Discussion on Imam-e-Zaman (A.T.F.S)

Discussion on Imam-e-Zaman (A.T.F.S)0%

Discussion on Imam-e-Zaman (A.T.F.S) Author:
Translator: Dr. Shabeeb Rizvi
Publisher: Naba Publication (www.nabacultural.org)
Category: Imam al-Mahdi

Discussion on Imam-e-Zaman (A.T.F.S)

Author: Dr. Sayyed Hasan Eftekharzadeh
Translator: Dr. Shabeeb Rizvi
Publisher: Naba Publication (www.nabacultural.org)

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Discussion on Imam-e-Zaman (A.T.F.S)
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Discussion on Imam-e-Zaman (A.T.F.S)

Discussion on Imam-e-Zaman (A.T.F.S)

Publisher: Naba Publication (www.nabacultural.org)

Reapparance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) vis-à-vis excess of oppression and injustice

Among the important discussions that are being debated in the society nowadays and many have been unable to find a suitable answer to it is the question: Is it necessary and essential for the world to be replete with injustice and oppression to enable Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) to reappear?

Will he (a.t.f.s.) not come if there is not enough of oppression and tyranny? Moreover in furtherance to these questions, another query is raised: Then should we increase oppression and injustice to prepare the ground for his reappearance or no, this is not our duty?

Since this discussion is not yet clear for the common people, hence numerous misconceptions and wrong notions have cropped up in their minds. Consequently, some even have the idea that any step taken in the way of reformation is a step backwards vis-à-vis the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and hence, we must do our best to spread mischief and corruption in the land so that he (a.t.f.s.) comes faster.

On analyzing these questions, we realized that incidentally the question of spreading mischief and corruption, notwithstanding its absurdity and inanity, is a theory with revolutionary face in the modern world. The originator of such an idea wasKarl Marx who propounded, “Till discontent does not reach boiling point, revolution cannot occur .” Then, following the instructions of Marx, what should be done? Definitely, one must try to increase mischief in the land and create as many hindrances as possible in the way of reformations and improvements in order to augment discontent to pave the path for a revolution!!

Therefore, the communists were of the view that we must enter the intelligence service, torture the people, torment the innocent, pluck out their nails, etc. so that when they are released from the prisons, they will abuse the government and help the people develop a negative opinion about the rulers. Marxists doctors also refrained from treating the sick in hospitals and clinics and created such delays in their treatment that the sick would die. This would anger the relatives of the deceased who formed the view that doctors of government hospitals don’t treat the patients and act as catalysts in reaching them to the graveyard. All these steps were taken to increase discontent among the people to pave the way for a revolution of the proletariat. Following such theories, the communists of the former regime as well as during the present times are trying their best to destabilize things in the country. This was precisely the reason why they opposed the installation ofQarzul Hasanah [100] boxes in mosques, as it would drug the people into numbness and inaction.

All the opponents of establishment of private polyclinics in the Islamic nation (of Iran) were leftists who were indirectly responsible for the slogans of the intellectual elite as well as few religious scholars declaring from the pulpits, “Why are you drugging the people? Instead of admitting these patients in private hospitals, send them to government hospitals that they must encounter problems and difficulties and consequently, shout ‘death to the government’!!” The leftists projected this move as a revolutionary step. Exactly like the doctor who sits in the hospital and does not attend to the sick. Or like some government servants who warm their office seats, draw their salaries but deliberately don’t solve the people’s problems or will create obstacles in their paths. They will make them run from pillar to post for a small work in order to disenchant the public from the government. If the action of the leftists and the communists is revolutionary, then indeed the aforementioned doctor and government servant are also revolutionaries of the highest caliber, albeit with Marxist support.

Therefore, the matter of increasing discontent and restlessness is not a thought that is propounded by ignoramuses and believed by others on the basis of a few traditions. Rather, it can also turn serious when given a social and revolutionary color for universal acceptance.

But our Shia faith rejects all such theories, and on the basis of Islamic values and principles, does not consider it as a premise for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.).

Well, then how would one justify the following tradition, which is as clear as daylight when it prophesies?

« يملأ اللّهْ به الارض قسطا و عدلاً كما ملئت ظُلماً و جورا »

“Through him (Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.)), Allah will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression [101] .”

At the first instance, this tradition is pretty eloquent in its prophecy that the primary task of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) would be to fill the earth with justice and equity, as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression. Hence, some have misconstrued this tradition like one says, ‘the dining cloth will not be spread unless the room is full of people.” Now, if he does not spread the dining cloth, we ask, ‘Mister! Why have you not spread the dining cloth?’ He replies, ‘I said that I will not spread it till the room is packed with people.’ So, if you really have few people and intend to spread the dining cloth, then you must go on the road, get a few people for dinner and then spread it! They have misinterpreted the above tradition in this very manner when they say that the world should be‘full’ of injustice and tyranny for Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) to reappear. If it is asked as to why he has not yet reappeared? They answer because the earth lacks in inequity and oppression!

The discussion I want to present for you today is the same that I did eighteen years ago and the method of analysis that I will adopt today is exactly the same too. In order to draw complete attention of the audience, I told them that if you intend to truly await Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.), then what should you do? Fill the earth with oppression and tyranny. We are in a class and say that the teacher will not come till the class is full of students. Now, what should the students do, who are truly awaiting their teacher? Obviously, they will stand at the door of the school and bring all those students who are playing in the nooks and corners of the school, in the classroom, to facilitate the arrival of the teacher. Similarly, if we want to become true awaiters, we must fill the earth with injustice and oppression because our religion has ordered us, “The best action is to await the reappearance. [102] ” That is, awaiting the reappearance is better than all other acts like prayer, fasting, etc. Awaiting salvation implies striving for it and in this context, the best thing to do would be to fill the earth with injustice and oppression!!

In all the gatherings in which I raised this issue, I first asked: This is the doubt. Do you have any answer for it? In more than a hundred speeches, I raised this question. Of these, I received only one response and that too was quite an interesting refutation from an eleven-year-old boy. He replied, “Our duty is to fight against oppression and tyranny.” I retorted, “It is not so. For, although it is your duty to fight against oppression and tyranny, you have an even more important obligation and that is to wait for the reappearance. Waiting for the reappearance implies that you do all those things by which Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) reappears. And of course, he (a.t.f.s.) will not reappear till the earth is full of injustice and oppression.” I continued, “The gathering in which you are sitting now, your act and the gathering itself are violations of trust of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). Why? Because he (a.t.f.s.) says that I will not come till the earth is fraught with injustice and inequity. So, you must see to it that there are no such gatherings!”

On hearing this reply, the young boy kept quiet. But after a few moments, he sought permission to speak again and replied, “Did you not say that our gathering was breach of trust?” I responded in the affirmative. He said, “Did you not say that the world should be full of oppression, tyranny and violations?” I said, “Certainly.” He replied, “Fine! Now, on the basis of your objection, we are playing our part in hastening the reappearance through violations of trust on holding such congregations. As you have said that the world should be full of violations and breach of trust, for Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) to reappear. So, we are not doing anything wrong and are actually waiting for the reappearance. Through our violations, we are helping the cause of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) as per your own confession.”

Well, this answer did not provide a solution but nevertheless, it did contravene the objection. So, let us attempt to find a real solution to this objection.

The contents of the tradition under discussion were as follows:

« يملأ اللّهْ به الارض قسطا و عدلا لاً كما ملئت ظُلماً و جورا »

“Through him (a.t.f.s.), Allah will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression.”

In another tradition from Imam Muhammad Baqer (a.s.), the wordlike has been used[103] instead ofas but it does not make any difference to our argument. In this tradition, to find a solution to the problem, we shall discuss three critical terms i.e. (a) it would be filled with (b) injustice and oppression, and (c) like it would be filled with or after it is filled with.

In the term‘it would be filled with’ , being‘full’ is relative. Full of what? Because the consequence of being full has different connotations for different things. Like, the room being packed with people has one meaning while the room being full of flowers has a totally different connotation, and the room being full with fragrance has yet another implication. Quite often it is said, ‘the room was brimming with perfume’. Well, if the room is full of fragrance does it imply by any means that there is no carpet in that room, sofa or table in it? Does it mean that there are no humans, chandelier, or lampshade in it? Or no, while the room is bursting with fragrance, it has all other things in it as well? Thus, to state that the room is filled with fragrance does not contradict the fact that there are other things in it too. Similarly, we often say that the road is packed with cars while we are seeing that there are a number of people walking on it. Yet, the statement that the roads are packed with cars is valid. Likewise, we state that the city garden is bursting with trees and flowers despite the fact that there are numerous people roaming in it. To sum it up, contrast of a thing that is full should be from a thing belonging to the same species, not to other species.

“Oppression and tyranny” means to transgress, to violate unlawfully and injustice. This is distinct from mischief and disbelief. When we say, “full of oppression and tyranny”, it neither suggests being replete with those who abandon their prayers (taarek al-salaat ) nor those who don’t fast nor other ethical violations, and not even polytheism and disbelief. It just means oppression. Incidentally, the idea of oppression does not indicate in any way that each and every individual should be an oppressor. The term ‘oppression’ is very much like perfume in the aforementioned example of the room being fragrant. Thus, it is possible that the world is enveloped with injustice and oppression yet there exist some individuals who are piety and justice personified.

For the world to be full of injustice and oppression does not mean you and me start beating each other, I abandon the prayers while you become an atheist. Certainly, it is not so. We can say that on the day of Aashura, injustice and tyranny surrounded Karbala. But in these very circumstances, Imam Husain (a.s.) was also present there. Does this, by any chance, suggest that God forbid, Imam Husain (a.s.) also was an oppressor? For the validity of the statement ‘being filled with injustice and oppression ’, it is not essential that we become corrupt, mischief-makers, impious, transgressors, polytheists, unbelievers, etc. Rather, it is sufficient that two powers clash with each other and kill the innocents, and yet there is a nation that is virtuous and righteous.

Therefore, if oppression and tyranny seize the world, why should you rule on the basis of inequity? Why should you help and assist the cause of mischief and corruption? It is not that if you are good, the world will not become fraught with evil. Regardless of you being good or evil, it is possible that the world will be full of evil and it is also possible that it might not. Hence, the concept of the world becoming full of injustice and oppression is in no way contradictory with me or you or a particular family or tribe become moral and righteous.

The words ‘like or after it would be fraught with ’ merely relate the circumstances prevalent at the time of reappearance and don’t speak about the stipulation necessary for it. Let us elucidate the point further: For everything, we have two kinds of things; one is stipulation and the other is the time and place for its occurrence. For instance, is sunseta stipulation for you to serveIftaar or is sunsetthe time of servingIftaar ? Obviously, the latter holds true and not the former. Now, if we want to do something that you may serveIftaar earlier, should we try to change the course of the sun that it may set sooner? Definitely not, because changing the course of the sun is beyond our control.

By stipulation or prerequisite, we mean that like it is said: Anybody who comes late to theMajlis should give a treat to others. This is a stipulation or a pre-requisite. Sometimes, I say that I will come to your house at 3 p.m. Here, my coming to your house at the appointed time is not the condition for my coming; rather it is the time of my coming to your house. At other times, I say that I will come to your house only if its door remains open. Now, this ‘if’ implies stipulation and if you desire that I should visit your house, you should keep its door open.

Similarly, the world becoming full of injustice and oppression is NOT the stipulation for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). In fact, it speaks just about the state of affairs at that time. Traditions merely talk about the situation then and never imply that till the earth does not become full of injustice, oppression and tyranny, Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) will not reappear. They simply state that when he (a.t.f.s.) arrives, he will fill the earth with justice and equity after it would be fraught with injustice and oppression. Thus, it is possible that a stipulation can be the obligation of the people but time is never a duty of those who wait because it is not in their control.

The most significant proof that injustice and oppression is not the stipulation for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) is the fact that the cause of occultation was not the scarcity or lack of injustice and oppression. For, when a thing is a pre-requisite, it holds some significance. For example, I say that till everybody does not sit down, I will not speak. You see that I am standing but am not speaking. One of you stands up and says, “Mr. Iftekharzadeh! Commence your speech soon!” I reply, “I said that I will not speak till everybody sits down.” Now, if others ask this gentleman that why Mr. Iftekharzadeh is not commencing his speech, he will give the same reason i.e. since everybody is not sitting down, he is not beginning his address. If I am asked, I too will cite my condition for beginning my talk. Thus, if thecondition and stipulation for my speech is the sitting down of people, then certainly, thecause of my silence is the standing of the people.

On the same lines, if the condition for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) is the world becoming full of injustice and oppression, then the cause of occultation must be definitely their paucity and shortage. Now, is it true that when Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) went into occultation, injustice and oppression were lacking in the world? Did he (a.t.f.s.) announce to Motamid, the Abbaside ruler, that since you are not perpetrating enough atrocities and injustices, I am going into hiding, and will reappear only and only when your oppression and violence will reach to my desired limits! Did Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) rebuke the people of that era that I am going into occultation because all of you are quite religious, and will manifest myself only when you become irreligious and impious? During the world wars, did Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) say to the warring countries “Excellent? Thank you very much! Please continue to fight and spread carnage that I may reappear at the earliest!”?

Therefore, if filling of the earth with injustice, tyranny and mischief is the pre-requisite for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.), he (a.t.f.s.) must really appreciate and thank all the tyrants, oppressors and mischief-mongers of the world as they are helping his cause. But is this the case? Since we know the impropriety and falsity of the claim that Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) did not go into occultation because of the shortage of injustice and oppression then, we can easily conclude that filling of the earth with injustice and oppression will never be the pre-requisite for his reappearance. Consequently, this tradition will never become a stipulation and it will be wrong on our part to say that this is the cause of the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). Anybody, who attempts to interpret the tradition in this manner, has actually not understood Islam correctly.

To complete the discussion and classify our duties, let us cite an example here, which incidentally will clarify a number of problems, besides illuminating our obligations.

Suppose we have a class and the principle says to the students: Children! Your teacher will come late to the class. Even if one minute remains for the class to end, he will definitely arrive and discharge his duty. So, the arrival of the teacher is a certainty. The students know that when the teacher enters the class he will convert the noisy and undisciplined class into a disciplined and controlled one. He will reprimand and punish the saboteurs and mischief-makers and throw them out of the class. As a result, the noisy class will become calm and controlled one that he may teach peacefully. Thus, you dear students must wait for your teacher.

Meanwhile, the principal selects one student as a monitor. Also, he requests him to ensure discipline in the class and revise the previous lesson for the students. Moreover, the principal reminds all the students of the class that he, along with their teacher, will keep a watch over them from the upper window.

One of the students asks: When will our teacher come? The principal replies: I can’t say! Maybe he might come after half an hour, or ten minutes, or five minutes, or just before the final bell rings. But you wait for him, regardless of the time of his arrival.

After the principal walks out of the class, there are four probabilities concerning the situation of the class:

Firstly, the monitor thinks, ‘What have I got to do? Let the teacher come and take care of his class. I am going to sit in my place, write my exercises and study my lessons.

Secondly, the monitor says, ‘Who is with whom? Boys! Let us have a free for all (fight).’

Thirdly, the monitor takes a cane and stands near the blackboard and threatens, ‘Silence!’ But, the moment the class seems to come under control, one of the backbenchers takes aim at the monitor and hits him with a missile, leaving the entire class in raptures. Tired and angry, the monitor fails to instill discipline in the class despite all his efforts and the students keep mocking and poking fun at him.

Fourthly, the monitor gains instant control over the class. He organizes the class nicely and the moment the teacher walks in the class, the monitor hands over the class to him with complete preparedness.

Thus, the four conditions vis-à-vis the duty of the monitor can be summed up as follows:

Irresponsible behavior of the monitor

Collusion of the monitor with the mischief-mongers

Utter failure of the monitor in achieving his aim, notwithstanding his efforts and struggles, and

Success of the monitor in instilling control and discipline in the class

In all the aforementioned conditions, there is one sincere student who, regardless of the state prevalent in the classroom, suggest to his partner that ‘come on, let’s not disturb the class and sit together to complete our assignments. If possible, let us also make the neighboring students aware that they don’t make noise in the class and if they agree, then the few of us will not spoil or worsen the situation of the class.’ Perhaps, the thought of this sincere student makes way in the minds and hearts of other students as well, although he is not an appointed monitor. Consequently, everybody in the class starts emulating these desirable steps. It is also possible that the moment the sincere student gives this noble suggestion to his partner, the latter rejects it and colludes with the rioters, leaving the admonisher to fend for himself alone.

In the first instance, the teacher of the class, observing the state of his students from a distance, remarks to the principal, ‘Sir! This monitor is highly inefficient and indifferent. Please mark his name so that when I go to the class, I may reprimand him for his behavior. But at that very moment, when the teacher looks at the sincere student sitting at the end of the class, says to the principal, ‘Look! That boy at the far end of the class is sitting quietly and busy completing his assignments. Do you permit me to go to the class now?’ The principal replies, ‘Wait! Have patience!’

In the second instance, the teacher cries in despair, ‘Principal! How careless and sloppy could this monitor be! He has taken the initiative in spreading mischief and trouble in the class!’ But when his eyes fall on the sincere student and his partner, he says, ‘Look at those two at the far end of the class, they are busy doing their work and are totally inattentive to the waywardness of the troublemakers. Moreover, they are also trying to guide the other two students to work with them, which take the tally to four.

In the third instance, the teacher remarks to the principal, ‘This young monitor is tired and exhausted but the students are not weary of their naughtiness. But at the far end of the class, there are four students who are performing their tasks diligently.’

In the fourth instance, the teacher comments, ‘Let’s go, principal. The class is ready, the monitor is successful and the state of affairs desirable. The class is working in a most smooth and efficient manner. This instance is the most ideal state for both the teacher as well as the principal.

In all the four instances mentioned above, the door of the class opens suddenly and the teacher makes his entry.

In the first instance, immediately on entering the class, the teacher gives a hard slap to the monitor on his back, while the troublemakers too get a kick in the rear. He also congratulates the sincere student for his efforts.

In the second instance, he enters and straightaway kicks the monitor on the back and throws him out of the class. He follows it up with words of encouragement and appreciation for the sincere and diligent student.

In the third instance, he cheers and is grateful to the monitor for his efforts and struggles despite his failure in instilling discipline in the class. Later, he appreciates the hard-working and industrious students of the class, who were busy with the tasks on hand.

In the fourth and final instance, on his entry, when the students stand up in reverence, he says a general thank-you to them all and immediately, gets on with the task of teaching in the class. In the first three instances, a lot of time had been squandered on instilling discipline and numerous efforts were wasted in establishing control in the class. But in the fourth instance, as things were as desired, the teacher could get on with the vital task of teaching straightway on his entry in the classroom, without undue delay. Of course, it should be borne in mind that the duty of the teacher is not to keep the class silent and maintain discipline in it. These are just preliminaries for his main task i.e. teaching and training.

Now, the Messenger of Islam (s.a.w.a.) appointed from the side of Allah the Almighty as the dean of the University of Humanity, said, ‘O people! You have a teacher in occultation, which will come later.’ The Muslims became observers and monitors of all other people, while the Shiites happened to be the monitors of the Islamic world. Finally, the Ulama and scholars were appointed as controllers of the Shias around the globe.

In the first case, many went into their houses and sat down, saying, ‘What have we got to do? Let Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) come and change things for the better. Observers of this category are aplenty, who suggest, ‘Eesa (a.s.) for his religion and Moosa (a.s.) for his religion. We are surrounded by corrupt governments and dishonest rulers, so let us just remain in the confines of our houses.’

In the second case, the monitors and observes themselves participate in spreading mischief and trouble throughout the world.

In the third case, the monitors and observers try their utmost in finding a solution to the problems plaguing humanity but to no avail. They drop down, weary and exhausted. The day the first martyr or the second martyr or Shaikh Fadhlullah (may Allah’s mercy be on them all), were lynched by the tyrants of their eras, Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.), on observing the state of affairs, must have remarked, ‘O Allah! They want to eliminate the monitors and controllers from their midst. Permit me to go and transform the state of affairs.’ To which, Allah the Almighty must have replied, ‘Wait! The time has not yet come!’ During the course of history, we had numerous observers and monitors, who left no stone unturned and literally sweated to death, but ultimately collapsed with defeat. The troublemakers and mischief-makers did not allow their class to achieve the desired results.

In the course of all these events, there were some like the sincere and diligent students. They decided that they would not spread mischief in the earth and try to convince at least a few of their friends and acquaintances to tread this path. For, if Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) appears tonight, why should his time be wasted in controlling the class and establishing discipline in it? Why on earth should we be responsible for squandering his valuable time? Let us revise our lessons, become well versed with the commentaries and exegesis of the Holy Quran, and learn jurisprudence and other course material, so that when Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) arrives, his time should not be wasted in revising the syllabus. When the principal says to us that your teacher will come and regulate your undisciplined class, he also reminds us of reviewing and revising the previous lessons. We must not make trouble in the class that when the teacher arrives, he becomes busy in settling the class down because whether we make mischief or not, the teacher will come for sure. For, the principal has assured that even if one minute remains for the final bell to ring, the teacher will come definitely and perform his task.

The Messenger of Islam (s.a.w.a.) declared,

« لو لم يبق من الدْنيا الّا يوم واحد لطوُّل اللّهْ ذلك اليوم حتي يخرج رجل من ولدي فيملأها عدلاً و قسطا كما ملئت جورا و ظلما».

Even if one day remains for the world to end, Allah will prolong this day till He raises a man from my nation (ummah). He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be replete with injustice and tyranny .[104]

So, as the advent of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) is certain and definite, what is our duty? We are the observers for the rest of the world and in the Shiite society our role is akin to that of the diligent and sincere student. It is our religious obligation to organize a small batch of ten students, to have one class and try to prepare at least these few students for the arrival of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). Each one of us must strive to the best of our ability, be it our person, locality, organization, school, country, society, etc. to prevent our neighbor from indulging in or spreading mischief in the earth.

If the world becomes organized and disciplined by the Shiite leadership, we will become all ready and prepared for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). Establishing global security, safety, comfort and peace are the premises for the final and ultimate aim of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) i.e. to expand upon the teachings and sciences of the divine Prophets (a.s.) and Messengers (a.s.) for humanity. He should not become busy in ensuring peace and tranquility in the world, which is not his main objective. This is our duty. If everybody treads this path, whenever a reformer takes a step in improving the society, he will think: Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) is observing us. On his part, our Imam (a.s.) will pray: O Allah! He intends to do our work. Please help him and make him successful.

This is our state vis-à-vis Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and the explanation of the tradition under discussion.

O Allah! Send blessings on Muhammad (s.a.w.a) and the progeny of Muhammad!