Remembrance Of The Beloved

Remembrance Of The Beloved0%

Remembrance Of The Beloved Author:
Translator: Jalil Dorrani
Publisher: Naba Publication (www.nabacultural.org)
Category: Imam al-Mahdi
ISBN: 978-964-832363-4

Remembrance Of The Beloved

Author: Sayyid Husain Husaini
Translator: Jalil Dorrani
Publisher: Naba Publication (www.nabacultural.org)
Category:

ISBN: 978-964-832363-4
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Download: 945

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Remembrance Of The Beloved
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Remembrance Of The Beloved

Remembrance Of The Beloved

Author:
Publisher: Naba Publication (www.nabacultural.org)
ISBN: 978-964-832363-4
English

Question 1:

The Almighty Allah reckons Himself to be Sufficient as the Helper of mankind. In this regard, verse 31 from Chapter Furqan explicitly sas,

“And sufficient is your Lord as a Guide and a Helper.” (Qur'an, 25:31) Or verse 36 from Chapter Zumar says,“Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?” (Qur'an, 39:36) But, in Dua'e-Faraj of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), we recite,

“Suffice me (solve my affairs) for you both are sufficient (as solver of my affairs); and help me for you both are my helpers.”

In continuation of this 'Dua', we say :

“O my master, O the master of the age! Help me, help me, help me.” In other words, we seek help from Allah's messenger (s.a.w.a.), Amir-ul-Mu'mineen (a.s.) and Saheb-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and we reckon all of them to be sufficient as our helpers. Don't these two issues contradict one another?

Reply:

The point that Allah is Sufficient, as a Helper for His servants, does not contradict with the fact that man seeks help from his fellow human-beings. Allah helps mankind in two ways: One in direct form, without any medium, and the other through some creature who has been created and bestowed power by Himself.

By Essence, Allah's help is independent and He is the source of every power and might. On the other hand, help from others takes effect by His Will and Power. Some examples of help via medium: Allah helps the living creatures to subsist via the sun; helps vegetation to grow via the rain; helps man to move from one place to another via the animals. In all these cases, Allah is the Helper but via some medium. The holy verse 71 from Chapter Yasin says:

“Do they not see that We have created cattle for them, out of what Our hands have wrought, so they are their masters?” (Qur'an, 36:71)

These creatures are helpers too; but nobody says their help contradicts Allah's Help. Rather their help is by Allah's Will, and they derive the power of help from the Beneficent Allah. Thus, we find in the holy Qur'an verses that exclusively declares help to be from Allah“And victory is only from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise” (Qur'an, 3:126) or“Thee only we worship and Thee only we beseech for help” (Qur'an, 1:5). At the same time, the holy Qur'an also talks about seeking help from creatures and other means like,“Seek help through patience and prayer” (Qur'an, 2:45) or“And help one another in goodness and piety” (Qur'an, 5:2) or“And if they seek help from you in the matter of religion, then help is incumbent on you” .(Qur'an, 8:72)

Such verses clearly reveal that there exists no contradiction between exclusive help from Allah, and the power bestowed by Allah to other helpers.

Help from the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.) and Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) is exactly Allah's Help. That which contradicts divine monotheism is the belief that someone can possess“independent” power without having to rely on Allah's Will and Authority. In our daily routine affairs, we seek help from one another; as well as, from nature and industry. Nobody considers this to contradict Allah's Help. In beseeching help by Allah's Will, it makes no difference whether it is the world of nature or the supernatural world.

Question 2:

How do the Imams as well as Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) know the deeds, thoughts and reflection of others? Are they acquainted in the same manner as Allah has dominance over the thoughts of human-beings? Are they aware of the smallest thought that can pass in one's mind? If the reply is positive, then how does their knowledge differ with Allah's Knowledge?

Reply:

On the one hand, this query is related to monotheism; and from the other side, related to prophethood and Imamat. About the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imams (a.s.), the Shias believe that the power of Prophet and Imams are from Allah, and by His Will. They have learnt this monotheistic matter from the holy Qur'an. According to verse 49 from Suran Aale-Imran, prophet Christ says,“I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah's permission” . Thus, on the basis of the Qur'an, possession of such divine power and knowledge is not impossible if Allah Wishes to bestow to whomsoever He desires.

The holy Qur'an narrates that one around Hazrat Soloman had some knowledge of the Book (partly). Allah bestowed him with such power and knowledge that he brought before Hazrat Soloman, the throne of the queen of Saba from the country of Saba in the twinkling of an eye.[86] In another similar incident, the Qur'an authenticates the power of one Jinn[87] . The same applies to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the immaculate Imam (a.s.). It is not impossible, nor beyond Allah's Power, to bestow such knowledge to whomsoever He wishes.

The precise and monotheistic point lies in the very concept and meaning of the phrase,“Allah's permission” . We know that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imams (a.s.) do not possess any“independent power and knowledge” by themselves. Whatever they possess is from Allah and by His permission. We should be clear on whether power and knowledge is possessed independently or not. Whether they are inherent in human beings or not. In such a case, numerous issues related to monotheism and Qur'an would become clear for us. As per the Qur'an and Shia belief, all power and knowledge are inherently and independently possessed by Allah only, and is bestowed to other creatures by His permission.

The honourable Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and immaculate Imams (a.s.) have traversed on this very path in all the dimensions of their life. They strived to explain to the people that every possession is by Allah's permission in order that people do not deviate from serving Allah.

At one place, (the Prophet) says :

“Had I known the unseen, I would have had much of good and no evil would have touched me” . (Qur'an, 7:188)

On the other hand, it has come down that:

“Then he drew near, then he bowed, So he was the measure of two bows or closer still. And He revealed to His servant, what He revealed………….Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of His Lord” . (Qur'an, 53:8)

About the holy Prophet's knowledge and power, you may refer to Bihar-ul-Anwar vol. 17. p. 130 onwards.

The answer to the question whether it is possible for Allah to give the whole knowledge (of the first and the last) to them is obviously positive. Otherwise, we have tied Allah's hands. Based on this rational reasoning, Imams (a.s.) have argued and said,“Is not it possible for Allah to bestow abundant knowledge to an ant? Then, they continue and say, We are no less than an ant!” (Qur'an 16:68).

However, from the viewpoint of narrations from the holy Qur'an and hadith, the Almighty Allah, His Prophet, and Imams have narrated a lot about their respective knowledge. In the book of Kafi, Vol 1, we find a chapter concerning knowledge of the Prophet and Imams.

Thus, bestowing knowledge does not necessarily create a partner for Allah. His Knowledge is independent and inherent. While their knowledge is gifted and bestowed. Another vital point, worthy of mention, is that the key of their knowledge and power has been handed over to them by Allah. Whenever they wish, they apply the key and gain knowledge. However, the master key is with Allah, and by His permission. In a hadith, it has come down as follows:

“The knowledge of Imams is such that whenever they desire to know something, they know” .[88]

In numerous other hadith, they say:

“We have knowledge of the past, present and future” .

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says,”I possess knowledge of the heavens and the earth just the way I see the palm of my hand”.[89]

To sum up, Allah's Knowledge is independent and inherent, and the knowledge of the Prophet and Imams is gifted by Allah. Rationally too, such gifted knowledge and power is not impossible and the holy Qur'an and hadith authenticate this matter. Besides, their knowledge is a key that is in their hands by Allah's permission. Such talks never leads to partnership and similarity between Allah and His servants.

Question 3:

What is the meaning and explanation of the following verse, well-known about Hazrat Mahdi's advent and government ?

Reply:

The concerned holy verse says:

“And We desired to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs” (Qur'an, 28:5).

Under the aforesaid verse, Sayyed Hashim Bahrani writes in the book“Al-Mahajjah” as follows:

“Imam Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Sadiq (a.s.) have narrated that in this verse, Firaun and Haaman are the two Quraish tyrants who would be given life by Allah during the rising of the “Qaem” at the end of time and Hazrat Mahdi would take vengeanc from them.”

This as well as other hadith clarify that by“Imams” and“heirs” in the holy verse is meant Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and his followers, who would rule in the entire land and hoist the flag of monotheism.

Question 4:

Can one find any prophecy about Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the past heavenly Books?

Reply:

Just as mentioned by the holy Qur'an, though the Old and New testament ,as well as, other Books have been distorted, nevertheless glad tidings about Hazrat can still be found in such distorted books. In other words, the hands of distorters have failed to reverse the entire truth. For instance, about the global divine saviour, it had come down in the Old testament, psalm 37, line 8 onwards as follows:

“Cast aside anger and desist from rage; do not agitate yourself……..as the evil ones would be severed and the divine ones awaiting would inherit the land” .[90]

In the Old Testament, chapter 2, verses 7-9, it has come down as follows:

“I will turn shaky all the nations and (then) virtue would grace the entire nations and Jehovah would say, I will fill this house with splendour. The Jehovah would say, Gold and silver is from me. Jehovah would say, The last glory of this house would be more magnificent than its first glory” .[91]

In the Old Testament, chapter 3 verse 9 says:

“Because at time, I would give pure tongue to all the nations until the entire lot of them would call the name of Jehovah and would worship him with one heart” .[92]

In the New testament (Bible), Gospel of Mathew, chapter 25, line 34 onwards, we read:

come O the ones who have found grace from my Father, inherit the celestial kingdom that has been prepared for you, right from the beginning of the world[93]

Moreover, in the revelation of John, chapter 2, line 26- 27:

“The one who prevails and uphods my deeds in practice, I would make him dominant over other nations until he would rule with an iron fist” .[94]

Below the word“Sushiyant” it has come down in the Persian encyclopedia ( 1: 1373) :

It is the title of each of the three promised ones in Zorasterians particularly pertaining to the last promised one named as Astutert in Avesta. He is remembered as Sushiyant the victor. Sushiyant Mazdeyasnan is like the Krishna of Brahmins; Buddah the 5 th of Buddist; Massiah of Jews; Paraclete of Christians and Mahdi of the Muslims. The Zorasterians await three promised ones.

We notice that the Old Testament (Torah) and the New Testament (Bible) give glad tidings about the promised one, in spite of the distortions therein. It shows the program of the promised one i.e., Mahdi of Islam.

Question 5:

What customs and resemblance does Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has in common with the past prophets?

Reply:

“Verily, the master of the affairs (i.e. Hazrat Mahdi) possesses the characteristic of the prophets; he bears resemblance with Moses and………” (Muntakhab-ul-Athar: 301, Hadith 5)

This is the most famous remark revealing the resemblance of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) with Hazrat Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the holy Prophet.

He bears a similarity to Adam and Noah in longevity. It has come down in the holy Qur'an that before the occurance of storm, Hazrat Noah had lived for 950 years.[95] As per historical evidences and traditions, he lived a long life even after the event of storm. His likeness to Abraham (a.s.) is his secret birth and his isolation from the people. The trait similar to Moses (a.s.) is his fear and hope. In explanation of this fear, two points have been discussed: One that when Moses abandoned his tribe and left the city he disappeared for a while and then, entered the city with“fear” .[96] He feared lest the people would recognise him. For this reason, Hazrat Mahdi's disappearance is likened to the period of disapperance of Hazrat Moses (a.s.). Another similarity is the fear for Moses's secret birth. By Allah's Will, Moses (a.s.) was born safe and sound and grew up in Pharoah's palace. Just like Pharoah who was in search for Moses (a.s.), the Abbassid Caliphs too were on the track of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) but failed to find him. They had news that someone from the holy Prophet's progeny would come and destroy the tyrants and their government. Nevertheless, Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) took birth in the military campus of the ruling government under divine protection.

His similarity with Jesus Christ (a.s.) lies in this that a few say,“Jesus has been born and killed” . Another group says,“He has not been born…….” The same talks are uttered about Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) too. A few say,“He is not yet born” while others say,“He is born and has died” .

He resembles the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in two things: One is his uprising with the sword and the other is that he would re-establish Islam from its very pillar. When he would come and present Islam before the people, they would say,“This appears to be a new religion” [97] This is because during the length of time, the Islamic ordinances would undergo a change and the meanings and concepts of Qur'an would be so distorted that when he would introduce Islam and Qur'an to the people, they would say,“This is a new faith; these are new sayings and a new religion” . In reality, this is not true. Rather, it would be presentation of the real Islam which appears new to the people. The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“Mahdi shall follow my way, and he shall never forsake my sunnah” .[98]

The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) also said:

“He (Mahdi) shall be the follower (of my sunnah); not a heretic………”

Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) bears resemblance to other prophets, like Joseph, who remained concealed from the people including his brothers and the matter of people seeing him but not recognising his identity; or like Job (a.s.) in patience and deliverance.

Question 6:

How is Imam's dressing at present and what would be his dressing during his advent? Does he wear modern and common clothes, like the common mass, or does he wear some special clothes?

Reply:

About the garb and appearance of all the Imams (a.s.) suffice it is to say that they never appeared and dressed in a manner to earn for themselves special distinctions. In all their affairs, they lived a moderate life. The essential condition of moderation is to live among the common society, and to proceed along with them (as long as it doesn't lead to sin).

To elaborate this matter, it is necessary to remind the following points:

Whenever the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would sit together with a group of people, none could tell one from the other. He would not earmark a special place for himself. When a stranger would arrive, he couldn't distinguish the Prophet among the crowd.[99] From this practice, it becomes clear that his apperance and dress was like the common people.

We conclude from the Prophet's sunnah that Hazrat Mahdi's dress is in harmony with the clothing of the common people (as long as it is not forbidden, or disapproved, and is not inappropriate with Imam's lofty position). Imam avoids clothing that may attract the attention of hundreds of thousands of people. During his Reappearance, he will dress like the people of that time except if that dress is inappropriate with Islamic principles. In such a case, his followers too would wear clothes like their Imam.

About his dress, it has come down in a tradition in Bihar-ul-Anwar 52: 11

“His dress is coarse and his food is very simple” .

From this noble tradition, we conclude that his dress is not soft and comfortable, but rather rough, thick and coarse. Besides, its colour, quality and design are not in a manner that gives special distinction over other peoples' dress. The immaculate Imams (a.s.) have themselves recommended that:“Live in the society while not making yourself conspicuous” . In confirmation with this saying, it has come down in Shia Fiqh that it is unlawful and forbidden for a male to wear a female dress, or a female to wear a male dress; or for anyone to wear any distinctive clothes. The jurists have given a decree that it is unlawful to wear distinctive clothes.[100] Distinctive clothes means a dress worn by someone, who makes himself conspicuous among the people such that they say,“Look at him, he is wearing such and such dress!” .

From this point, one can understand that Imam's dress is an ordinary and common dress.

Those who were fortunate in visiting him, have seen him in ordinary and sober native dress. In the hajj journey, he has been seen in the dress of the Arabs. In Najaf, in the dress of the clerics and at other places in ordinary clothes, so that he has not attracted the people's attention.

All these are probabilities acquired from general rules and principles. But its exact details specially at the time of his advent is only known to Allah.

Question 7:

In Ziarat of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), we read,“Salaamun-ala-Aale-Yasin” . By virtue of verse 130 of Chapter Saffat (Salaamun-Ala-El-Yasin),“Aale-Yasin” is interpreted to be the holy Prophet's progeny and Hazrat Mahdi. Please elaborate on this subject.

Reply:

One recitation is“Aale-Yasin” and the other recitation is“El-Yasin” . The difference in recitation does not imply distortion of the holy Qur'an. Distortion takes place when there is a major change, or additions in the verses by the fabricators. While difference in recitation (that is normally rooted in dialect and accent of various tribes) occurs in less significant cases. The common Sunnis have different ways of recitation with respect to most of the verses.

In the beginning of Ziarat Aale-Yasin we read,“Salaamun-Ala-Aale-Yasin” and we mean Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). The proof that Aale-Yasin refers to the holy Prophet's progeny and in this particular Ziarat to Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is that“Yasin” is a name of the holy Prophet and“Aale-Yasin” are his progeny.

Shias and Sunnis have both narrated that“Yasin” is a name of the holy Prophet.

We shall review the following references:

Ibne-Abbas has narrated that“Yasin” is Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and verbally has said, O Muhammad![101]

Imam Baqir (a.s.) said,“Allah's messenger has twelve names, that five of them appeared in the Qur'an: Muhammad, Ahmad, Abdullah, Yasin, and Noon” .[102]

In Tafsir (interpretation) of verse 130, chaptor Saffat,[103] it is said that this verse is in honour of Ali (a.s.), and he is from the progeny of“Yasin” , the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Amir-ul-Mumineen (a.s.) says:

“The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is “Yasin” and we are“Aale-Yasin” .

Hafiz Hasakani has related from various narrators:

“By Aale-Yasin” is meant“Aale-Muhammad” , and Ali (a.s.) is among“Aale-Muhammad” (progeny of Muhammad).[104]

Thus, it becomes clear that the term“Aale-Yasin” appearing in the traditions refers to the holy Prophet's progeny.

Question 8:

How can it be proved that Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is alive and not died ?

Reply:

Basically, if someone's birth, life and living is proved; then his death requires proof and not his living. Thus, when we meet someone we never ask him, “why are you still alive? “ To be alive after birth is a rational principle. If we hear the death of someone, we immeadiately inquire about the reason of this death – no matter whether he or she is young or old, healthy or sick; we always wish to know the cause of his or her death. In other words, death requires a cause.

However, this principle varies in various instances depending upon its dimensions and length of time. For example, the existence of one stone may continue for hundreds of years while that of a rose flower may last for few weeks only.

About Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), the matter concerns special divine confirmation, and Hazrat's extraordinary power possessed by divine permission. Hazrat enjoys loft power and strenght and in this regard numerous glad tidings and indications have come down like, “He bears resemblance to prophet Noah in longevity.[105] Reliable traditions about the birth, life and visitation of numerous people with Imam-e-Zamam (a.t.f.s.) proves that he is alive and is endowed with powers far above the human power.

So reason deduces that he is alive unless his death is proved by strong evidences and who can dare make such a claim!? On the contrary, his life, existance and protection of the Islamic community and the Shias, during major concealment, is as clear as broad daylight.

For the sake of finalizing the argument, the All-Knowing and Wise Allah has shown this luminous moon to a few special, pure and sincere followers right from the time of Hazrat's birth till today.

Question 9:

Why did Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have two occultation: 'Sughra' (minor) and 'Kubra' (major)?

Reply:

The holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Imams (a.s.) have said:“One of the characteristics of the twelfth Imam, Qaem Aale-Muhammad (a.t.f.s.) is that he would have two occultation: Ghaibat-e-Sughra and Ghaibat-e-Kubra” .[106]

We do not know the real reason behind occultation. However, we can guess that Allah has set the minor occultation for habituating and preparing people for the major occultation. This guess is supported by traditions where Muhaddith Qomi has brought down in the second chapter of“Muntahi-ul-Aamal” [107] in the discussion concerning biography of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). Besides, the tenth and eleventh Imam concealed themselves from the people as much as possible in order to prepare them for the major occultation.

If Hazrat had major concealment right from the beginning, then perhaps Allah's argument wouldn't be finalized for the people.

In the minor concealment, a group of people would visit Hazrat; his Imamate would be proved for some; his miracles were made apparent; he would help the people directly and people would recognize him. However, if Hazrat was not in the company of his father for five years and right from the year 260 A.H. (martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari), the major concealment would have began, it was possible that the argument would not have been finalized for the majority.

Perhaps we can say that by Allah's Grace and for the sake of finalizing the argument, he spent 69 years of his life in minor concealment i.e., from the year of Imam Askari's martyrdom in 260 A.H., till the year 329 A.H. In that year, his special envoy, Ali-ibn-Muhammad Samori passed away. By his death, the major occultation began. If we count the minor concealment from the start of Imam Mahdi's life, it would be 74 years and if we count from the start of his Imamate, it would be 69 years.

The minor concealment is named so because its duration is shorter and while he remained concealed from the common people, yet a few special figures were fortunate enough to visit him. His envoys (four among them being very famous) used to visit him. At times, by acting as an intermediary, others would get chance of meeting Imam. These envoys were reliable figures who would never disclose Imam's place to anyone. They would take only a very few in the presence of Imam (a.t.f.s.). For this reason, this period was named as minor occultation. From 329 A.H. began the major occultation. Imam (a.t.f.s.) sent a letter (Tauqee) to his envoy and therein declared:

“The absolute (kubra and full) occultation has started” .

During this period, nobody could claim the special envoy-ship or claim to meet Imam by his free will.

The major occultation is longer and Imam is concealed from majority of the people. If anyone is fortunate to see Imam it is by Imam's own desire and will.

About this matter, one may refer to“Kamaluddin” of Saduq (pp. 434-478) and“Esbaat-ul-Huda” of Shaikh Hur Aameli. In them, they have brought down traditions and narrated incidents of those who have visited Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) during the minor concealment or even before; either during Imam Askari's era of those five years; or after the termination of Imam Askari's Imamate; either through an intermediary (i.e., the envoys) or without them.

Question 10:

Doesn't Hazrat Mahdi's existence in the society, during occultation, contradict the very meaning of occultation (Ghaibat) and his concealment? Doesn’t such appearance in gatherings nullify 'Ghaibat'?

Reply:

Such existence does not contradict 'Ghaibat' because people see him but do not recognize him. Hazrat appears only before few exclusive people; and majority of the people do not see him. 'Ghaibat' means that people do not recognize Imam (a.t.f.s.) and are unaware of his special place. It does not give the meaning of non-existent. The best explanation and meaning of 'Ghaibat' is the very one narrated by Imam Sadiq (a.s.):

“They see him but do not recognize him” .[108]

Also, Zurarah-ibn-A'yan narrates from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that the“Qaem” would have two 'Ghaibat'. He explained that while in one his place would be known only to a special few, in case of the other, his whereabouts would not be known. Imam continues to say that during hajj, he appears; he sees the people but the people do not see him”.[109]

Imam Husain (a.s.) said:

“Except for the servant who looks after his affairs, his place cannot be known” .[110]

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) addressed Sudair:

“How can you deny that Allah acts with him in the same manner as Joseph? He walks in their market, and steps on their rugs. But people do not recognize him except if Allah permits him to introduce himself” .[111]

About the meaning of verse 16 from chapter Takwir,“But nay! I swear by the stars that run their course (and) hide themselves” , Imam Baqir (a.s.) said:

“O Umm-Hani, it refers to an Imam who would conceal himself (while he would be among the people) until people would not have news of him” .[112]

Imam Reza (a.s.) said:

“He attends the hajj ceremony every year. He performs all the hajj rites. He stands in the desert of Arafat. He says “Amen” to the prayers uttered by the believers…….”[113]

Question 11:

During occultation, Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has recommended the Shias to refer to the narrators of traditions:

Are the narrators of traditions 'Faqihs' and 'Mujtahids'?

How is the relationship between Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and the narrators and jurisprudents? Do they enjoy special relation or are they like the common people? (In other words, do they meet Imam?)

Reply:

It's necessary to know the meaning of 'Ghaibat-Sughra' (minor occultation) and 'Ghaibat-Kubra' (major occultation). 'Ghaibat-Sughra' was shorter as compared with the later Ghaibat. In 'Ghaibat-Sughra', the common people could not see Imam; but a few special men could meet and establish relation with him. By means of Imam's special envoys, they could gain access to Imam (a.t.f.s.). Among them, four envoys were very famous, who could meet Imam Mahdi regularly.

'Ghaibat-Kubra' is a period wherein none have access to Imam in the ordinary way. There is no precise information about him, and nobody has any permanent or normal relation with him. However, it does not necessarily leave people without any duty during this period. Discerning the duties, implementing the ordinances and the Shias' creed are the responsibility of narrators of traditions and the Faqihs. In this regard, people have been recommended to refer to them because explanation of Fiqh (jurisprudence), Ahkam (precepts), and beliefs is held in high esteem by Imam (a.t.f.s.). Right now, whom should we approach for acquiring such knowledge? We have no alternative but to pay heed to the instructions of our Imams and refer to those who are well versed in the Imam's traditions.

Recourse to the Faqihs and narrators of traditions was something in vogue during the lifetime of Imams too. During the Imamate of Imam Sadiq (a.s.), Hazrat lived in Medina. Those residing in Marv and still many others who lived far away (who weren't fortunate enough to see their Imam even once) were forced to solve their religious problems by referring to the narrators of traditions. However, during those days, books on precepts (Ahkam) were much in brief.

The length of time created an extensive basis in Fiqh. During the lifetime of the Imams (a.s.), people directly or indirectly set forth their limited queries before their Imam and hence solved their problems in a very quick manner. However, during major occultation, things are different, and it is the experts who have to examine the existing traditions in a very scholarly manner.

During occultation, except for the holy Qur'an and traditions, we do not have any other source or authority in religious matters and precepts. The common people too lack the understanding and expertise for deriving the realities and for this reason, they have recommended us to refer to the Faqihs (who are experts in deducing a decree) for understanding the religious precepts. In this regard, Imam says:

“The people can follow a Faqih who possesses self-control; who safeguards his religion; who opposes his carnal desires and obeys his master (Allah and His Hujjat)” .[114]

Also, Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) says:

“During events and happenings, refer to the narrators of our traditions for they are my Hujjat upon you and I am Allah's Hujjat” .[115]

During occultation, those people who have familiarity and liking for Imams' words and sayings are close to them in thoughts, reflection and mentality. It's possible that among the philosophers, poets, critics, mystics, physicists, scholars, physicians, historians etc someone can be found who has a strong inclination towards Imam (a.t.f.s.) but mental and spiritual proximity is enjoyed only by those who are familiar with their words and sayings.

Their sayings and interpretations form the real framework of his creed and they are the carriers of his knowledge. A Shia should refer to them because they have much deeper knowledge in religious matters and precepts. They have been named as Imam's Nayeb-e-Aam.

Regarding the second query about the Faqihs' connection with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) it is better to say that their connection is the same as other common people. It's possible that pious Faqihs (who bear Ahl al-bayt's knowledge and are themselves dignified figures) may meet Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). People like Muqaddas Ardebeli, Allamah Bahrul-Uloom, and other great Faqihs and scholars were fortunate in meeting Hazrat Mahdi. However, the Shias refer to them not simply because they have met Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). There are numerous renowned Faqihs and Muhaddiths whose connection with Hazrat Mahdi is not proved or clear for us. For example, it's not clear whether Seqat'ul-Islam Kulaini had ever met Hazrat Mahdi. Or whether Shaikh Saduq had visited Hazrat Mahdi in wakeful state. Yet, their books are first hand Shia works and are an old source of reference for the Faqihs.

Their connection with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is based on mental and scholarly relationship. They are acquainted with Imam's thoughts and reflection by means of the traditions and the more they are well versed in the traditions, the closer they are to their Imam. History, too, supports this point. Imam (a.t.f.s.) has constantly expressed special grace and kindness to dignified Faqihs and narrators of traditions. He has helped them in sensitive matters and has been a strong support for them.

The great Muhaddith Haji Nuri has narrated as follows:

One non-Shia scholar, who was Allamah Hilli's teacher, had written a book against the Shia religion. He used to read out this book in gatherings and misguide the people. He would not give his book to anyone for this fear that some Shia scholar might disprove his book. Allamah constantly thought of acquiring this book so that he would write and refute this book. Anyhow, he utilized the teacher-student relationship and asked for the book. As his teacher didn't wish to reject his request out-rightly, he said,“I have taken promise not to give anyone this book for more than one night” . Taking advantage of this opportunity, Allamah took away the book to his house to note down its contents as much as possible. He began writing but at mid-night sleep overtook him. Hazrat Mahdi entered his house and said,“Give me the book and you may continue your sleep” . When Allamah awoke he realized that the full book was noted down by the grace of Imam (a.t.f.s.).[116]

Now that we are living at the time of occultation, we should refer to those who have been recommended by themselves (… who possess self-control…….).

To sum up, we should refer only to those Faqihs who promote Imam's school of thought; have love for Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), and are active as students of Imam's school and who call the people towards him (and not themselves). We should follow the most learned of them in Ahkam (Islamic precepts).

Question 12

Should we accept or reject those who claim to have seen Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)?

Reply:

In reality, one cannot absolutely refute the possibility of seeing Imam during occultation. There are testimonies to the truthfulness and correctness of this matter in many instances. Renowned and trustworthy figures like Abraham Mahziyar, Allamah Hilli, Sayyed-ibn-Tavoos, Allamah Bahr'ul-Uloom, Majlisi, and several others have indeed visited Imam Mahdi. However, they never spread news of their meetings in the society, and would divulge only to a few of their close followers. Besides, they would take an undertaking from their intimate friends not to disclose the matter to anyone during their lifetime and if they wanted and if need arose, they could reveal it after their death and that too only for the sake of finalizing the argument.

However, these are exceptional cases that were divulged by the fortunate ones and resulted in ethical and spiritual benefits.

It's worthy to mention that it was the custom of great religious figures not to misuse religious privileges for achieving worldly gains or consider them as a means for promoting their material life.

During our times, it has been heard that a few unknown characters have gathered around themselves certain people (particularly illiterate ladies) by the claim that they have direct relation with Imam (a.t.f.s.). They narrate unreliable and unauthentic matters by means of which they brighten up their gatherings and reap material benefits. However, they never involve themselves in discussions and reasoning and close the way of wise people for any type of research and investigation. Also, certain writers exhibit such meetings with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) to be so easy, low and insignificant that perhaps Hazrat is anxiously waiting to show himself or present some gift to any rouge in exchange for his two unit prayers or one line Ziarat.

We have ourselves seen great personalities who have spent most of their blessed life in propagating the Ahl al-bayt creed and promoting Hazrat Mahdi's name. But they never referred to the matter about visiting Imam (a.t.f.s.). Instead, they encouraged their friends and near ones to recognize and serve their Imam (a.t.f.s.). One witness that brings to light the custom followed by great scholars in their meeting with Imam (a.t.f.s.) is a memento that Sayyed Mahdi Tabatabai Bah'rul-Uloom has experienced with Mirza Qomi.

Mullah Zain-ul-Abedin Salmasi (student of Bah'rul-Uloom) narrates:

After visiting the House of Allah and the graves of Imams (a.s.) in Iraq, Mirza Qomi attended Sayyed Bah'rul-Uloom's class. When all the students left the class, he requested Sayyed to donate a few of the innumerable bounties that he has acquired.

Without any hesitation, Sayyed said, “The night before or two nights before (doubt from narrator's side), I visited the Kufa mosque for performing the supererogatory prayer. I intended to return to Najaf at dawn. I left the mosque very eager to visit the Sahlah mosque. However, I changed my mind from going because I feared my class would close down. On the other hand, my eagerness grew more than before. In such state of uncertainty, a strong wind blew and dust rose in the air. I was driven in that direction. Moments later, I found myself near the door of Sahlah mosque. I entered the mosque and found nobody save a noble man engaged in invocation. His words made one's heart calm and eyes tearful. My state transformed and my heart took off. Tears rolled down. I had never heard such words before. I realized that the one reciting himself composes and wasn't reciting out of memory.

I stopped and listened to him. I was extremely delighted. He finished his invocation. He turned towards me and said, “Come Mahdi”. I went few steps forwards and then stopped. He ordered me to still come forward. Once again, I went a few steps ahead and then stopped. He again asked me to come forward and added,“To obey is good manners” . Moments later, I went forward until my hands could reach him. Thereafter, he uttered some words.

Here, Mullah Zain-ul-Abedeen Salmasi says:

When the talk reached this stage, Sayyed refrained to continue and instead started to reply a query that Mirza had inquired before. However, Mirza asked him what words that man had uttered and Sayyed replied,“It is from the concealed secrets.” [117]

Such is the custom of our scholars in safeguarding the secret of meeting. They disclose to the people only to the extent of finalizing the argument before them.

We see how often noble men, scholars and the elect see Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) but divulge this news with great difficulty to others. Of course, their melting state itself reveals that they have been among the fortunate ones. But they have acted in such manner that others are prevented from taking any undue advantage or any illusion or suspicion is done away with.

Question 13:

We know people who have prayed the Almighty Allah for years to allow them to meet Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) or at least yearned to see him. Why such enthusiastic persons have remained unfortunate?

Reply:

We always expect an immediate reward for the one step we take forward. Among the seminary students, there is a famous saying:“An ignorant is the one who when he recites 2 units of prayers, expects to receive revelation” . In reality, we should evaluate the size of our expectation. Have we strived and struggled to the same extent? How far have we acted upon our religious duties?

An invocation (named as Dua during occultation), has come down in the books of Hadith with expression like,

“اللهم عرفني نفسك ”[118]

A part of this Dua says,

“O Allah! Make me such that I do not turn hasty in that which You have postponed and I do not postpone that which You have given preference.”

As a result, firstly, Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) himself commands that, “Pray excessively for hastening Faraj (Deliverance) and resolving the affairs.[119]

Secondly, we are duty bound to pray constantly and should strive to fulfill our duty.

Thirdly, besides praying, we are eager to see his reappearance.

Fourthly, we are desirous of meeting him. This desire is out of love and not in the form of pressing for something as one's due. It may seem impolite to express such sentences like, “Why don't you come? Where are you? Why don't you appear? We are ready!

On the contrary, it would be more correct to remain satisfied with the Divine destiny while at the same time, we eagerly pray before Allah for Imam's early Reappearance.

The holy Imams trained people in a special manner. The eagerly desire to meet is one issue, while pressing for something as one's due is another matter.

When Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.) was struck with the sword, Imam Hasan (a.s.) came to the door and said to the gathered audiance: “Our master's condition is very unstable, so please disperse.” The people left the place except for a few. One of them was Asbagh-ibn-Nobateh. Imam Hasan (a.s.) said, Why don't you go away?” He replied,“Your command to depart is clear. But my legs are unable to move until I see my kind master! Courtesy too, does not allow me to willfully enter the house.”

Imam Hasan (a.s.) went inside and returned, and then said,“Come inside” . Asbagh entered and threw himself on Hazrat's feet.[120]

We should behave in this manner before our Imams (a.s.). While keeping intact our manners, we should also express our love and devotion. May Allah shower His Mercy upon one of our great teachers. He possessed a very good ring in his finger. He gifted it to my friend. Another friend said, why didn’t he gift that to us?” One said,“If he deemed it advisable, he would have gifted it to you as well” .

Always, grace descends from top to bottom. He should gift it himself and not that we count on receiving something. The same teacher said,“I never asked anything from my teacher (in spite of possessing strength and ability). Whatever he gave me was out of grace.”

A Shia person should be keen and eager to meet Hazrat Mahdi. But this eagerness is not in the form of claim for some due. We are very insignificant and no figure to claim something as our due.[121] We should pave the background of our heart and life so that he himself showers his grace, as we are unaware of what is to our interest.

It's likely that some problem may lie ahead of the person who meets Hazrat Mahdi. For example, he may fail to preserve this secret or pride and self-conceit may overtake him in such manner that he would lag behind in all goods deeds and would start imagining that he has achieved high ranks.

Question 14:

Is there a difference between the common man and the scholars in their meetings with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)? If so, what is the difference?

Reply:

First of all, the more the knowledge (Ma'refat) of a person, the more benefit he would reap. Obviously, there exists a vast difference between the request of an ordinary man and the request of a great scholar. The former seeks bread and butter; while the latter (like Allamah Hilli) would request Hazrat to provide the key to his scholarly problem, and consequently open for him hundreds of doors of knowledge.

Another point is that if a person has several children, he would act with each of them in a different manner. Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) treats Shaikh Hasan Iraqi[122] (who accompanied Hazrat for one full week) in one way, and behaves with the fascinated youth who met him in Mashad in another way. He even writes letter to Shaikh Mofid and addresses him as“honourable brother” .[123] Thus, Imam's way of behaviour depends on the visitor's state of heart; his nature of love and affection and also on the type of grace that Imam deems fit. That which is needed is purity of heart and the one who possesses this quality possesses a great capital.

The position of religious leaders is intact. They have been named as Imam's“Nayeb-e-Aam” (common deputies). They are Imam's special servants. They run Imam's divine school of thought during his occultation. Besides them, there are few others too who are the servants and slaves of this kind master. They see him everyday and are besides him. Imam too showers his special grace upon them.

Thus, true religious scholars and Jurisprudents (Faqihs) guard the Wilayat( Leadership) and religion of Hazrat Mahdi. They are his sincere lovers and special servants. Naturally, their dignity and position holds special importance as compared to the common people.

Question 15:

During occultation, how does Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) look into the affairs of all the people of world? Does he recognize each and every individual? How would this be during his reappearance?

Reply:

This matter comprises of two aspects: One aspect is the esoteric divine deeds and capabilities of Hazrat, and the other is his apparent and natural power. Each of these should be explained separately.

By virtue of his Imamate knowledge, Imam is aware of the deeds of people. He possesses the first and the last; and the present and future knowledge by Allah's permission. He has acquaintance over all of them just as he sees the palm of his hands. About Imam, it is said he is the universal pole; the heart and focal point of this world and by Allah's permission, he controls the world.

In a class that was run by the famous liberal (Mu'tazilite) theologian Amr-ibn- Ubadi, a vital point was raised by Imam Sadiq's (a.s.) distinguished student, Hisham-ibn-Hakam. Later, while reporting to Imam Sadiq (a.s.) the matter, Imam (a.s.) approved his action. The gist of it is as follows:

Man as a living creature possesses numerous tools in his body: His eyes function; his ears function; his tongue functions; his digestive system builds bones out of the digested food; it composes blood; it produces skin, it makes veins; it forms nerves etc etc. Thus man possesses organs and limbs. Amongst them, who is the commander-in-chief? How is the soul supreme over all the organs at one and the same time? How at one and the same time, it commands the eyes to see; the ears to listen; the tongue to talk; the brain to take photographs and so on. In the same manner, Imam (a.s.) is the heart and focal point of this universe. He is supreme over all the organs of this universe and manages them by Allah's permission.

This is Imam's divine powers. Thus, by divine power, Imam, at one and the same time, attends to hundreds of people all over the world and his help and assistance flows constantly. By virtue of his Imamate, Imam dominates over all of them by Allah's permission just as the soul and heart manages all the organs of a human body and assigns each of them some special work. He has a hand in the kingdom. By Allah's permission, he has acquaintance of the concealed things. Allah has given him the key of the unseen treasure and he has dominance over them the way he wills (verily, his will is the same as Allah's Will).

From apparent aspect:

During Reappearance and his manner of managing the world and attending to the people, one should look into the various dimensions of the characteristics of the 313 first hand companions of Hazrat Mahdi. They are Imam's pure and obedient followers. They are reliable and trustworthy figures. They are those who have killed their carnal desires. They are not loyal to their beastly desires. They are Imam's hands and eyes. They are spread in this extensive world. They lend their ears to Imam's command and in this regard are likened to the autumnal clouds (as per hadith). Within few minutes, they shall gather together and sit besides Hazrat and receive commands from him. They shall not hesitate even a bit in fulfilling his commands. They have no will power before him just as Hazrat has no will power before the Almighty Allah.

They are the members of Imam's government. They too, in turn, would select other virtuous men to run the affairs. Thus, Hazrat Mahdi possesses apparent sovereignty too over the entire world and has at his disposal precise information of every nook and corner of the world and its inhabitants.

As a result, in apparent terms, running the affairs of the world is linked to Imam's extensive and precise management; his power and finally his follower's sincere and absolute obedience.

It's worthy to mention that during the period of occultation too, Imam through his agents, looks into the affairs of the people wherever and whenever he deems fit.

Question 16:

How can one prove longevity of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) from the viewpoint of science and reason? Doesn't his long life contradict the law of nature?

Reply:

Today, the question of longevity is solved because numerous concealed realities and mysteries of the world have been discovered.

In philosophy, the matter of“Umm-ul-Ma'sael” is very famous. It is the base for all rational reasoning. All the rational impossibilities goes back to this very principle which says,“Rejection of union of two contradictions” . In other words, two opposites cannot combine together at one time and place and in one direction. In philosophy, all the impossibilities go back to the principle of“rejection of union of two opposites” otherwise nothing is impossible.

Now, does Imam's long life contradict the law of“Umm-ul-Ma'sael” ? Does it involve the union of existence and non-existence in one thing?

What about experimental science? Has the natural science acknowledged a limit for human age? If so, then why in the 20th century, the average age has surpassed the past years? Man has succeeded in lifting the average age of human-beings. Mortality was more in the past. The death rate that ruled high in the past generation (due to lack of hygiene) has now almost vanished. Currently, man is still engaged in making medicine by which human age can be increased. From the viewpoint of experimental sciences, no limit has been fixed for human age.

Experimental science says: If someone observes the rules of hygiene and nutrition and performs certain exercises and takes care, his life would be prolonged.

Besides, it is now two centuries that most of the universities around the world are striving hard to discover some medicine for adolescence. This itself is another proof that no limit has been fixed for human age However, nobody claims that the noble age of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is normal and natural. Our claim is that his long life no way contradicts reason and science while at the same time; his long life is due to Allah's Will.

Another factor to be seen is that whether this query is raised by a Muslim or non-Muslim? If raised by a non-Muslim, then this matter is a secondary one and he should investigate into the principles and essentials. If he is a Muslim, he should refer to the holy Qur'an that stipulates 950 years as only a part of prophet Noah's (a.s.) life. This afore-mentioned age was before the event of storm and only Allah knows how long prophet Noah (a.s.) lived after the storm!

“…..and so he (Noah) remained among them a thousand years save fifty years.” (Qur'an, 29:14)

As per the holy Qur'an, Ashab-e-Kahf (people of the cave) slept for 300 years. Thereafter, they awoke and lived for several years.

“And they remained in their cave three hundred years and (some) add (another) nine” . (Qur'an, 18:25)

Also, it is said Salman Farsi, the holy Prophet's famous companion lived for approximately three hundred years. He had heard that a prophet would emerge in Mecca and Medina and the period of the disciples would come to an end. (About biography of Salman Farsi, you may refer to the book,“Nafas-ur-Rahman Fi Fazael Salman” written by Muhadith Nouri, and Dehkhoda encyclopedia below the word,“Salman” )[124]

To sum up, from the viewpoint of reason, Imam's long life doesn't involve any contradiction or impossibility. From the viewpoint of experimental science too, no limit has been fixed for human age. Moreover, scientists are striving hard to increase man's life span and are trying to find a medicine for adolescence. The point is that currently, it is customarily hard to imagine such a long life for Imam (a.t.f.s.). On the other hand, we do not claim too that his longevity is customary and usual. Rather, we believe this to be one of the manifestations of Divine Power and His sunnah.

Question 17:

As per traditions, it is said that when Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) reappears, he would kill the enemies of Islam and Qur'an to such extent that blood would flow to the level of his horse's knee. On the other hand, we see reliable traditions mentioning that Hazrat would spread justice, equity, love, and kindness among people. How do we reconcile these two issues?

Reply:

We shall reply this query by going back still further. As per the holy Qur'an, the aim of prophets, messengers, divine saints and reformists is that“men conduct themselves with equity” . (Chapter Hadid, verse 25) They rise up to establish justice. This rising would be widespread and universal only during Hazrat Mahdi's time and by his hands.

So the ultimate aim of the Prophets and Imams is to create such an atmosphere in the entire world wherein all the people turn monotheist and pure Muslims and the cry:“There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; Ali is the Wali of Allah” rings throughout the world. This is the ultimate aim. This hope and aspiration has remained unfulfilled right from the time of Hazrat Adam (a.s.) till the last prophet's (s.a.w.a.) era though all the prophets and the last prophet did prepare its background to some extent.

The Imams (a.s.) have strived on this path and the reformists, preachers, writers and poets have been active too. However, as of today, justice and monotheism (where Allah has promised that these would become universal) have not yet become widespread. The person in charge of this vital task is the twelfth Imam, Hujjat-ibn-l'Hasan (a.t.f.s.). His introduction has come down in the holy Qur'an and Shia traditions, as well as, in numerous Sunni traditions. (the Sunnis accept the doctrine and originality of Mahdaviyat though they have not set forth some of Hazrat Mahdi's precise characteristics)

To sum up, the ultimate aim of mankind, right from the beginning of existence is to see through Imam Mahdi's rule and government. All along, all religions, groups and intellectuals have had hopes and aspirations in some way or the other.

When Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will rise to establish the universal government, a group will stand to oppose him out of ungratefulness and egoism and will create obstacles on his path. What is the remedy? What does reason command? Should this human hope and aspiration remain unfulfilled and instead turn into despair just for the sake of these few individuals!? Its here that defense and war (but after finalization of argument and call for peace) becomes necessary so that Hazrat can easily rule.

To achieve this aim, he has no alternative but to wage war. But it isn’t true that right from the beginning of this advent, he would start killing his opponents with the sword. For long, he will call the people towards Islam and Qur'an. The period of stability of his government would take a long time. By period of stability, we mean the period during which Hazrat would acquaint the people. The first sentence that he would utter is:

بقيةٍ الله خيرٍ لكم ان كنتم مؤمنين و انا بقيةٍ الله

Such a kind invitation shows that like his great grandfather, he too is an ocean of kindness and mercy. After he presents the true Islam to all nations and tribes and completes the argument for them, he will inevitably draw his sword against the stubborn enemies. This is because stability of Imam's government is Allah's indispensable Will and so, after finalizing the argument, he must inevitably fight against the enemies of monotheism and justice.

Actually, I have not seen any tradition pinpointed at the beginning of this query, nor did I find any by a short glance.

On the other hand, it has come down in numerous traditions that Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is victorious by the fear and is assisted and confirmed (by Allah).[125] (fear would overtake all the governments and his government would be assisted by Allah). By reflecting over the traditions, any sound mind and pure heart will accept that defense and war is inevitable.

Thirdly, we can say that such type of traditions is applicable to the period just before Imam's reappearance because it has come down in certain traditions that just before his reappearance, several wars would take place and numerous people in the world would get killed.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said,“Before the rising of the “Qaem” , there would be two deaths: The red death and the white death; such that five out of seven would perish. The red death is the death by sword (war) and the white death is plague.”[126]

Consequently, if its war and destruction of human-beings, it would occur before reappearance. This too is a sign of reappearance but capable of divine alteration.

Hazrat would rise with the sword of his grandfather, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), and after inviting the people he would fight just a few who wish to stand against the truth.

Question 18:

About Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), we read in Dua-e-Nodba that:

“Where is the distressed one, whose request is answered by Allah” ?

Has Allah promised that He would respond positively to the one who prays? About His prophet, Allah says,

“Ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them; even if you ask forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will not forgive them” . (Qur'an, 9:80)

So how can we say that Hazrat Mahdi's requests are definitely answered? Why is he called the distressed one? Why doesn't he requests for his distressed state?

Reply:

In certain instances in the holy Qur'an, the Almighty Allah has guaranteed to answer the requests of His creatures.

For instance, in chapter Mu'min (Ghafer), verse 60 says:

“And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you” . (Qur'an, 40:60)

Again, in chapter Hud, verse 3 says:

“And you that ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him; He will provide you with a goodly provision….” (Qur'an, 11:3)

Another case can be found in Chapter Naml verse 62:

“Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil?” (Qur'an, 27:62)

This noble verse says:“The prayer of the distressed one (whosoever he or she may be) is answered by Allah. It is Allah's promise to a special group. For this very reason, at times of difficulties, the Shias often recite this verse very desperately and plead before Allah to remove their distress (mainly the occultation of Imam). Besides, according to traditions, “Muztarr” (the distressed) refers to Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).

Imam Baqir (a.s.) says:

“I swear by Allah that he (Qaem Aale-Muhammad) is the “Muztarr” referred to in Allah's Book that says, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil.”[127]

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) too said:

“This verse is revealed about our Qaem. By Allah, he will recite two unit prayers at Abraham's station (Allah's House) and will pray and call Allah. He (Allah) shall answer his prayers and remove the evil from him and will make him successor on the earth.” [128]

Respected readers should refer to the book“Naame-Mahboob” (saying No 4, page 87-113) and“Najm-e-Saqeb” (section concerning Hazrat Mahdi's names and titles).

Thus, the claim that Allah has not promised to positively answer the prayers is disregarded by virtue of the verses of Qur'an.

What was said about the holy Prophet that his request for forgiveness of certain individuals is of no use, it is worthy to note that about the holy Prophet, the following verse has been revealed:

“And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Apostle had (also) asked for forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to Mercy), Merciful.” (Qur'an, 4:64)

Besides, it has come down in numerous traditions that requests of parents for their children, and requests of the oppressed in favour of their helpers, etc are answered.

Regarding the verse that says,“O Prophet, whether you ask forgiveness for them or not, Allah will not forgive them” , it refers to the hypocrites who because of their hypocrisy, even the prophet is not allowed to seek forgiveness for them. This only lays stress on Allah's Wrath upon them and has no relation with the Prophet's prayers that are answered.

Hazrat Mahdi's prayers for others would be answered.

The reason he is called“Muztarr” (distressed one) is because of the distress and hardships arising from Ghaibat (occultation) which is also the result of people's sins. By Divine Wisdom, he is concealed and would reappear one day. Thus, Hazrat himself is supposed to pray for his Faraj. Anyhow, his Reappearance is in Allah's Hands and whenever He Wills, that particular prayer, too, would be answered as it has come down in traditions that in one of the instances when Hazrat would be standing besides the Ka'ba reciting the verse,“Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil?” suddenly, the divine command for his Reappearance would be issued.[129]

Question 19:

Is it correct that Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will reappear at a fixed near future time, and most of the“signs of his Reappearance” have already been fulfilled, and the requirements are nearly prepared for his coming?

Reply:

About the“signs of Reappearance” , and the fact that most of the signs have already occurred and only a few remain to take effect, we have explained that the signs of reappearance are only groundwork and not the absolute reason for reappearance. Occurrence of these signs does not make certain the matter of reappearance. Traditions on“Ba'da” (change of Divine decision) testify that the signs of reappearance are all worthy of change, and what is indispensable is the very essence of reappearance of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). One matter in which Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) bears resemblance to Hazrat Joseph is the following:

“Allah would correct the task of his reappearance ('Zuhoor') in a night's time.” [130]

Besides, numerous traditions say that:

“Those who fix the time of Reappearance are liars and have uttered lies”

Imam's Reappearance is likened to the setting up of the judgement Day. Just as the time of judgement Day is unclear, the time of Imam's reappearance too is not known to anyone.

Moreover, the immaculate Imams (a.s.) have stressed that no time has been fixed for reappearance and Faraj and so, we too cannot fix any time.

From the traditions we understand that the Almighty Allah hasn't fixed or decreed the time of reappearance. Its knowledge is only with Allah, and He has not conveyed this even to the holy Prophet and Imams. Thus, if someone says that Hazrat would reappear during such and such year, it would imply that until that year, Hazrat would certainly not reappear. This itself is an open lie, and against the aforesaid traditions; as our traditions teach us that:

“Await the reappearance of your master every day and night.” [131]

Another result that would arise by fixing time of reappearance is that its occurrence later than the fixed time is impossible. This too has been rejected by traditions.

Therefore, those who fix the time of reappearance are liars because he will reappear whenever Allah wishes.

Question 20:

What does it imply when we say that the earth will be filled with tyranny before Imam's reappearance? Is it that there wouldn't be any justice left? Will the common people too ill-treat and oppress one another? Is the claim made by the Western countries that the rule of justice prevails in their countries true and correct?

Reply:

Two points would pave the way for replying this query:

1. In certain instances,“filled” is a relative matter, and in few cases an absolute matter. When we say,“the pool is filled with water” it implies that“filling” is used in the true and absolute sense and may even denote that water is overflowing from it. However, in the sentence,“the hall is filled with people” , the term“filled” is used in a relative sense; because only the floor and seats are filled. But a few empty seats here and there wouldn’t contradict this sentence and besides, the space till the ceiling is empty too. Thus the sentence,“the hall is filled with people” is quite different from the sentence,“the pool is filled with water.”

That the earth is filled with cruelty and tyranny conveys a relative meaning. Of course, tyranny can be seen in all the human societies and though all the societies are morally disintegrating, yet, in the midst of all such tyranny, goodness and justice can still be found.

2. From the view of the holy Qur'an and Islamic terminology, injustice and tyranny is not restricted to social injustice and tyranny of the rulers. Instead, any sin and opposition to the divine commands and prohibitions is considered as injustice. One of the terms most used in the holy Qur'an is the word,“unjust to self” like:

“Our Lord! We have been unjust to ourselves.” (Qur'an, 7:23)

Or

“And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah…………………..” (Qur'an, 4:64)

Also, the holy Qur'an interprets polytheism as a major offence:

“(Luqman says): “O my son! Do not associate with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grave iniquity.” (Qur'an, 31:13)

Consequently, the sentence,“the earth will be filled with injustice” implies that the earth will be filled with sin and corruption individually and collectively. This would open up the way for social tyranny by the hands of oppressive rulers.

The talk that the Westerners reckon their countries to be filled with justice due to implementation of their social laws is nothing but exaggeration. Firstly, individual crimes and moral degradation are rampant in these countries. Secondly, drug addiction, spiritual sickness, and depression in such countries are increasing day by day. Are not the unlimited financial transgression and individual violence, in the West, the sign of injustice? Where and in which country can we find security and complete peace? Can we label the collective transgression, colonial rule, and exploitation by countries for personal gains as justice? Is the conquest of the Islamic and the third world countries justice?

If the apparent rules prevail in the West, it is due to their success in exploiting other countries and attracting their wealth and manpower for themselves. Otherwise, not only true justice is absent in these countries, but there remains truth-seeking people who are still thirsty of justice and long for an ideal society.

Question 21:

What do we mean by saying that Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) would invite the people towards their own respective books and beliefs? Wouldn’t he invite the people to Islam and Qur'an?

Reply:

Hazrat Qaem Aale-Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) will invite all nations towards their own respective books. To the Jews, he would say,“In the Torah, it has come down about my Reappearance as such.” To the Christians, he would say,“In the Bible, my rule has been introduced in such and such manner.” To the Zoroastrians, the Hindus, and all people of other religions, he would argue and reason out by referring to their books and thus prove the rightfulness of Islam and his Imamate and rule.

In a tradition, it has come down as follows:

“Verily, the Mahdi will bring out the coffin of the Ark of the Covenant from the cave of Entakia and draw out the Pentateuch from a mountain in Syria. With them, he would argue and reason out with the Jews and majority of them would bring faith in Islam.” [132]

In this manner, the argument shall be finalized for the followers of all divine religions and human schools of thought and everyone would gather under the banner of monotheism, Islam and Qur'an with one belief. At this time, Qur'an would be the divine book and Islam would be the religion.

Hazrat Baqiyat'ul-allah (a.t.f.s.) would teach this heavenly religion to the people and interpret the Book of Allah for them. The people would continue to live with hearts and tongues united under one rule and leader.

Question 22:

Will Jurisprudence (Fiqhahat and Ijtihad) that is practiced in our time, continue to prevail during the Hazrat's time, or would they vanish completely?

Reply:

In reply to this query, we shall analyze some points:

First, we should know why Fiqhahat and Ijtihad came into practice? The term“Ijtihad” has been taken, by the Shias, from the Sunnis. Otherwise, in the Shia culture, the term“Tafaqquh” is used instead of“Ijtihad” .

During Hazrat's era, Fiqhahat would not be as prevalent as it is today, and its level would thus differ.

Ghaibat (absence) of our immaculate Imams (a.s.) has given entry to Fiqhahat and Ijtihad. As Imams (a.s.) are not present amongst all the people, the door of Fiqhahat is opened for implementing the divine ordinances. This is because the honourable Faqihs measure the diverse traditions, remove any contradictions if any and deduce the necessary decree. For this reason, from the viewpoint of the Shia Fiqh, the Ahkam (decrees) of Faqihs are exoteric.

It should be known that during occultation, the door of knowledge and certainty for attaining real Ahkam (ordinances) is closed and the people practice the exoteric Ahkam (decrees) only. However, during Hazrat's era, due to direct contact with him and widespread communication means, the uncertainties in Ahkam would not be like in the past and the Ahkam would be the divine and real Akham. Imam himself shall say,“Such is the decree of so and so matter” . His words (that are Hadith and Vahy) would be heard and practiced by all and“Taqiyyah” (dissimulation) would cease to exist during his time.

This hasn't been the case before reappearance. The Faqihs have been in charge of explaining the ordinances based on their inference from the Usul (principles). Thus, during Imam's era, there wouldn’t be any more need for such Fiqhahat and inference. Instead, there would exist certain phases of Fiqhahat and inference but different from the past. For instance, Imam's representatives and his successors would explain to the people the Ahkam. Of course, a tenderly type Fiqhahat and inference would exist at that time, but not as extensive as our time because in every nook and corner of the world, detailed explanation of ample decrees depends on a Faqih's inference and his acquaintance with the subject.

Question 23:

In traditions, Hazrat Mahdi's government is likened to Hazrat Dawood's government. From what viewpoint, their governments resemble one another?

Reply:

As per the holy Qur'an, exclusive earmarked for Hazrat Dawood was that he was made the ruler by Almighty Allah:

“O Dawood! Surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between men with justice.” (Qur'an, 38:26)

Hazrat Dawood was the first one in history who ruled esoterically in matters of litigations and disputes. In other words, whenever disputes took place between two people, they would be taken before Hazrat Dawood (a.s.) who would solve the problem by virtue of his divine knowledge (i.e., based on his knowledge of the hidden and concealed realities).

It was not the case during the time of holy Prophet and the Imams. They would judge exoterically (apparently). But, at the time of Hazrat Mahdi's (a.t.f.s.) reappearance, people would approach him with their disputes and claims and he would solve them very simply.

It should be known that such a judgment destroys any violation and transgression (which is witnessed today amongst majority of the people) because, everyone realizes that nobody can nullify the truth with the help of feigning and excuses. In other words, they fully realize that the judge is supposed to judge esoterically and his judgment is based on divine knowledge and Hazrat would act by this divine knowledge.

The similarity of Hazrat Mahdi's (a.t.f.s.) government with Hazrat Dawood's (a.s.) government lies in this that Imam (a.t.f.s.) would judge esoterically without calling for any witness or evidence.[133]

Question 24:

What difference does Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have with other prophets and Imams such that amongst all the prophets and Imams it is only Hazrat Mahdi who can fulfill Allah's Will and meet the peoples hope? Is it that the other prophets and Imams couldn’t fulfill this aim? Will Hazrat Mahdi compel the people to accept his rule? Doesn't the holy verse say, “There is no compulsion about religion ?”

Reply:

The question is that why the other Imams did not implement this universal plan which would be put into action by Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) only? Also, considering that there is no compulsion in religion, how Imam (a.t.f.s.) would force people to accept his plans?

The first part itself comprises two points: First, the Almighty Allah has not wished so. Secondly, the people before Hazrat Mahdi's rule weren't prepared for implementation of such plan. Thus during Amir-ul-Mu'mineen's rule too, the Islamic plans could not be implemented in full. The people couldn’t tolerate Imam Ali's rule. They even failed to accept Imam Hasan's government otherwise Imam Hasan (a.s.) would never have entered into peace treaty with Muwaiya. The people invited Imam Husain (a.s.). Thereafter, they changed the political situation so fast that they closed Imam Husain's path at Karbala. Before, Imam Husain (a.s.) had sent Muslim-ibn-Aqeel and people swore allegiance to him. Later, they abandoned him such that only a few remained in the Kufa mosque. At night, they did not give Muslim any shelter and left him all alone.

Thus, all the invitations and movements were all a show and weren't based on their recognition of Imam. For this reason, with one political move, the enemies turned the situation against Muslim-ibn-Aqeel.

During Hazrat Mahdi's (a.t.f.s.) rule, all groups would come to Imam's assistance and would approve his rule. This is because all the governments would come to this conclusion that they are incapable of ruling the world. Thus, they would have full preparedness in accepting Hazrat Mahdi's rule and would accept so whole heartedly.

Besides, if Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) rule extends all over the land, it doesn't contradict the verse,“there is no compulsion in religion.” This is because it is Allah's Will and the desire of the common people to see the universal government set in motion. However, only a limited number (who would refuse to accept the truth) would wish to raise the banner of opposition and perhaps say,“We wish to put up our own tribal and religious organization.”

The entire citizens around the world would say:

اشهد ان لا اله الا الله و اشهد ان محمدا رسول الله و اشهد ان عليا ولي الله

Is it possible to cancel the universal plans just for the sake of a limited few?

About Hazrat Mahdi's rule, it is worthy to mention that unlike his judgments in litigations and disputes where he would judge esoterically, he is not charged to rule esoterically. His divine knowledge has nothing to do with his ruling and acceptance of government and he would act exoterically.

Thus, the society at that time would be a Muslim society and the government an Islamic government. The slogans would be Islamic slogans. No place would be found wherein a non-Muslim would reside. No individual would be found by the name of Jew, Christian, Zorastrian Buddha, Brahmin etc. All the people would submit themselves before the truth and would say,“La-Illaha-Ilallah” though their inner freedom and authority would remain intact.

To sum up, the Will of the All-Wise Allah and the people's preparedness during the end of time makes it expedient for only Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) to shoulder this enormous duty of forming the universal government, and this is the same about which all prophets and Imams have given glad tidings.

The holy Qur'an says:

“Is it then other than Allah's religion that they seek (to follow), and to Him submits whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him shall they be returned.” (Qur'an, 3:83)

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“When our Qaem shall emerge no place would remain void of the cry, 'I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah's messenger'.” [134]

Question 25:

As per some traditions, Jesus Christ will accompany Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) during the Reappearance. Would the Christians bring faith in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and turn Muslims, or would they rebel against him?

Reply:

From the viewpoint of the holy Qur'an and authentic Shia traditions, Jesus Christ is not dead, and wasn’t crucified at all. He is alive and the Christians, of that time, were led into error about him while Allah took him up to Himself:

“And they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so………nay! Allah took him up to Himself.” (Qur'an, 4:157&158)

In the Shia traditions it has come down that he lives in the fourth heaven. What is the fourth heaven? It isn’t very clear.

Secondly, according to the context of numerous Shia and Sunni traditions, Jesus Christ is Hazrat Mahdi's vizier (minister). This messenger of Allah would follow Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and pray behind him.[135]

Thirdly, right from the time of the holy Prophet's appointment, Jesus Christ acts upon Islam, the holy Qur'an and the way of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The fact that he shoulders Imam Mahdi's ministry supports this matter as well.

Fourthly, the Christians, too, are like other nations, and majority of them would positively respond to the call of monotheism and justice given by the promised saviour. Like few others, few amongst them would show resistance.

Based on traditions, the interpreters have interpreted verse 159 from Chapter Nisa (“And there is not one of the followers of the Book but most certainly believes in this before his death” ) as follows:

Before the resurrection day (at the time of rising of Imam Mahdi), Jesus Christ would descend and no Christian or Jew would remain but that they would bring faith in him.[136]

Therefore, as per this interpretation and some traditions, the people of the Book would all bring faith in him during the end of time and Hazrat Mahdi's rule.

Question 26:

Based on verses 14 and 64 from Chapter Maeda, considering that polytheism and blasphemy would remain until the day of resurrection, would the land become free from polytheism and blasphemy during Hazrat Mahdi's rule?

Reply:

The two afore-mentioned verses say:-

“And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant, but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of; therefore We excited among them enmity and hatred to the day of resurrection; and Allah will inform them of what they did.” (Qur'an, 5:14)

“And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are spread out. He expends as He pleases; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord will certainly make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; and We have put enmity and hatred among them, till the Day of resurrection; whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land; and Allah does not love the mischief makers.” (Qur'an, 5:64)

We should see who is referred to as “بينهم ” (among them) in both the verses? Amongst which group is enmity, anger, and hatred? And what is meant by 'till the day of resurrection'?

In our daily conversation, we say, 'Our friendship will last till the day of resurrection'. In Ziarat-e-Ashura, we say to Imam Husain (a.s.):

“Peace be upon you from my side, until the day of resurrection” .

Am I alive till the day of resurrection!? Certainly not! But the contents of this sentence only wish to express that this friendship is so deep, profound, and steadfast that if we continue to live together, it would last till the day of resurrection.

These two verses say: Enmity and hatred are so deep among them that if they ever live till the day of resurrection, such enmity would continue to persist in them. This part of verse 14 is exactly the same as that of verse 64, except that instead of “القينا ” (we put) the term “اغرينا ” (we excited) is used.

Another point is that during Hazrat Mahdi's Reappearance, man would not give away his free-will and it is possible that his carnal desires as well as Satan would tempt him to evil. But the society would be a just and pious Islamic society just as the Qur'an has given glad tiding about it and everyone would be a monotheist. The holy Qur'an says:

“Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange; they shall sever Me, not associating aught with Me.” (Qur'an, 24:55)

The promise given is that fear would be taken away from the people; the earth would be at the disposal of the oppressed ones; good actions would take place and people would worship Allah and not associate anyone with Him.

In another verse, we read:

“And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.” (Qur'an, 21:105)

It is recorded in the Zaboor after the Torah that the righteous servants would inherit the land. So during Hazrat Mahdi's (a.t.f.s.) rule, the land would belong to the righteous ones and the end is for the pious ones.

“And the End is for the Pious people (against evil).” (Qur'an, 7:128); (Qur'an, 28:83)

“And We desired to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs.” (Qur'an, 28:5)

The weak would become Imams and heirs. They are the believers and people of good deeds. Their goodness will leave its effects on others too, willy-nilly.

These were the verses from the Qur'an clearly specifying that the people will worship Allah and would not associate aught with Him.

In the traditions, it is stated that no place would remain void of the cry,“I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah's messenger” . This matter has been noted down by the Sunni scholars too. In spite of all this, personal jealousy and spite might remain in individuals as after all, we are human-beings possessing freedom and authority as well as desires. But its clear that their number is very limited and the majority would be trained by Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).

To sum up, the face of the human society would turn pure and remain free from filth, blasphemy, polytheism, injustice and tyranny; all this due to the blessings of divine government and leadership of an immaculate figure. From the other side, the human-beings would not be devoid of free will. Rather, they would use their free will either in the right or wrong way:

“اما شاكرا و اما كفورا”

Question 27:

We know that Hazrat Mahdi's satisfaction and happiness, with respect to us, lies in our true and correct belief (creed) and virtuous deeds. How and by what means can one achieve this momentous issue?

Reply:

Right from the past till today, reason and experience have confirmed the issue of expertise. History talks about expertise in arts and science. The spread and expansion of sciences, arts and know-how is all the result of expertise and specialty in diverse branches. Reason too guides us to accept this fact that we must refer to the focal point of science and knowledge. Obviously, in acquiring knowledge on religion, one must return to the real focal point and fountainhead.

In this connection, the real pivot is the Qur'an and Ahl ul-bayt (a.s.) [who also possesses the knowledge of Qur'an]. It's necessary to acquire all the sciences and learn the creeds, ethics and precepts from them. Aside from numerous reliable and widely transmitted traditions from them, they have explained and interpreted the fundamentals and principles that have been complied and explained in several books like:

Nahjul-Balagha: Sermons, maxims and letters of Amir-ul-Mu'mineen (a.s.)

Sahifa-Sajjadia: Invocations and prayers by Imam Sajjad (a.s.)

Usul, Furu and Rauzah Kafi: written by Seqat'ul Islam Kulaini.

La-Ya'zural-Faqih: written by Shaikh Saduq.

Al-Estibsar: written by Shaikh-ul-Ta'efa Abu Jafar Tousi.

Al-Tahzeeb: written by Shaikh-ul-Ta'efa Abu Jafar Tousi.

Tafsir by Ali-ibn-Abraham Qommi.

Tafsir by Muhammad-ibn-Masoud Aiyashi Samarqandi.

Tafsir by Furaat-ibn-Abraham-ibn-Furaat Kufi.

Basa'er al-Darejaat, by Muhammad-ibn-Hasan-ibn-Farrokh Saffar and tens of other books on hadith and tafsir

Thus, in matters of Usul and Furu, as well as, ethics one must refer to these books.

About the matter that we should seek knowledge from them, Imam Baqir (a.s.) says about the verse:

(“Then let man look to his food” : Chapter Abasa:24):“So it is necessary that man looks to his food”

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) too said,“It means man should look at his knowledge and to see from whom he is acquiring it?” [137]

Knowledge and understanding is the main spiritual food, which must be nourished from its main source.

About the fact that we must refer to the Imams (a.s.) and the narrators of their traditions, it is quoted from Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) as saying:[138]

“At the times of new events, refer to the narrators of our words and traditions (and acquire your knowledge from them that is supplied from the limpid fountainhead of Ahl'ul-bayt).”

In this connection, refer to Usul-e-Kafi, Kitab-ul-Hujjah.

Besides, our reasoning and innate intellect dictates that in gratitude for the All-Beneficent, and as a form of servitude, we must believe and remain steadfast about Oneness of Allah, the need for a prophet, the presence of the Day of Judgment, reckoning and divine justice and the existence of guardians of religion i.e., Imamate and Wilayat.

The Knowledge and sciences must be acquired from its focal point and fountainhead. That which lifts the curtain from the human nature and essence (Fitrat ) are the holy verses of Qur'an, and the explanation given by its interpreters. Numerous verses guide us to those scholars. The holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) has determined and introduced them. He has given them the knowledge of the Qur'an, and commanded the people to follow them.

Consequently, about the exposition and explanation of innate creed, the words and sayings of the immaculate leaders are Hujjat (divine proof). They are reliable leaders in matters of Fiqh and ethics. And the more closer a Faqih (or narrator) is to them, the more is his reliability.

To sum up, the Book and the Sunnah, in their true interpreted forms, are the best and the worthiest source for acquiring the genuine Islamic doctrines and their carriers (immaculate ones) are the most reliable ones for presenting and explaining them.

Question 28:

The more a person becomes familiar with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) the more he desires to acquire his Imam's satisfaction. What should we do to attract our Imam's satisfaction more and more?

Reply:

This query arises more for the youth, because the key for gaining proximity to Allah and perfection of faith lies in Imam's satisfaction. All are aware that what deeds pleases Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.).

He is pleased with us, the followers, if we act as true Shias. The concept of Shia is summarized as true beliefs and deeds. The true spirit of these two also is love for Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Literally, Shia means follower. The requisite for following Imam is to pursue his path. So love for Imam is the main source for attracting his satisfaction.

True creed and true deeds too cannot be acquired except from his prolific school. We must learn our true creed from him and practice our true deeds by following him. Contrary to the views of the majority, one cannot acquire true beliefs and true deeds from the books written by eastern and western philosophers; the past and recent mystics and from schools of psychology and psychoanalysis. We can neither acquire them from the political dignitaries or historical reformers. We must look for them only and only in the school of Ahl'ul-bayt (which is the school of Qur'an and hadith). The Qur'an and Ahl'ul-bayt are two souvenirs that the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) has left behind and about them, he says:

“Your consideration for me lies in your guarding these two things. Protect me by these two.” [139]

I advise the youth that true creed and true deeds are no worldly goods that can be easily bought from the market. These two are the whole and sole of one's worth. It calls for precision and carefulness. It requires day to day effort. It calls for constant endeavour.

In this connection, one must lament and resort to him (for being Bab'ullah) for gaining faith, Ma'refat, certitude and protection. Our acquaintance with books that increase our Ma'refat and our company with virtuous and upright people who care for us (and do not call people towards themselves.) moves us closer to him.

Thus, the basis and foundation for attracting his satisfaction is to remain a true Muslim and believer; to have good deeds and correct reflection; to possess the spirit of perseverance and to strive and endeavour.

Now for some points which we can benefit from traditions:

Kulaini has narrated a tradition[140] , summary of which is as follows:

Ammar Saabati says:“I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.), 'Which is better? A secret worship under the rule of a false government during the concealed Imam's time, or worship under the Just government of Imam? He replied, 'Ammar! By Allah, a secret charity is better than an open charity! A secret worship during your Imam's time (who is concealed during the wicked government) with fear from the enemies, is better than worship during the days of Reappearance of the truth: know that if anyone amongst you perform the obligatory prayers in congregation and in hiding from the enemies, Allah would bestow him the reward of fifty obligatory prayers in congregation, and the one who possesses good deeds and behaviour, and controls his tongue, would be rewarded several times more..”

Also, it has come down that once, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said to Abu Basir: 'Should I inform you of a deed, by virtue of which Allah accepts all other deeds?' Abu Basir said, 'please inform me.' Imam said,“To bear testimony to the monotheistic word, “La-Ilaha-Illallah” ; to bear witness to Muhammad's messengership; to confess whatever Allah has commanded; to acknowledge our Wilayat; to grow weary of our enemies; to submit before the Imam; to remain pious; to endeavour; to keep calm and sober and to await the Qaem.”Thereafter, he said, 'By Allah's Will, we would have a government. Anyone counted to be amongst the followers of the 'Qaem' would remain pleased. He should await him; he should be pious and hold good morals and uphold constantly the spirit of awaiting him. If anyone dies in this state, he would earn the reward of Imam's companion. O blessed group! Strive seriously and await him. May it be pleasing for you!”[141]

Now for the words of this compassionate Imam (a.t.f.s.) that have come down in Tauqee:

Adopt piety (fear Allah)

Resign yourselves to us.

Return your affairs to us (and push ahead on our basis)

Do not make effort to divulge the secrets.

(Act moderately and) do not tread on the right or left path (avoid going to extremes).

Approach us and act upon the Sunnah (of prophet and Ahl'ul-bayt) with love.[142]

During phenomenon (for understanding our duty), refer to the narrators of our traditions.[143]

Pray excessively for hastening the faraj.[144]

Assist us in delivering you from troubles and conspiracies.[145]

10. Cling on to dissimulation.[146]

11. Behave in such manner that is appropriate to our love and keeps away our anger.[147]

12. If our Shias (may Allah grace them with the honour of obedience) unite their hearts and remain loyal towards their covenant, they would succeed in meeting us.[148]

Question: 29

We hear that the Imams (a.s.) had the desire to see the twelfth Imam. Was it because they believed the twelfth Imam possessed a much higher spiritual status, or it was their enthusiasm for a universal Islamic government, monotheism, and justice that created that desire in them?

Reply:

All the prophets and Imams strived constantly in upholding religion and monotheism, and wiping off polytheism and blasphemy from the human societies. Thus, they persisted on this path and sacrificed their lives and wealth. For the well-being of the people and their piety, they went so far that they never had a rest. On the other hand, based on divine glad-tidings, they realized that its complete accomplishment would be fulfilled by the hands of the promised Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). For this reason, they were in anxious state, in hope for achievement of this ultimate desire, and encouraged the people to wait for that day.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“If I happen to meet him, I would serve him my entire life” .[149]

Also, Imam Reza (a.s.) had stood up whenever he heard special title of Mahdi,i.e.”the word 'Qaem' “ and after placing his hand over the head, he had said:

“O Allah! Hasten his Faraj and make easy his rise.”[150]

Sodair Sairafi says:

“One day Mufazzal, Abu-Basir, Aban-ibn-Taghleb and I visited Imam Sadiq (a.s.) at his residence. I saw Hazrat sitting on the ground wearing a woolen cloak and was crying just like a mother who has lost her child. Sorrow and grief was visible on his face and tears rolled down his cheek. In such a state he groaned and said, 'O my master! Your concealment has taken away my sleep, seized my comfort and made my sufferings to last forever………” [151]

If we look into the traditions, we will see that all the Imams (a.s.) have shed tears and were desirous of such meeting. Such eagerness exhibited by the immaculate leaders displays a way which not only the Shias but rather all the human-beings of the world should pursue if they wish to attain salvation. Similarly, just like their divine leaders, they should pass their moments life by growing enthusiastic and yearning to see the heavenly saviour and his government.

The text of supplications and invocations narrated by Imams (a.s.) too reminds us of this zeal and anxiousness and moves our heart in desire for meeting him. In Dua-e-Ah'd we read:

“O Allah count me amongst the helpers of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Among those who defend him; who hasten to fulfil his goal; who obey his commands, and assist him...”

In this wordly life, those whose sorrow, grief, endeavours, and struggles rotate around this sacred goal, come under the cover of the glad-tidings given by Imam Sadiq (a.s.) who said:

“….blessed are the Shias of our Qaem, who during the occultation wait for his reappearance and who obey his commands when he rises! They are Allah's favourites who have no fear and grief.” [152]

Question 30:

After Reappearance, the world would become attractive and lovable and the human society would turn into an ideal society. Before Reappearance and during occultation, what are the main duties for preparing such an enviournment and society?

Reply:

It is clear that if man prepares himself for the future and looks forward to a special phenomenon, he will sacrifice his present life for that future event. For instance, if a secondary school student looks forward to become a doctor, he will learn his lesson in such manner that right from the first year, he will utilise every page of his book and every moments of his life for that future goal. One who desires to become an architect and a distinguished designer in the future, will give such value to his secondary school classes, today, as if he is sitting besides the designing table in a university!

The condition of one awaiting Hazrat Mahdi's Reappearance is the same. Such a person must arrange his present life, as if, he is just now in the presence of his just Imam (the government of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is a human and just government). Training and rectification of one's self and the community are the preliminary steps.

So, for setting up that monotheistic community, and a world full of justice, it is our duty to prepare ourselves right today and strive for its achievement by rectifying our religious beliefs and fulfilling the consequent deeds.

We should remember that when we ask Allah, by way of the following supplication, it is necessary to make ourselves worthy of such utterances via Ma'refat and action.

“O Allah! We ask You for an exalted and generous government wherein You bestow honour to Islam and its followers and bring disgrace to hypocrisy and the hypocrites; and count us among those who call others towards You and show them Your way.” [153]

For acquiring correct faith, we should consider the Imams (a.s.) as good exemplars, and learn from them and their outstanding companions, which thereafter should be acted upon. We should strive hard and exert all our efforts on this path.