A Glance at the Beloved

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A Glance at the Beloved Publisher: Association of Imam Mahdi
Category: Imam al-Mahdi

A Glance at the Beloved

Publisher: Association of Imam Mahdi
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A Glance at the Beloved

A Glance at the Beloved

Publisher: Association of Imam Mahdi
English

www.alhassanain.org/english

A Glance at the Beloved

Publisher(s): Association of Imam Mahdi

www.alhassanain.org/english

The book 'A Glance at the Beloved' outlines how recognition of Imam (a.t.f.s.) can be acquired in the era of occultation, its distinguishing features and its effects on those who possess this recognition. It shows the way to those who are captivated by the love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and are in quest of his recognition, by comprehending the significance, origin and necessity of recognition in the light of traditions of the Infallibles Imams (a.s.).

Miscellaneous information:

Compiled and Published by: Association of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) Year of Publication: Shabaan 1423 A.H. /October 2002

Notice:

This version is published on behalf of www.alhassanain.org/english

The composing errors are not corrected.

Table of Contents

Preface 8

Note 9

1. True Recognition 10

Notes 13

2. Submission 14

Recognition of Imam (a.t.f.s.) cannot be acquired except with submission 14

Submission to Imamite traditions in occultation 16

Notes 19

3. Love 20

Submission is a condition for love and love is a Pre-requisite for faith (imaan) 20

Crying for Imam (a.t.f.s.) out of intense attachment 22

Friendship with the friends of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and enmity with his enemies 23

Alleviating the distress of Imam's (a.t.f.s.) friends 25

Notes 27

4. Remembrance 29

Being engrossed in the remembrance of Imams (a.s.) 29

Attending gatherings in the remembrance of Imams (a.s.) 31

Notes 32

5. Knowledge 33

Learning and imparting the knowledge of Imams (a.s.) 33

Notes 34

6. Awaiting 35

Awaiting the reappearance of Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) 35

Considering the reappearance as near 36

Intention of awaiter to help Imam (a.t.f.s.) 37

Expressing intention of helping through renewal of allegiance (bay'at) 39

Consequences of awaiting the entire life for reappearance 39

Notes 42

7. Praying 43

Importance of praying for hastening of Imam Zamana's (a.s.) reappearance 43

Notes 46

8. Help 47

Allah helps those who help Him 47

Notes 49

9. Feeling the presence of Imam (a.t.f.s.) 50

Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) is attentive towards all the believers 50

Notes 52

10. Precautious Piety 53

Observing traditions of the Imams (a.s.) by the Shias in occultation 53

Good end through Precautious Piety 54

Summary of the Shias' most important duties during the period of occultation 57

Notes 58

The Prayer in the End 59

Note 59

Preface

بسم الله الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ و صلى الله عليك يا وليّ العصر أدركنا

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says,

" فهؤلاء مصابيح الدجى و أئمة الهدى و أعلام التقى من أحبهم وتولاهم كنت ضامناً له على الله الجنة "

'They (Imams) are the lamps in darkness and the Imams of guidance and signs of piety. One who loves them and accepts their Mastership, then I assure Paradise for him near Allah.'1

Most of us have heard the famous Prophetic (s.a.w.s.) tradition:

"One who dies while he has not recognized the Imam of his era, has died the death of ignorance."

Shias and Ahlul Sunnah scholars alike have narrated this tradition, which highlights the status of the Imam of the age and the role of his recognition in the acceptance of religion.

All of us know that this recognition is not acquired only by knowing his name and his genealogy; because even the deniers of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and other Muslims have access to such information. Therefore, the interpretation of 'recognition' in this important tradition assumes a higher level than mere information of his name and genealogy. More out of ignorance than anything else, everyone will make an attempt to explain this higher meaning (of recognition) based on his own limited understanding and comprehension.

Till now, the significance of this recognition is not really evident for us. Indeed this significance will become evident by reading the traditions, wherein, the consequences of not recognizing the Imam are made amply clear. Also, the benefits of his recognition have been highlighted. For instance, pay attention to this esteemed tradition from Imam Baqir (a.s) on recognition.

"One who dies without the recognition of Imam, he has died the death of ignorance. And the one who dies with the recognition of his Imam, the advancement or postponement of this affair (i.e. reappearance) will not harm him. And one who dies with the recognition of his Imam, he is like the one who was along with the Qaim (a.t.f.s.) in his tent."

Here one discovers a very profound matter, and is confronted with a very critical question: How does the recognition of Imam (a.s.) find such importance in religion? What is death with the recognition of Imam (a.s) that has got all these effects and blessings? Reaching the era of reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and being in his tent is good fortune. Indeed this is the greatest desire of the lovers of I mam (a.t.f.s.). But what is the recognition of Imam (a.t.f.s.), acquiring which ensures such high status? How can one acquire it so that he may attain guidance and good fortune that has been promised to him in traditions?

An effort is made in this book to answer some of the questions mentioned above. We have explained the points in a simple and lucid manner. By referring to it, the reader, will understand the various dimensions of the subject as per his capacity and will be able to gauge his responsibilities in this matter. Our method of explaining the subject is by referring to traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) only and refraining from any kind of logical analogy. It is due to this reason that you will find several traditions in the book and sometimes we have explained one tradition in the light of another tradition.

This book, 'A Glance at the Beloved', outlines how recognition of Imam (a.t.f.s.) can be acquired in the era of occultation, its distinguishing features and its effects on those who possess this recognition. It shows the way to those who are captivated by the love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and are in quest of his recognition.

It is important for us to comprehend the significance, origin and necessity of recognition in the light of traditions of the infallibles (a.s.).

The origin of recognition is a spiritual process that initiates from the heart. However its relation with the external persona of the individual cannot be denied. To enhance the discussion, it is imperative to divide this topic in 10 parts and deal with each separately. The practical aspects of these 10 parts will become clear as we progress.

Note

1. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 36, Pg. 296

1. True Recognition

The most critical characteristic of recognition that can deliver man from deviation and regression is its correctness. If the recognition is not correct, then the underlying expectation that the possessor of recognition will remain steadfast on the Mastership of Imams will not hold true.

Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.) prophesied,

وانّ للقائم منا غيبتين، أحدهما أطول من الأخرى فلا يثبت على إمامته، إلاّ من قوى يقينه وصحت معرفته ولم يجد في نفسه حرجا مما قضيناه ، وسلم لنا أهل البيت

'Indeed our Qaim has two occultation, one of which is longer than the other. This period (of occultation) will extend to such an extent that most people who believe in him will turn away. None will remain steadfast save those whose certainty is strong and recognition correct. Then he will not have any hesitation in accepting our decrees and will submit to us - the Ahle Bait (a.s.).’1

The condition mentioned in the last statement is critical for all kinds of recognition, be it Allah's recognition, the Prophet's (s.a.w.s.) recognition or the Imam's (a.s.) recognition. This recognition should be correct from all religious aspects and in a way that Allah desires.

Given the above conditions, the most obvious question is - what are the criteria for correct recognition, and how can one be sure of the correctness of his recognition? This question is best replied by referring to the definition of recognition as outlined by the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) while addressing his son declares,

يا بني اعرف منازل الشيعة على قدر روايتهم ومعرفتهم، فإن المعرفة هي الدراية للرواية، وبالدرايات للروايات يعلو المؤمن إلى أقصى درجات الايمان، إني نظرت في كتاب لعلي (عليه السلام) فوجدت في الكتاب أن قيمة كل امرئ وقدره معرفته

'O my son, know the level of the Shias from the number of traditions they narrate and from (the level of) their recognition. For surely recognition is the comprehension of traditions. And by comprehending traditions, a believer scales the highest level of faith. Then surely I have seen the

Book of Ali (a.s.) and I found in it that the value of a man is in proportion to the measure of his recognition.'2

As highlighted by this tradition, recognition is nothing but the comprehension of traditions, and this is the scale for discerning between true and flawed recognition. Then true recognition of a subject implies comprehension of all traditions related to that subject. For instance, true recognition of Tauheed involves comprehending all traditions related to the topic.

This underlines the necessity to refer to the traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a.s) in order to acquire recognition on any subject and there by scale the peaks of faith. Every believer's faith enjoys a status proportionate to the depth of his insight of traditions of the infallibles (a.s.).

So, if any believer in his pursuit of recognition acquires his knowledge from other than these traditions, he will never attain his goal, i.e. recognition. Ameerul Mo'mineen (a.s.) declares that the value of a believer is related directly to the level of his recognition. The standard of recognition is referring only to the traditions of the Imams (a.s.) as true knowledge is only with them.

Divine knowledge is always correct and guiding, while it is human knowledge that is flawed and misleading. Allah has made the pure and immaculate hearts of the 14 infallibles (a.s.) as the fountainhead of divine knowledge. He then commanded those in thirst of this knowledge to turn only to the infallibles (a.s.) for their queries. As Imam Sadiq (a.s.) revealed to Yunus b. Zabyan

إن أردت العلم الصحيح فعندنا أهل البيت فنحن اهل الذكر الذي قال الله عز وجل فاسألوا اهل الذكر ان كنتم لا تعلمون

'If you desire true knowledge, then it is with us, the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Then we are the 'People of Remembrance', those regarding whom Allah declares – 'so ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know.' (16: 43)3

There is no source of divine knowledge other than the People of Remembrance. Had there been any other source, surely Allah would have commanded us to refer to it. That is why Imam Baqir (a .s.) narrates,

والله لا يوجد العلم الا من أهل بيت نزل عليهم جبرئيل

‘By Allah, Knowledge cannot be found from any other source other than Ahlul Bayt (a.s) – Jibrail (a.s.) (himself) has descended upon them.’4

Therefore if a new branch of knowledge has been discovered, its origin is in the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) although we may not pay attention to this fact at the time of discovery. Imam Baqir (a.s.) discloses,

أما إنه ليس عند أحد من الناس حق ولا صواب إلا شئ أخذوه منا أهل البيت

'Then surely there is no truth and reality with the people, except that it has been acquired from us, the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).'5

The root of true information and correct knowledge is only with the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Anything from other than the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) is flawed and misguiding. It is with respect to this that Imam Baqir (a.s.) narrates,

كل ما لم يخرج من هذا البيت، فهو باطل

'Everything that has emanated from other than this House (of Revelation) is invalid.'6

Therefore the highest level of faith is attained by only taking knowledge from the House of Revelation and submitting to its members unconditionally. If a Shia acts on this precept, he will achieve the honour of being from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)

As Ameerul Mo'mineen (a.s.) reveals to Kumayl b. Ziad Nakhaee,

يا كميل، لا تأخذ إل عنّا، تكُن منّا

'O Kumayl! Do not acquire except from us so that you may become from us.'7

This high status is reserved only for the friends of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). In this period of occultation, although a Shia is deprived of his Imam's (a.t.f.s.) presence, he can be in close proximity to the Ahlul Bayt (a. s.) by referring to them as the only source of knowledge.

So if one wishes to acquire true recognition, must reject all the other sources of knowledge and focus only on the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). He should not taint the knowledge acquired from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) with information acquired from other sources. And if he is successful in doing so, his recognition will reach a station whereby he is protected with the power of certitude from all doubts and suspicion. His faith will reach to such a level of surety that mountains may move, but not his faith. And this is what Ameerul Mo'mineen (a.s.) informed Muhammad b. Hanafiyya,

تزول الجبال و لا تزل

'Even if mountains move, you don't move.'8

This advice of Ameerul Mo'mineen is of particular relevance in the context of faith and beliefs. The emphasis over here is to acquire one's beliefs from the correct source (Ahlul Bayt (a. s.)) and not from the ignorant. This is the only way to guarantee that our beliefs remain secure from doubt and uncertainty. It is the only way to ensure that our faith remains unshakeable even if gigantic mountains are unable to remain firm.

Then the only route to safeguard one's faith from doubts and Satanic whisperings is to acquire knowledge from the channel recommended by Allah Himself. Therefore if one is anxious of his faith then he must pay minute attention to this detail and should only collect his beliefs from the side of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

من اخذ دينه من كتاب الله وسنة نبيه صلى الله عليه واله زالت الجبال قبل ان يزول ومن اخذ دينه من افواه الرجال ردته الرجال

'If one takes his religion from Allah's Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet (s.a.w.s.), mountains may move, but he will not move. And one who takes his religion from the mouths of the people, the people will turn him away (from religion).'9

The intelligent ones are not those who refer to the views of the people, but intelligence in the Quranic verse is attributed to those who have found themselves to be ignorant and have turned to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) for guidance. The intelligent ones are those who have submitted themselves completely to the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (a .s.) without any objection or modification in its interpretation. They do not doubt the sayings of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and never advance their opinion against that of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). It is here we realise the importance of the Ahlul Bayt (a. s) in the acquisition of correct recognition.

The Ahlul Bayt's (a.s.) school of thought is nourished with divine revelation, which offers man deliverance and liberation from all fallacies. Their proximity to divine sources of knowledge reassures man of their guidance. He feels he can refer to them in moments of doubt and indecision and is comforted with their response that guides him towards certitude and conviction. This can be compared to the similitude of a very sick person who refers to a specialist doctor, one in whom he enjoys complete confidence. This sick person will not like to experiment with a doctor of whose credentials he is not so sure.

Then if a man attaches so much importance to his health and physical well-being, the significance he accords to his spiritual well – being should be considerably higher. This is because the soul must be dealt with more care and caution than the body. So, just like he would never surrender his physical well-being in the hands of an incompetent doctor, he must never submit his spiritual well-being to the opinions of incompetent people. He must surrender his spiritual well-being only to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) - the spiritual doctors assigned by Allah Himself.

Notes

1. Kamaluddin, Part 31, Tradition 8

2. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2 Pg. 186

3. Wasa’il ush-Shi’ah, Vol. 18, Pg. 49, taken from Rejaal al-Kashi

4. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2, Pg. 91

5. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2, Pg. 94

6. Wasa’il ush-Shi’ah, Vol. 18, Pg. 50

7. Wasa’il ush-Shi’ah, Vol. 18, Pg. 16

8. Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 11

9. Preface of Usul al-Kafi

2. Submission

Recognition of Imam (a.t.f.s.) cannot be acquired except with submission.

One of the necessary conditions for acquisition of recognition is total submission to the desires of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). In fact it would be not be an exaggeration to state that acquiring recognition is possible only and only through complete submission to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Imam Sadiq (a.s.) declares:

انكم لا تكونون صالحين حتى تعرفوا. و لا تعرفون حتى تصدَّقوا. و لا تُصَدِّقون حتّى تُسلِموا

'You cannot become from the virtuous ones until you have recognition. You will not have recognition until you have believed and confessed. You have not believed and confessed until you submit.'1

Thus affirmation leads towards recognition (of Imam) and submission leads towards affirmation. When a man has all these traits (of submission and affirmation) he will be included among the virtuous ones. This is because virtuous actions spring from pure hearts and recognition and this is attained only through submission. Then the one who does not possess these traits will find himself deprived of recognition and mastership and will be most distant from any virtue. For, testimony is equal to belief and confession by heart. And till such a time that the person inculcates this in himself, he will never taste certainty in recognition.

Thus these four criteria - submission, testimony, recognition and good deeds are critical for every believer, and unless these criteria converge in a person, he will never know the reality of faith. The lowest level of recognition of Imam (a.t.f.s) is in submission to his exhortations and prohibitions. As traditions declare:

لا يكون العبد مؤمناً حتى يعرف الله و رسوله و الائمة كلّهم و إمام زمانه و يرد إليه و يسلم له

'A worshipper cannot become a believer unless he recognizes Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and all the Imams (a.s.) and the Imam of his age and turn to him and submit to him.'2

While unconditional submission was always crucial in the acquisition of recognition, it assumes even more significance in this era of occultation. That is why traditions reiterate the concept of submission thus:

و لم يجد في نفسه حرجاً ممّا قضينا و سلَّمَ لنا أهل البيت

And he does not find any straitness in his heart as to what we have decided and submit to us - the Ahlul Bayt.3

Submission over here implies heartily submission and not superfluous obedience. This means that the believer should submit to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) cheerfully and willingly and not grudgingly and reluctantly. Satisfaction and contentment in submission are vital. This is because even if a man believes in the apparent of religion but does not find submission in himself, he will be far from faith, and can possibly venture into polytheism (shirk). The degree of one's faith is directly related to the degree of one's submission to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). To the extent this submission is weak, faith will be weak, dragging man towards idolatry. This is exactly what Imam Sadiq (a.s.) explains in this tradition:

لو أن قوما عبدوا الله وحده لاشريك له وأقاموا الصلاة وآتوا الزكاة وحجوا البيت وصاموا شهر رمضا ثم قالوا لشئ صنعه الله أوصنعه النبي (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ألا صنع خلاف الذي صنع أو وجدوا ذلك في قلوبهم لكانوا بذلك مشركين

'Surely if a nation worships Allah associating naught with Him, and establishes prayers, pays zakaat, performs Hajj, fasts in the month of Ramazan, (then in spite of all this) say why did Allah not do this or why did the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) not do this, instead of doing that, or they have some doubt (although they do not voice these doubts) then due to this they turn polytheists.'

Then Imam (a.s.) related the following verse,

فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

'But no! by your Lord! They do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then do not find any straightness in their hearts as to what you have decided and submit with entire submission.'

Then Abu Abdillah (Imam Sadiq) (a.s.) said,

فعليكم بالتسليم

'Submission is obligatory upon you.'4

The above tradition reveals that the condition of submission is attained when the heart is completely satisfied with everything that the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) has done or commanded us to do, and has no reservations in accepting it. Indeed this is the reality of faith and the soul of religion. Imam Sajjad (a.s.) declares,

'Certainly the religion of Allah, the Almighty, cannot be acquired by deficient intellects and false opinions and erroneous conjecture, it is achieved only through submission. Then one who submits to us is safe and one who follows us is guided. One who acts based on their own opinion and conjecture is destroyed. One who objects to a thing that we have said or decreed has disbelieved in the One who has revealed the Seven Verses (Sura al-Hamd) and the Holy Quran, while he is unaware (of his disbelief).'5

The great danger to one's faith is when one commits a mistake without being aware of its consequences, which are so dangerous that he turns into an apostate, while he considers himself to be a believer. Then safety for man's faith lies in his submission to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) without corrupting it with his own opinion and conjecture.

This, by no means is an easy task, more so in the period of occultation, when there is no direct contact with Imam (a.t.f.s.). The only possible way to reach Imam (a.t.f.s.) in this era is through the traditions of the Imams (a.s.). We must refer to the Imams (a.s.) in all our problems, religious as well as worldly.

Submission to Imamite traditions in occultation

One of the signs of submission to Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the occultation is submission to the traditions of the infallible guides (a.s.).

Submission to the Imams (a.s.) should be with respect to all traditions that have reached us from their side, particularly those that are not compatible with our existing knowledge. In such a scenario, submission demands that we try to conform our existing knowledge to the tradition and not try to conform the tradition to our existing knowledge. In other words, we must change our mindset to fit into the tradition and not try to change the interpretation of the tradition to fit into our mindset.

The reason behind this is that so often we are not aware of the deeper meaning of the tradition, although it may not be in conformity to what we already know. This is because all branches of science and knowledge are restricted to the Imams (a.s.) and their insight is perfect, while our knowledge is imperfect and flawed. So if a tradition contradicts our existing knowledge then we should rectify our knowledge on the basis of the tradition. If we cannot do this, it is necessary that we refer to the Imams (a.s.) themselves, but under no condition are we permitted to reject the tradition.

True submission demands that we accept a tradition under all conditions regardless of whether the tradition is compatible with our existing knowledge or not. We must not take a tradition to be weak simply because of its incompatibility with our knowledge, which is flawed and defective. Rather we must seek an explanation from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) themselves. It is quite possible that by referring to the scholars of the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) one may become enlightened. And finally if such scholars are not available, then the only option for him is to be patient and accept the tradition, and insha’Allah he will be guided by the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) themselves and the meaning of the tradition will become clear for him.

The most beloved companions of the Imams (a.s.) are those who understand their traditions well and with their deep understanding accept it. And the worst of them are those who when they do not understand its meaning reject it simply because it is incompatible with their existing knowledge.

Embracing Mastership implies that the Shia considers his Master (Imam) as possessing more authority over himself as compared to all others. Then Mastership demands that one gives preference to his Master's views and his desires over that of his own.

A person must constantly beseech the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and approach them with a lot of mediation (tawassul) and seek their help alone, so that all our actions are under the constant supervision and direction of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and nothing happens without their grace and blessings. Particularly in the field of knowledge and learning nothing is more critical than this supervision and direction. For, there is more danger directed towards the scholars by Shaitaan, than other groups of people.

So the course undertaken by the scholars and religious thinkers is ridden with pitfalls and perils. It is for this reason that scholars need to have a higher level of faith and their mediation (tawassul) with the infallibles with particular reference to Imam al-Asr (a.t.f.s.) must be more intense. The scholars must firmly believe that their progress in the field of knowledge is only with their belief in Imamat and Mastership of Imam (a.t.f.s.).

If a person observes that he has comprehended the minute details of a tradition, he must acknowledge that it is only because of the grace and bounty of Imam (a.t.f.s.). By keeping this point in mind, we must understand the importance of tawassul - so as to draw Imam' s (a.t.f.s.) attention in the pursuit of religious knowledge.

Submission to Allah while seeking early reappearance

Allah is very pleased with the supplications of His servants and accords it the status of the highest form of worship and therefore it is the best means to draw His attention. Imam Ali (a.s.) while recommending supplications to Imam Hasan (a.s.) says:

وَاعْلَمْ، أَنَّ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ خَزَائِنُ السَّموَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ قَدْ أَذِنَ لَكَ فِي الدُّعَاءِ، وَتَكفَّلَ لَكَ بِالإِجَابَةِ،أَمَرَكَ أَنْ تَسْأَلَهُ لِيُعْطِيَكَ، وَتَسْتَرْحِمَهُ لِيَرْحَمَكَ، وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ مَنْ يَحْجُبُكَ عَنْهُ

'Know that the One in Whose hand is the treasure of the sky and the earth has permitted you to pray to Him and has guaranteed you a reply, and commanded you to beseech so that He bestows. Seek mercy from Him so that He showers mercy upon you and so that there is no barrier between you and Him.'6

Supplication suggests recitation and question (سؤال ) indicates request. It is possible that one combines supplication with questioning. Sometimes t he worshipper seeks something from Allah and at other times he prays as well as requests Him and both these conditions please Allah and are among the actions that Allah has recommended for His servants Worship higher than this, is persistent beseeching, which Allah loves in a worshipper. About this Imam Sadiq (a.s.) reveals:

إن الله كره إلحاح الناس بعضهم على بعض في المسألة و أحب ذلك لنفسه

'Allah does not like the people to be persistent in their beseeching with each other. However, He loves that for Himself.'7

So Allah not only likes His servants to beseech Him, rather He loves His servants persistently seeking their demands only from Him and not from anybody else.

Allah has deemed this beseeching and pleading as the highest form of worship. Therefore praying and beseeching Allah for removal of difficulties is in fact submission to His order.

Occultation is the biggest calamity that we are facing today. Allah has destined occultation so that people are afflicted with separation from their Imam (a.t.f.s.) in such a manner that their entire existence cries out in pain and suffering and they despair from all people, places and things and in such a state of helplessness they turn towards Allah, begging and pleading with Him to hasten the reappearance of their master. This crying and begging for the reappearance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) is itself worship and is effective in alleviating the calamity through reappearance.

Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) declares with regards to the role of supplication in shortening calamities,

ما من بلاء ينزل على عبدٍ مؤمنٍ فيلهمه الله الدّعاء ، إلاّ كان كشف ذلك البلاء وشيكاً ، وما من بلاء ٍينزل على عبدٍ مؤمن ٍفيمسك عن الدعاء إلاّ كان ذلك البلاء طويلاً ،فإذا نزل البلاء فعليكم بالدّعاء و التضرع الى الله عزَّ و جل

'No calamity reaches to a servant, but Allah inspires him with supplication (for removal of that calamity), except that the easing of that calamity is near. And no calamity reaches a believer, and he refrains from praying for its removal, but the period of that calamity is lengthened. Then when the calamity descends, you should pray and be humble in front of Him.'8

The term (inspiring an invocation) الهام دعا that is ascribed to Allah in the above tradition underlines the fact that when calamity descends upon a believer, he is reminded to turn to Allah with pleading and beseeching. Such a believer must realize that this is a grace and bounty from Allah, which He does not bestow upon everyone in their calamities. Therefore the essence of prayer at the time of calamity is an indication that the afflicted person is under the domain of Allah's grace and bounty. And when the believer gets the grace توفيق to pray he must realize that the calamity will soon be lifted, insha’Allah. Allah with inspiration إلهام of supplication only wishes to arrange for some channel for the removal of the calamity, provided that man understands the value of this gift.

From this we can conclude that praying to Allah for the early reappearance of Imam (a.t.f .s.) is perfectly valid. On the same lines, there are several examples that highlight the fact that praying to Allah can alleviate an entire nation's calamity. For instance, Bani Israel received salvation after intense supplication and pleading. According to a tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.), Allah had destined salvation for the children of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) that were from the lineage of his wife Sara (viz. Bani Israel) after 400 years of oppression at the hands of Firaun. The salvation was to come in the form of Hazrat Moosa (a .s.) and Hazrat Haroon (a.s.). But Bani Israel managed to reduce this period of tyranny and oppression after pleading and begging in front of Allah. Imam's (a.s.) original phrase is as follows:

لما طال على بني إسرائيل العذاب ضجوا وبكوا إلى الله أربعين صباحا فأوحى الله إلى موسى وهارون يخلصهم من فرعون ، فحط عنهم سبعين ومائة سنة

'Then when the period of chastisement on Bani Israel lengthened, they cried in front of Allah for 40 mornings so that Allah reveals up on Moosa and Haroon to give salvation from the (evil of) Firaun. Due to this (persistent crying), 170 years from the destined oppression was reduced.

Then Imam Sadiq (a.s.) declared:

هكذا أنتم لو فعلتم لفرج الله عنا فأما إذ لم تكونوا فان الامر ينتهي إلى منتهاه

'Your salvation is similar. If you also do it (cry intensely), Allah will hasten your salvation (faraj). And if you don't do it (cry), the matter of salvation will reach to the last limit.'9

Beware it is strange that if the believers desire salvation from Allah, (through reappearance of their Imam), they should know the way which is defined by the previous Imams (a .s.) and they should be serious and make preparation in this regard.

Notes

1. Usul al-Kafi, Chapter. of 'recognition of Imam and turning to him' Tradition 6

2. Usul al-Kafi, Kitabul Hujjat, Chap. of recognition of Imam Tradition 2

3. Kamaluddin, Chp. 31, Tradition 8

4. Usul al-Kafi Kitabul Imaan wal Kufr, Chap. of Shirk, Tradition 6

5. Kamaluddin, Chap. 31, Tradition 9

6. Nahjul Balagha, Letter 31

7. Usul al-Kafi, Kitabod Dua, Chapter-Ilhaao fi Dua, Tradition 4

8. Usul al-Kafi, Kitabud Dua, (chapter of Ilhaamod Dua), Tradition 2

9. Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 131, Tradition 34