There is a severe dearth of source material which the English-speaking reader can rely on to provide him or her with the proper understanding of Shi'a Islam based on the self-understanding of the religion itself. The Shi'a Islam Doctrinal Series (as well as other series) of the Lion of Najaf Publications hopes to do its part in filling the lacunae that exist, thereby firstly providing Moslems who have emigrated to or have been born outside of the Islamic heartland with reliable material for them to gain a better understanding of their religion; and secondly, to provide non-Moslems who are interested in learning more about Islam, and about Shi'a Islam in particular, with first-hand and dependable resources which are sourced from the heart of Islamic civilization.
The Preface of the present book, Mahdism (Islamic Messianism and the Belief in The Coming of the Universal Savior) discusses how the teachings of the Twelve Imams are the essence of Mahdism. Chapter One provides proofs of the Belief in Mahdism with an excursus on the bewilderment of Sonnite scholarship in the face of hadith reports concerning the Mahdi. Chapter Two discusses the specific attributes of the definition of Mahdism from the perspective of the Ahl al-Bayt. These include topics such as the covert birth of the Imam al-Mahdi and his investiture to the imamate during his childhood, as well as his occultation and the longevity of his life. And finally, Chapter Three discusses the value of the belief in the Shi'a conception of Mahdism.