Writing about the keenly awaited advent of the Mahdi in his times, Maulana Abul-Kalam Azad says:
If some of these luminaries ever pondered for a moment over the sad plight of the ummah, they would console themselves and their followers by saying: ‘Our efforts to change the ummah would not suffice. The Day of Resurrection is upon us and the destruction of Muslims is inevitable. We should therefore defer our efforts till the advent of the Imam Mahdi, when the entire world will belong to the Muslims.’ (Tadhkirah, Muqaddamah, compiled by Malik Ram, Sahitya Academy, New Dehli, 1990, p. 12)
Similarly, we read in one of the most authentic works of the Shi‘a Sect:
If mankind was ever in need of a divine reformer, it is today, except if we believe there was never a need of a divine reformer in the history of mankind and all previous divine missions were superfluous and unnecessary. If one admits to the need of divine reformers in the past, then one must admit to the need of a divine reformer today. He who rejects the Imam of the Latter Days rejects all previous Prophets and Imams, etc. The same is established by the sayings of the Holy Prophet(sa). (as-Siratus-Sawiyy fi Ahwalil-Mahdi, p. 49–50)
These people, however, will not listen unless we find something similar in the writings of their proclaimed ‘Thinker of Islam.’ With due diligence we found the following in a letter published in Iqbal Namah, volume 1, page 41, addressed to Mr. Siraj-ud-Din Pal. It reads:
My wish is that Maulana Nizami’s prayers be heard and the Holy Prophet(sa) may come back again and teach the Indian Muslims his religion again.
According to ‘Allama Iqbal, the revival of Islam is not possible without the re-advent of the Holy Prophet(sa). Now I will present the conclusive and incontrovertible testimony of the verses in Surah al-Jumu‘ah. Allah the Almighty says:1
That is to say:
Allah is He Who has raised the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) as His Messenger from among the unlettered people. He recited to them His verse, purified them and blessed them abundantly with knowledge and wisdom although before this they were in manifest misguidance.
Then Allah the Almighty says:
The same will be the situation in the latter days. People would have lost these teachings and wisdom. No one, except the Holy Prophet(sa) will be able to convey these points of wisdom. In other words, a perfect follower, who would absorb that grace from the Holy Prophet(sa) himself and convey it to the people. No one else.
There are other people, who have not yet joined the Companions, who are awaiting this re-advent.
Then Allah the Almighty says:
He is Sovereign with complete domination and is Wise.
Then it is said:
This is the grace of God. He will bestow it upon whomsoever He wills, and in whatever country He wills.
The same point has also been made in the following words:
Is it they who would distribute the mercy of thy Lord? (Surah az-Zukhruf, 43:33)
This verse also deals with prophethood and the re-advent of the Holy Prophet(sa).