Question 3: Imam Ahmad al-Hassan pbuh clarified that the woman clothed with the Sun and the Moon in the vision of John is the mother of Imam al-Mahdi pbuh, and the priests and the Church say otherwise, so how does he prove the authenticity of his words against theirs?
Answer: As for your question concerning the woman in the vision of John:
In the Book of Revelation Chapter 12:
 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the Sun, with the Moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars .  She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth ...  She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne ...  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death .  Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child ...  Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God ... ]
First: Interpreting the woman to be the Church, as the Christians usually do, is clearly false; it is enough for it that they interpret the son of the Church to be Jesus pbuh, whereas the reality is that Jesus had been born, dispatched, and raised before the Church was born and before it existed!! 
Also attempting to interpret it as Mary pbuh is incorrect. And whoever requests the truth, let him note that:
If the woman was Mary pbuh, then who is her son? And who are the twelve planets, the Sun and the Moon? So if they said that the woman in the vision was Mary pbuh, they would need fifteen other characters to interpret the vision correctly .
And did Jesus pbuh shepherd, or will he shepherd, all the nations by a staff of iron?!!!
And does Mary have a lineage besides Jesus pbuh known to be as- signed from Allah to protect the commandments of Allah, meaning that they are messengers or vicegerents of Allah on His earth and lead- ers to good and the path of Allah, so much so that the preoccupation of the leaders of evil from the satans of mankind and jinn, is only to confront them like they do in the vision?
Moreover, when the vision clarifies events, it is clarifying matters of the unseen which usually happen in the future; otherwise, what would it mean if we would see in a vision what happened yesterday for example, so that we would tell people about it although we already know it? And what benefit would come from telling people about it? And the vision of John happened long after Mary pbuh gave birth to Jesus, rather even after Jesus was dispatched, and after he completed his message and was raised . Therefore, the vision of John talks about an unseen matter which will occur, and not about a historical matter which occurred and ended, as interpreted by whoever says the woman is Mary pbuh .
What was stated previously are clear matters that refute the issue of the woman being Mary pbuh .
Second: the clarification of the correct meaning:
And before clarifying the meaning of the text in the vision, it must be noted that visions are the words of Allah; therefore they, like the Quran, the Torah and the Gospel, take their course in different situa- tions, just like the Sun and the Moon in terms of renewal and applying to more than one representation at different times, and in terms of be- ing symbols which have numerous meanings, as the Sun and the Moon in the vision can be the messenger and the successor, or the physical mother and father, or the spiritual mother and father, and also at times you can see a person in a vision and what is intended is not he himself, rather only his name, and perhaps you see a city and it is not the one intended, rather what is intended is a city which is similar to it in some of its attributes, or perhaps its name . So visions are the words of Allah, and perhaps they come with symbols, indications, and divine wisdom exactly as is the inspiration, the words of the prophets and the words of Allah in His descended books .
If this is made clear, I say:
The woman in the vision of John symbolizes the mother of Imam al-Mahdi at a certain time, as she is clothed with and surrounded by the Sun and the Moon and the twelve, meaning Muhammad, Ali, Fatima and the Imams from the children of Fatima pbuh until Imam al- Mahdi, meaning fourteen . And the son to whom she gives birth in the vision is the first Mahdi, mentioned in the Will of the Messenger of Allah Muhammad pbuhap, so the number becomes fifteen as is in the vision, and the satans of mankind and jinn fight her lineage, because they are the vicegerents of Allah on His earth .
As for the son not being directly from her, what does it mean that she was in labor and gave birth to him?!
So the answer is that she gave birth to his father or the origin from which he came .
It must be noted that there is nothing preventing that there will be another personification of the woman at a different time considering that she gave birth to the same son, the axis of the vision, so the woman will be Fatima pbuh and the fifteen are her father, her mother, her husband and the eleven Imams from her children, and the secret entrusted within her, or the twelfth son from her children, the axis of the vision .
 In his explanation, the interpretor Fr . Antonios Fekry says, “And the woman is the Church, and there are those who say it is the Virgin ... [She was pregnant] = the Church is a bearing mother, but her bearing of her children is difficult = [was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth] ... . [She gave birth to a male child] = Christ and he was mentioned because he is the groom of the Church .” Father Paul Feghali sees the same thing and says, “The woman is the Church who is rooted in the history of Israel, the Church that in its heavenly dimension is coated with glory and it wears the crown as a sign of overcoming .” Studies in the Holy Book, the Revelation of St.John . But according to the common belief in Christianity, the birth of the Church was on the fiftieth day . In The Journal of the History of the Church by Fr . Michael Grace, “And on the fiftieth day of the resurrection of Christ, and on the third hour by Hebrew timing (9 in the morning by our timing) and during the celebrations of the Jews in Jerusalem of one of their major festivals which is the festival of the fifty ... The Lord has chosen this occasion of the Jews to be a time for the birth of His Church .”
 Whoever revises the words of the interpreters notices the confusion and the great em- barrassment in clarifying it, Father Paul Feghali says, “The woman who gave birth to the child is the people that radiates in the glory of the divine blessing (the Sun) and the covenant (twelve) . And at the same time, the writer considers the people of the Old Testament and the people of the New Testament .” Studies in The Holy Book, the Revelation of St.John .
As for Fr . Tadros Yacoub, he says, “And Father Hippolytus says, ‘It is very clear that by the woman covered in the Sun, he meant the Church which God bestowed with the Word of the Father, as its glow is greater than the Sun .’ And by his saying, [The Moon under her feet], he is referring to that it has manifested with divine glory that exceeds the Moon . Moreover, the phrase, [And on her head a crown of twelve stars], refers to the twelve messengers who established the Church .
 It is quite obvious that Jesus pbuh did not shepherd all the nations by a staff of iron in the past . Also, many of them deny his second return, so when will he shepherd them?! In his explanation, Antonios Fekry says, “There is no meaning behind what is said by those who believe that Christ will come again to the earth to rule for a period of a thousand years, in which he will chain Satan and peace will prevail so that the wolf lives with the sheep, etc . These similitudes are symbolic and they indicate the peace that will prevail over the hearts of the believers, which Christ, the King of Peace has brought .”
 And some of them even said, “The remaining of the lineage of the woman are the Chris- tians who engaged with the crucified one, so this engagement caused them to announce their belief .” Studies in The Holy Book, the Revelation of St.John by Paul Feghali . And the refutation of this is clear, which is that the lineage of the woman who are mentioned are assigned by Allah to protect His commandments meaning that they are the vicegerents of Allah and messengers from Him and commanders of good, and not believers in general .
 Fr . Paul Feghali says about the passages of the vision, “ ... So they let us experience the things that occurred or they announce things that will occur . They direct our sights forward and not backward .” He adds, “There is no doubt that there is a historical order (before and after) but the ending lies within the beginning and what is told in the past shall come in the future . We are at an ‘eternity’ where everything is modernized .” Studies in The Holy Book, the Revelation of St.John by Paul Feghali . And by this, the invalidity of the sayings of some of the interpreters of the Holy Book is made clear, those who interpreted the twelve planets to be the tribes of the Old Testament and the messengers of the New Testament . Moreover, many verses from the Book of Revelation are clear in indicating that they talk about an unseen matter of the future . In Chapter 1, [19Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this .] And in Chapter 4, [1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this .”]
 The matter of the multiplicity of personification of prophecy is a matter acknowledged by the Church as well . And here is an example concerning the personification of “The son called Emmanuel and his mother the Virgin” in the Old Testament, The Dictionary of the Holy Book states, “The prophecy has a dual goal, like many of the prophecies of the Old Testament, thus Emmanuel and the Virgin are symbols . The Virgin, in the near goal, symbolizes the woman of Isaiah or the woman of Ahaz . And in the distant goal, it symbolizes the Virgin Mary . And Emmanuel, in the near goal, symbolizes ‘Maher-shalal-hash-baz’ or Hezekiah . As for the distant goal, it symbolizes the Lord Jesus . And in the distant goal, there is no doubt that the prophecy concerns the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Virgin Mary .”