Hazrat Imam Mahdi (as) bears the special characteristics and more from the previous prophets. He is the embodiment of their virtues and qualities. He carries their signs and is the inheritor of all that they stood for and what was revealed upon them. The following article mentions the similarity between Hazrat Ilyas (as) and Imam Mahdi (as).
Long Life and Hajj
Like Hazrat Khizr (as) the Almighty Allah also prolonged the lifespan of Hazrat Ilyas (as). In the same way the Almighty Allah has also prolonged the age of Imam Mahdi (as).
Again like Khizr (as), Ilyas (as) also goes for Hajj every year and they all meet over there.
This is proved by text mentioned in Tafseer Imam Hasan Askari (as). The Holy Prophet (sawa) said to Zaid bin Arqam, If you want their (disbelievers’ and hypocrites’) mischief not to reach you and their deception not to affect you, recite the following every morning, ‘I seek the refuge of Allah from the accursed Satan.’ The Almighty Allah would certainly protect you from their mischief as they are Satans (as some of them inspire others).
And if you want that Allah may protect you from drowning, burning and theft, you must recite this every morning: ‘In the Name of Allah. No evil harms except what Allah willed. In the name of Allah, as Allah willed. No good proceeds except as Allah willed. In the name of Allah, as Allah willed. There are no bounties but all are from Allah. In the name of Allah, as Allah willed. There is no strength and might except by Allah the High and the Mighty. In the name of Allah, as Allah willed. And may Allah bless Mohammed and his Purified and chaste progeny. One who recites this three times every morning will remain safe from drowning, burning and theft and one who recites these words three times in the night will remain safe all night from drowning, burning and theft.
And Khizr and Ilyas meet each other in the Hajj ceremonies every year; and when they separate they do so reciting these words. And it is the sign of my Shias and by these words my enemies separate from my friends during the advent of their Qaem. (Tafseer al-Askari page 5)
Imam Mahdi (as) also goes for the Hajj every year – as was mentioned in the topic of his resemblance to Khizr.
Occultation on account of fear
Hazrat Ilyas (as) fled from his people and disappeared from their sight when they wanted to kill him.
Imam Mahdi (as) also fled from his community and has gone out of the sight of the people when they wanted to kill him.
Ilyas (as) was in occultation for seven years. We don’t know what would be the duration of the occultation of Imam Mahdi (as).
Hazrat Ilyas (as) resided in the mountain with great difficulty. (In his Tawqee the Imam of the age (as) says that his father willed him not to take up residence in big cities…)
According to the tradition of Ali Ibne Mahziyar quoted in Kamaluddin, Beharul Anwar and Tabsiratul Wali and other books, Qaem (as) said: “My father, Abu Mohammed (as) enjoined me not remain in the neighborhood of the people with whom the Almighty Allah is wrathful and whom He cursed. And for whom there is disgrace and humiliation in the world and the hereafter and there is a painful chastisement for them. And he ordered me not to live except in difficult mountains and from the countries except in lowlands, and the Almighty Allah is your master, he explained Taqaiyyah and told me to observe it, thus I am in Taqaiyyah till the time I am permitted to reappear.”
I (the narrator) asked: “O my master, when would that be?” He replied: “When there develops a distance and separation between you and the way of Kabah. And the Sun and the Moon come together and the planets and stars surround them.” (Tabsiratul Wali, page 781)
Hazrat Ilyas (as) was such that the Almighty Allah, through his Dua revived Prophet Yunus (as) fourteen days after he died in his childhood as mentioned in traditions. (The author notes: It is said, the one whom the Almighty Allah made alive by the prayer of Ilyas was Ya-sa’. And Allah knows best.)
Through the blessings of Qaem (as) also the Almighty Allah would enliven numerous dead people, years after their death. Among them would be: The People of the Cave, twenty-five persons from the community of Hazrat Musa (as) – who judged with justice and equity – and Yusha bin Noon, the successor of Hazrat Musa (as), the Believer of the community of Firaun, Salman Farsi, Abu Dujana Ansari and Malik Ashtar, as mentioned in the tradition of Imam Sadiq (as) in Beharul Anwar and other books. (Beharul Anwar volume 53, page 90)
Ilyas (as) is also among the companions of His Eminence, Qaem (as).
The Almighty Allah took up Hazrat Ilyas (as) to the heavens as mentioned in the tradition reported by Ibne Abbas: the Almighty Allah also took up Qaem (as) to the heavens as mentioned under the topic of resemblance of His Eminence with Idrees. It is said that Ilyas (as) comes for the help of afflicted ones and he guides the ones distressed by losing their way in the deserts and wilderness and Khizr helps them in the islands of the oceans. These points are mentioned by Allamah Majlisi (ra) in Hayatul Qulub.
Qaem (as) also reaches to help those in distress and he guides those who have lost their way in the land as well as the sea. – rather in the earth and the heavens – and he comes for helping the helpless and ‘that is Allah’s grace; He grants it to whom He pleases.’
Food from the sky
Ilyas (as) was such that food came for him from the sky by the leave of the Almighty Allah. As mentioned in Tafseer Burhan and other books from Anas that he said, the Holy Prophet (sawa) heard a call from a mountain peak saying: “O Allah, make me from the nation that is shown mercy and forgiven. The Holy Prophet (sawa) went there; suddenly he saw an old man three hundred Zaraa (1 Zaraa = 41 inches) in height. When he saw the Messenger of Allah (sawa) he embraced him and said: I eat once in a year and now is my mealtime. So food descended from the sky and both of them ate from it. He was Ilyas (as).” (Al-Burhan volume 4, page 33)
For Qaem (as) also food descended from the sky. Here we would be content to just mention one incident that Allamah Majlisi and other writers have mentioned from Abu Mohammed Isa bin Mahdi Jauhari: “I set out for Hajj in the year 268 AH and I also intended to visit Medina because we had received the report that Imam Mahdi (as) has reappeared. I had traveled some distance from the Fayd Fort that I fell ill and wished I could obtain fish and dates from somewhere.
(Fayd: It is said to be a halt on the route to Syria and it is also said that it was a city of Najd. Both these statements are mentioned by the author of Majma al-Bahrayn (The Author))
I reached Medina in the same condition and met my brothers in faith. They also gave me the good news of the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as) that he has reappeared in Sabar. Thus I set out towards Sabar. When I reached the valley, I saw some emaciated goats. Then I entered the boundaries of the fort, halted there and began to wait to see what happens; till it was time for prayers. I performed the Maghreb and Isha prayers and began to supplicate. Suddenly I saw the servant, Badr calling me: ‘O Isa bin Mahdi Jauhari, come in.’ I said: ‘God is the Greatest’ and ‘There is no God except Allah’. And I praised and glorified the Almighty.
When I reached the courtyard of the fort I saw that dinner was laid out. The servant took me to the banquet and seated me there. He told me:’ Your master orders you to eat about which you had doubts when you fell ill after leaving Fayd.’ I said: Only this proof is enough for me. Thus how can I eat while I do not see my master? Then the Imam (as) called out: ‘O Isa, eat your food, you will see me also.’ So I sat down on the dinner spread (Sufra). I saw that there were hot fried fishes, some dates and milk was also served. I thought to myself that since I was ill I should abstain from fish, dates and milk.
A voice called out: ‘O Isa, you have doubts about us. Do you think you know more that me what is beneficial for you and what is harmful?’ I began to weep and prayed to Allah for forgiveness. Then I ate from all the dishes which were extremely delicious. I had never eaten anything more delicious. Thus I ate more than my normal appetite and restrained my hand as I felt ashamed to eat more. A voice came: ‘O Isa, do not feel shy. These are victuals of Paradise, no mortal has a hand in their preparation.’ Then I ate more and more but felt that I was not getting satiated. So I said: ‘Maula, I have had enough.’
Now the Imam (as) called me to himself and said: ‘Come near me.’ I thought to myself: ‘Shall I meet my master without even washing up after dinner?’ The voice asked: ‘O Isa, look at your hands, is there anything sticking to them?’ I glanced at my hands and smelt them, but found them clean and smelling of musk and camphor. So I went into the presence of Imam Mahdi (as) and glanced at him.
Such radiance emanated from his face that I was absolutely bewildered and astonished. Imam Mahdi (as) said, ‘O Isa, if the deniers had not asked: ‘Where is he? When would he reappear? When was he born? Who has seen him? What did you receive from him? What message did he convey? What miracle he showed?’, you would never have seen me. And by Allah, people had seen same kinds of miracles performed by Ameerul Momineen (as), but in spite of that they preferred themselves over him. They deceived and plotted against him. At last they martyred him. And in the same way they misbehaved with my other purified forefathers also. They did not consider them truthful, they did not testify about them. And they labeled their miracles to be acts of magic; they alleged that they had Jinns under their control. O Isa, tell my friends whatever you have seen and conceal it from my enemies.’ I said: ‘Please pray that the Almighty Allah keeps me steadfast.’ He said: ‘If you hadn’t been steadfast you wouldn’t have even seen me. Okay, now you go back. I left the place thanking God profusely.’” (Beharul Anwar volume 52, page 68)
(The above article was taken and adapted from the book Mikyalul Makarim Fee Fawaedid Dua Lil Qaem)