches my father's name”, have taken place in the hadith sources. The common use of this narrative for two very important figures in history must have caused this narration to be mentioned in many works.
It is identified that the narrations related to our issue are primarily seen in the historical sources which are stated to be close to Shia. The first historical source in this manner is the work of Ya‘qubi. Historians such as Abu'l-Faradi Isfahani, Mas‘udi and Ibn Tiktaka, have included the mahdihood of Muhammad Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya in their books. In the sources of first period of Islamic history, the mentioned narration has been associated with the mahdihood of Muhammad Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya in the work of Baladhuri. Similarly, it was conveyed in the works of historians such as Baladhuri, Tabarî, Ibnü'l-Djavzî, Ibnü'l-Athîr, Dhahabî and Ibn Kathîr. However, some historians such as Hatîb Bagdâdî, Ibn Asâkir and Ibnü'l-Djavzî have associated this narration with the third Abbasid Caliph, Muhammad b. Abdullah. Furthermore, Dhahabi was associated the narration with Mahdi, the Abbasid Caliph while on the other hand, he also conveyed that it was used for Abu'l-Hasan Muhammad b. Abdullah who is the son of Mustakfi, the Abbasid Caliph. Thus, the relevant mahdi narration was used for a third person after Muhammad Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya and Caliph Mahdi. In fact, this clearly reveals that narration in question was used as an instrument for politics.
The relevant mahdi narration seems to have been formulated in accordance with politics. Thus, it seems that a religious reference was provided to some political figures. However, it is also important that the narrations of mahdi are also mentioned in many sources. Direct information about the mahdi is not included in the Quran. Similarly, it is not found in sahih hadith sources like Sahih of Bukhari and Muslim. However, it is included in many sources, especially the Sunans of Abu Davud and Tirmidhi. Many studies have been conducted about the narrations of the mahdi and different opinions have been reached. The idea of the weakness of the isnad of mahdi narrations, which was first mentioned by Ibn Khaldun, was also expressed by many contemporary researchers. First of all, it is certain that the perception of mahdi cannot be the subject of belief with the narrations which are controversial and many of them are weak. In addition, as it is the subject of our research, it is also possible that some additions were likely to be made into mahdi narrations in order to be an instrument for political conditions of the period. As a conclusion, it can be said about the mahdi narrations that “the hadiths said by the Prophet about the fair head of state were integrated with the idea of a savior over the time”. Thus, the idea of a fair head of state has turned into a perception of a mahdi that would save the society. In this transformation, the influence of the Shia and the ancient Persian culture which was fed by Shia is particularly important.
In conclusion, mahdi narrations are generally problematic. Weak narrations cannot be an evidence of the belief. It is also controversial that the weak narrations are an evidence of judgment. Mehdi narrations as “the name matches my name, the name of his father matches my father's name” have been mentioned in a limited number in hadith sources. There is a problem in terms of isnad regarding each of them. From the point of view of the text, the relevant narration was said for Muhammad b. Abdullah who is accepted as the first mahdi of the Abbasid period. Later, the same narration was used for the Abbasid Caliph, Mahdi. Thus, the relevant narration has become widespread. It has been included in both Shia and Sunni sources. However, the historians are divided into two groups, about the person pointed out by the narration in question. The fact that the same narration was brought to the agenda for the son of Mustakfi, the Abbasid Caliph, also shows that the aforementioned narration was always used as an instrument of politics. Even today, it continues to be used based on the name ‘Adnan’.
Tarih ve hadis kaynaklarımızda adaleti yeryüzüne hâkim kılacak kurtarıcı kişiyi ifade eden mehdinin farklı özelliklerini belirten rivayetler mevcuttur. “İsmi ismime, babasının ismi babamın ismine uygun” şeklinde tarif edilen mehdi hadisinin tarihte ilişkilendirildiği ilk kişi, Hz. Hasan’ın torunlarından “Nefsü’z-Zekiyye” lakaplı Muhammed b. Abdullah’tır. Böylece o, Abbâsî Devleti’ndeki ilk mehdi olarak kaynaklara yansımıştır. İlk defa Mugîre b. Saîd tarafından ona mehdi denildiği ve onun ilgili rivayeti delil olarak getirdiği görülmektedir. Dolayısıyla rivayetin Şiî eğilimli kaynaklara girişinin kaynağı burası olmalıdır. Öte taraftan aynı rivayetler, Üçüncü Abbâsî Halifesi Muhammed b. Abdullah için de kullanılmıştır. Hatta onun Mehdi lakabı kaynaklarımızda adının önüne geçmiştir. Böylece rivayetimiz Sünnî kaynaklarda da görülmeye başlamış ve hadis kaynaklarında ilgili mehdi rivayetleri yerini almıştır.
Sünnî kaynaklarda konumuzla ilgili olan mehdi rivayetleri, Ebû Dâvud ve Tirmizî’nin sünenlerinde ve başka hadis kaynaklarında geçmektedir. Dört farklı şekilde gördüğümüz hadis rivayetlerinin senetleri genel itibariyle zayıftır. Hasen olduğu kabul edilen bir rivayetin senedindeki Ebü’n-Nücûd Âsım b. Behdele’nin iyi bir kıraat âlimi olmakla birlikte hadisçiliğinde ihtilaf vardır.
Konumuzla ilgili mehdi rivayeti birçok tarih kaynağımızda nakledilmiştir. Ancak bunun, bazı tarihçiler tarafından Muhammed Nefsü’z-Zekiyye, bazıları tarafından ise Üçüncü Abbâsî Halifesi Muhammed b. Abdullah ile ilişkilendirilmesi dikkat çekmektedir. Hatta söz konusu rivayetin Abbâsî Halifesi Müstekfî’nin oğlu Ebü’l-Hasan Muhammed b. Abdullah için de kullanıldığı ifade edilmiştir. Bu durum da hadis ilmi açısından zayıf olan rivayetin, tarihin farklı dönemlerinde siyasete malzeme olarak kullanıldığını açıkça ortaya koymaktadır.