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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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:

For acquaintance with the affairs related to beliefs, particularly Imamate and Mahdaviyat, what are the sources? To what extent can one rely on the Islamic sources, the holy Qur'an and the 'Ahadith' (traditions)?

Reply:

It is necessary to pay attention to the following points:

(1) The sound mind of any human being accepts that knowledge of the past and present, and its utilization is absolutely necessary. By innate nature, he relies on a series of news and information concerning rules and ethical issues. A minute observation reveals that man's individual and social life is indebted to the collection of information on various subjects where he has personally neither investigated nor experienced all by himself. Basically, it is not possible for any individual to investigate and experience all the aspects. Rather, by relying on the information of the past and present, he arranges his ordinary and scholarly life and avails himself of its results.

Without reliance on information, can anyone gain certainty about the past sciences, historical events and happenings, existence of personalities, cities and places?

Who can witness by himself the smallest as well as the most important of information and news of the past? Has every individual experience(s) the formula for all the various sciences? How has man succeeded in benefiting from the past sciences? Was it from individual experience? Who recognizes the parents of children out of experimental and scientific reasoning? In the entire human societies, how many have witnessed birth and delivery of children so that they acquire certainty that so and so are their parents!?

All these are possible, only and only, through narration by reliable persons. Most of the phenomena of human life, and civil and religious laws, are the outcome of experimental information, all acquired through narrations.

(2) Islam is a religion based on divinely granted consciousness (Fitrat). While it is the basis of acquiring the principles of human Fitrat, it also calls the people to keep this Fitrat awake. Its lucid principles and doubtless precepts call us to rely on the sayings of the prophets and Imams that were famous as trust and confidence during their respective lives.

During the length of history, the believers and others who weren't stubborn, relied on Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and believed Muhammad as a prophet who from his youth was famous as“Muhammad-e-Amin” . They reckoned his sayings to be revelation and accepted and acted upon his warnings regarding the Day of Judgment and chastisement!

(3) The same innate path exists for acquiring Islam and whatever has been taught by the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). For a research and study about Islam, there exists no way save the Qur'an and traditions; although these sayings are pondered over and appreciated by the mind.

The basis and foundation of the lofty structure of religion is formed by innate rational mind. In this regard, the holy Qur'an (the first source for the Muslims for acquiring the concepts of religion) has confirmed this innate path and leads its readers towards it. In various verses, the holy Qur'an has given validity and authority to the holy Prophet's sayings, deeds, and advises so that the Muslims follow him. For example verse 7 from chapter Hashr says:

“Whatever the Apostle gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back.” (Qur'an, 59:7)

It's clear that aside from commands and prohibitions, the holy Qur'an sets forth other matters too; and intends to strengthen the Prophet's position. Undoubtedly, these sayings and deeds too amount to Divine command and alongside the Qur'an, they form the total set of religious teachings and realties.

“Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those in authority from among you.”

It is cleat that obedience to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and those vested with authority, is different from obedience to Allah's commands (as the word 'obey' is repeated). Although the words of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imams (a.s.) are only based on revelation and just as mentioned before, the aim for obeying them is only to strengthen their position, nevertheless, the wordings and interpretation of the verse opens the door for acting upon the Hadith and sayings of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imams (a.s.).

It's necessary to remind that while the holy Qur'an is guidance and light; by Divine Wisdom, the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his true successors have been made responsible for explanation the numerous ordinances, stories and matters pertaining to belief. Thus, the holy Prophet has introduced the whole Islam by referring to the two weighty souvenirs.[154]

Therefore, traditions (Ahadit) are the fundamental pillar for understanding Islam, and have been introduced on par with the holy Qur'an.

(4) Our time is separated from the holy Prophet's time by 15 centuries. Nobody during our time lived or experienced the events during that era. As was pointed out earlier, the only rational, reliable, and accessible reference for understanding religion is the transmitted narrations, the top-most being the holy Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah. Apart from the Qur'anic text, the Muslims have two ways for gaining access to the events of that era:

First: The way selected by the Sunnis by following the caliphate system.

Second: The path pursued by the Shias in following the Ahl'ul-bayt and infallible Imams (a.s.).

We know that both groups possess books on hadith, Tafsir (interpretation of Qur'an) and history. The book named“Sahih” by Bukhari, Moslem, Tirmidhi, and Nesaee; another named Musnad by Ahmad, etc belong to the Sunnis. While Kafi, Basaer al-Darejat, Tahzeeb, Estibsar, Man-La-Yahzoro'-Faqih etc are compilations of the Shias.

If a Hadith is narrated by both groups, through the same narrator, that narrator is considered reliable by both groups, and we name him/her as a narrator having mutual approval. However, if a narrator is unacceptable by one of the groups, he is considered as“disputed” narrator.

(5) While the Shias consider the holy Imams and Hazrat Fatemah (a.s.) as the narrators having mutual approval, and the Sunnis consider them as“reliable and truthful” narrators. The Shias also believe that they are divinely gifted with the position of infallibility, Wilayat (divine authority) and Imamate (divine leadership). Thus, their narration about the Prophet's era is considered as reliable by both groups. So, if anyone from either group had lived during any of these Imams's time, would have accurately traced the Prophet's era without any distortion and acquired the commandments and other matters with full confidence.

(6) Consequently, in the Shia culture, the period for examining the narrators is about 250 years (from the holy Prophet's era till the martyrdom of Imam Askari). Now, the chain of transmission of the narrated Hadiths should be analyzed in the length of about 1150 years (starting from today and going back to 260 A.H.). On the other hand, the Sunnis should examine them in the length of more than 1400 years (counting from today going back to the Prophet's demise). As a result, there exists more reliability in the chain of narration of Shia narrators (provided the parameters for correctness of hadith are the same).

If we take into account the divine position of Imams as well, then the whole issue would change drastically. This is because its no secret that their knowledge is linked to the Prophet's knowledge as well as the holy Qur'an and their immaculate status is confirmed by the Qur'an. Besides, the Shia scholars possess special precision and parameters with regards to narrators because of their inclination towards the school of immaculate Imams (a.s.). For example, parameters like conformity of Hadith with reason, their non-contradiction with the holy Qur'an, or other widely transmitted Hadith.

(7) We accept that there exist weak traditions too. But their presence cannot affect the credit of thousands of authentic and reliable traditions. Is not in the Sunni collection of traditions any weak tradition? A review of Sahih-Moslem and Sahih-Bukhari would give its reader an idea about the extent of traditions that exists in non-Shia books, that contradict the holy Qur'an, reason, or other widely transmitted traditions. In this connection, you may refer to“Elm'ul-hadith” (Zain-ul-Abedeen Qorbani, pages 349- 375),“Sairi-dar-Sahihain” (Najmi, third section, pages 66- 73) and“Azvao-lal-Sunnat-ul-Muhammadiah” (Mahmood Aburiah).

Just for the sake of good luck, we shall now set forth a hadith concerning Imamate of Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.) and about Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)

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

“Of whomsoever I am his master (Maula), Ali is his master too.”

(Ehtejaj: Tabarsi: 58-67)[155]

Also, Abu-Zar said: Allah's messenger (s.a.w.a.) said:

“The one who obeys my command has obeyed Allah's command; and the one who disobeys me has disobeyed Allah; the one who obeys Ali has obeyed me, and the one who disobeys him has disobeyed me.” [156]

About Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) the holy Prophet said:

“Ali is from me; his spirit is from my spirit, and his clay from my clay. He is my brother, and I am his brother. He is my daughter's husband, the lady who is the chief of the ladies from the first to the last. The two leaders of my nation, the two masters of the youth of paradise viz., Hasan and Husain, and nine offspring from Husain are all from Ali. The ninth from them is “the Qaem” who will fill the earth with equity and justice, just as it would have been filled with injustice and tyranny.” [157]

Similarly, the messenger of Allah said:

“The land shall overflow with injustice and tyranny. Then, a man from my progeny shall rise. He will fill it with equity and justice.” [158]

We see the Shia, as well as, the Sunni traditions throw light on the Imamate and Wilayat of Ali (a.s.), and Mahdaviyat and Qaemiyat of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).

To sum up:

1. The innate and intellectual way open to man concerning the past era and generation is narration and traditions only.

2. This is the only solution in all the dimensions whether it is history or sciences, or doctrines or precepts.

3. In narrating Islamic and religious realities, the only reliable references are the holy Qur'an and traditions.

4. The structure and arrangement of the holy Qur'an shows that it requires interpretation, explanation and commentary by the teachers of Qur'an (the holy Prophet and immaculate Imams).

5. By adhering to the divine interpreters, the Shias pursue the path of Sunnah and traditions.

6. Today, if we wish to acquire the realities of religion and the true interpretation of the Qur'an, we must follow Ah'l al-bayt and their traditions only.

7. About Imamate and Wilayat, as well as, Mahdaviyat and Qaemiyat, we must search for them in the Qur'an and traditions of Ah'l al-bayt.

Question 2:

Why the Imams (a.s.) are twelve in number and not more? If their number were more and they were always present and active amongst the people, the phenomenon of 'Ghaibat' (concealment) would cease to exist with the result that all the problems arising from 'Ghaibat'would fail to appear and people would not go astray.

Reply:

(a) Out of Grace and Bounty, the Almighty Allah appoints prophets for man's guidance. With regards to their number, Allah appoints them as per His Wisdom and Knowledge. We read in the holy Qur'an:

O children of Adam! If there comes to you prophets from among you relating to you My communications….. (Qur'an, 7:35)

Verily, appointment of an Imam for Imamate is a divine affair just as appointment of an Apostle is a divine affair. Even the Prophets have no right of selection. Likewise, their number is fixed by Almighty Allah as per His Wisdom and Grace.

(b) Whatever the number of the prophets or Imams, this question would still exist and you may again ask, 'What is the logic behind this number? Why not more or less?

Thus, any affair whose very basis is in Allah's Hand, its dimensions and other aspects are finalized by His Will and Wisdom; and we should surrender to His Will.

Question 3:

Isn't the verse 5 from chapter Qasas about the story of Sons of Isreal and Pharaoh?

“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)

So why do we say it concerns Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)?

Reply:

We observe one point in the Islamic traditions that is supported by reason and the Book. That though the holy verses are restricted, their applicability and reign are unlimited (would continue to prevail until the Day of resurrection). So how can we say that its meanings and concepts are confined to the 'occasions of revelations' only?

The holy Prophet and Imams have said:

“If a verse from the holy Qur'an concerns a particular nation, and that nation passes away and with it that verse, then nothing would remain from the Qur'an. This is because occasions of revelation of verses are restricted. A verse may have been revealed on the occasion of some specific event but with the termination of that event, Qur'an is not rendered null and void. The holy verses have been revealed in connection with some specific events and stories but their precepts and commandments continue to prevail. Therefore, although the occasion of revelation of the above-mentioned verse concerns Firaun and the oppressed ones during his era, yet its meaning and applicability are one common rule and esoterically, it concerns Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).”

The one who explains (interprets and comments) the holy Qur'an is none other than the holy Prophet and those appointed by the Prophet. They are the pure and immaculate Imams. These teachers and interpreters have esoterically interpreted this verse to be related to Hazrat Mahdi's government. In this regard, you may refer to:

Tafsir Nur al-Saqalain 4: 107, hadith 6 & 9- 15

Tafsir Nemunah 16: 15- 21

In addition to the apparent meaning, the holy Qur'an possesses another meaning named as 'Ta'veel' (esoteric interpretation)? The matter of esoteric interpretation is discussed in the holy Qur'an. In verse 7 from Chapter Ale-Imran, it has come down as follows:

“Some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity…” (Qur'an, 3:7)

Thus the allegorical verses are to be interpreted esoterically. In continuation of the verse, it says:

“But none knows its interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge.”

This shows that undoubtedly, there exist those who are firmly rooted in knowledge and know the esoteric interpretation. This verse proves the very basis of 'Ta'veel' (whatsoever its meaning) as well as 'those firmly rooted in knowledge' (whomsoever they may be) who know the 'Ta'veel'. Now we should find out who are those firmly rooted in knowledge

After research, we shall realize that the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) [who has brought and taught the Qur'an], has entrusted its esoteric interpretation only to the Imams [from Imam Ali (a.s.) till the Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)]. These are evidences based on history and narration[159] . They have esoterically interpreted the verse in the sense that the occasion of revelation has been about Pharao's nation, but esoterically, it refers to Hazrat Mahdi's government.

Question 4:

Can we find any traditions or sayings about Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in non-Shia books? Moreover, is Mahdi a known and specific personality or it's merely a title given to the one who would rise and save the world?

Reply:

The matter of saviour and reformer has been discussed under different names, in religions and ideologies, and numerous writings exist, in this regard, with different explanations.

In the holy Qur'an too, numerous verses substantiate this point, a few of theme were pointed out while replying to the preceding queries. In the Sunni books, discussions can be found about Mahdaviyat and the promised Mahdi. Numerous traditions have been narrated in books on Hadith, as well as, the 'Sihah'. Considering the importance of this subject, exclusive books too have been compiled on this subject. An accurate look into these traditions will lead a researcher to believe that the Mahdi is a known and specific figure with known characteristics.

Amongst the traditions narrated from the holy Prophet (that has come down in Sihah and other Sunni books), we set forth the following:

The holy Prophet said:

“The world would not terminate until a man from my progeny (whose name is the same as my name) would rule over the Arabs, and would become the king.” [160]

“Mahdi lives amongst my nation……To the one who shall ask from him something, he would bestow him so much wealth that he wouldn't be able to take it away.” [161]

“Allah shall appoint someone from my progeny, who will fill the earth with equity and justice, just as it has been filled with injustice and tyranny.” [162]

“Mahdi is from the progeny of Fatemah.”[163]

“Mahdi possesses a broad forehead and a slender nose.” [164]

“The son of Maryam shall descend with the Imam from you.” [165]

“Mahdi is from our progeny. Allah shall set right his affairs in one night.” [166]

The inhabitants of the earth and heavens shall turn pleased with Mahdi and during his rule, neither the earth shall withhold its treasures nor the sky its rain.”[167]

Question 5:

In the Shia traditions, the promised Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is introduced as a known and specific person. What has been said about his qualities and signs?

Reply:

The Shia's link and connection with the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) through the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.), the matter of Mahdaviyat and Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is very clear and his characteristics have precisely come down in numerous traditions.

Since long, scholars have gained spectacular success in narrating various traditions related to Mahdaviyat, Qaemiyat, and the personality of Hujjat-ibn-Hasan (a.t.f.s.).

In the Shia books and writings, this matter has been clearly analysed in its various dimensions, since Mahdaviyat is one of the main pillars of faith, and Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the twelfth Imam and the successor to the holy Prophet's (s.a.w.a.). Following are few Shia traditions that clearly throw light on Mahdi's identity: (here, we shall summarise only from one of the reliable Shia sources namely Kamaluddin written by Shaikh Saduq)

The holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: “Mahdi is from my progeny. His name and agnomen are similar to my name and agnomen. In creation and morals, he resembles me the most...[168]

Hazrat Amir-ul-Muminin (a.s.) said: “The eleventh from my descendent would be the Mahdi, who would fill the earth with justice, just as it would have been filled with injustice...”[169]

In a Sahifah (scroll) with Hazrat Fatemah Zahra (a.s.), it has come down:“...Abul-Qasim Muhammad-ibn-Hasan is Allah's Hujjah upon His creatures and the Upholder. His mother is a slave girl named Narjis.” [170]

Imam Hasan (a.s.) said:“Aren't you aware that except for our Qaem, all of us are compelled to swear allegiance to the illegitimate ruler of the time? Ruhullah Jesus-ibn-Maryam would pray with him. Verily, Allah shall keep secret his birth and shall conceal his existence until his rise so that he swears allegiance to nobody. He is the ninth from the descendant of my brother Husain. He is the son of a female slave. He possesses a long life and a youthful face..” .[171]

Imam Husain (a.s.) said:“The ninth from my descendant shall possess the sign of Joseph, and the sign of Moses-ibn-Imran and he is our Qaem. Allah shall set right his affairs in one night.” [172]

Question 6:

In spite that the promised Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is a fully known and specified figure, how is it that a few have ascribed and a few have claimed the post of Mahdaviyat?

Reply:

The fact that the characteristics of a person are clear and known does not prevent falsehood to take the seat of truth and the false claimants to claim the truth which actually arises from selfish motives. In the adventurous history of mankind, we find enormous number of people who have claimed Imamate, Prophethood, and even godhood and divinity; and even today, we find them with many followers!

All around the world, there live people who follow false prophets and worship man-made gods! All the prophets were in clash with the idol-worshippers. This face to face clash between truth and falsehood has constantly prevailed. However, the main and fundamental point is that the All Wise God has finalized His argument for the people through clear argument and proof, so that they may either seek guidance, or else go astray.

Chapter Dahr (or Insaan), verse 3 says:

“Surely, We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.” (Qur'an, 76:3)

Chapter Anfal, verse 42 says:

“That he who would perish might perish by clear proof, and he who would live might live by clear proof.” (Qur'an, 8:42)

The motives behind such ascription or claim to the post of Mahdaviyat can be summarized as follows:

Over-ambitiousness and desire to rule: Man within himself possesses the urge to dominate and rule and considering that the post of the twelfth Imam and universal reformer is a matchless and unique global post, the claimants have made such claim so that they can satisfy their desire of domination for a few days in this world.

Cooperation with the Caliphs and Kings: The Umayyid and Abbasid Caliphs, who usurped the caliphate of the Imams falsely, recognized themselves as being Allah's representative and the representative of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.). For the sake of survival and continuity of their own rule, they encouraged those claiming Mahdaviyat and by this way made strong their own position. For example, Mansoor Dawaniqi the Abbasid caliph who supported his own son Muhammad-ibn-Abdullah who claimed Mahdaviyat or people like Al-Naser-Le-Din'allah Abbasi (born in 553 A.H.) who themselves claimed the position of Qaemiyat and Mahdaviyat.

Greed for wealth and love of the world: Out of obedience, the people in every era, refer their religious and monetary affairs to their own Imam and the main authority for utilizing the obligatory or recommendable legal treasury is the lofty position of Imamate. Thus, certain groups have claimed this post out of greed for gathering this wealth and achieving their worldly desires.

Spread of corrupt and deviated beliefs: Considering that the true Islam of the Ahl'ul-bayt (a.s.) ruptures any kind of polytheism and deviation, takes a hard stance for any kind of prejudice in prophethood and resurrection, and supports the ethics of the Qur'an, a group by claiming Mahdaviyat, have strived to spread corrupt and deviated beliefs among the people. Through such claims as well as claim of prophethood and Godhood, they wish to replace the true Islamic creed with such unjust beliefs. Taking into account the fact that the mass hold a special belief about the universal reformer and consider him to be the only one to reform the creed and beliefs and reckon him to be the last life-saving ship amidst the endless stormy sea, certain groups have taken advantage and claimed for themselves prophethood and even Godhood like Sayyed Muhammad Bab Shirazi from Iran in the thirteenth century.

Diverting the people from awaiting for the true universal reformer: The sinister policies of colonial countries fear the unity, consolidation of the Shias and Muslims. Thus, by all possible means, they have always strived and still continue to create division and differences among the Shias. By strengthening and paving the way for the claimants, they desired (and succeeded to a certain extent) to create divisions among the Shias and Muslims so that they could rule and achieve their motives. As an example, we can name the colonial policies of England and Russia in supporting and guiding Sayyed Muhammad Bab.

Jealousy towards the Imams: The people's pure faith and love and affection for their Imam are another reason for making bright the business of these claimants. Out of jealousy, they desired to occupy this divine position.

People's annoyance and weariness arising from oppression of rulers: Whenever the pious people turn weary from the oppression of the rulers, they pacify their sorrows by remembering Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and creating a spiritual connection with him. Thus, in history, we see the mercenaries have exploited this path and claimed for themselves Qaemiyat and Mahdaviyat.

Respected readers! In certain instances, those who ascribed prominent figures with Mahdaviyat were themselves more or less possessing such motives and not the prominent figures themselves who were sometimes among the virtuous people or the Imams. For example Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) who was ascribed to be the Mahdi (a.s.) by some specific group.

At times, a group ascribed this title to someone with the motive of fighting against injustice. Amongst those who have been ascribed with the title of Mahdi but themselves did not make such a claim was Muhammad-ibn-Hanafia, son of Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.). Mokhtar-ibn-Abi-Obaidah-Saqafi revolted under his name and introduced him as the Mahdi and took revenge from the killers of Imam Husain (a.s.). After Mokhtar's murder and death of Muhammad-ibn-Hanafia, his followers denied ibn-Hanafia's death and believed he resided in the mountain of Rizwa and would return back.

Another one was Zaid-ibn-Ali-ibn-Husain (a.s.) who revolted against the Umayyid. His followers too called him the promised Mahdi. Yet another figure is Muhammad-ibn-Abdullah-Nafs-Zakiyyah who revolted against the initial rule of the Abbasids. His followers thought him to be the Mahdi.

The next group claimed the post of Mahdaviyat. Amongst them, we may name Muhammad Ahmad (Mahdi of Sudan) from Africa, Sayyed Ali Muhammad Bab from Iran (his followers well known as Babiyah), and Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani from India.

Question 7:

Does Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) possess a name and family name (surname) just like the common man? If so, what is his name and surname? Has any sketch made of his face and apparent appearance?

Reply:

About his name and surname, it's necessary to mention the following points:

Name implies proper name or proper noun that is kept for an individual at time of birth or at time of manufacture without keeping in mind its meaning.

Family name or surname is a recent custom from France. Under the term Fumille, (in English, Family) household, kin, near ones, relatives & family.

In Iran, family name or surname has become customary only in recent half-century.

The lexicon of holy book of Mr Hoax, page 59:

It had become the practice of the Jews to keep names by considering its meaning, considering the person's character, or considering the events at the time of birth. During birth or circumcision of the infant, either the mother or father or both would consult friends and then name their infant accordingly…..Sometimes, inspired by prophetic names and meanings, names were selected…..and at times, due to the above reason, someone's name would be changed during his lifetime. For example such names as Abraham, Saraa and Jacob. Sometimes the name is derived from the special event that occurred during his life-time like Samuel, Jesus, Jacob, Moses etc. Many a time, they would select divine names. For instance, they would add to a name such words as El, Yah, and Ya hoo etc and select such names as Samuel, Ya hoosh'a and Advinah. At times, one sentence was selected as name.

As per religious creed, the names of outstanding figures, such as the prophets, have been made by way of inspiration or revelation.

Among the Arab tribes, three types of names were common:

Name

Title (Laqab): comprising of a meaning that denotes some perfection.

Agnomen (Kunyah): used with such terms as اب and ام and such words as اخ، اخت، ابن، بنت (which mean the father of, the other of, the son of, the daughter of) like (ابو القاسم) Abul-Qasim and (ام سلمه) Umma-Salamah.

Regarding the Shia holy Imams, name title and agnomen were used by inspiration, revelation and divine command and each one selected for specific reason. Traditions from the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) support this view.[173]

About Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), we shall set forth traditions that show his names, titles, and agnomens:

Name:

Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said to his wife (Hazrat Narjis Khatoon):“Soon you shall carry a son whose name is Muhammad and he is the Qaem after me.” [174]

In 256 A.H, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) was honoured with a son and he named him “م ح م د ” (Muhammad)[175]

Abu-Ghanem, the servant, says:“Hazrat Abu-Muhammad Hasan Askari (a.s.) was honoured with a son, and he named him Muhammad. On the third day, he showed his son to his companions and said, 'he is your master after me, and my successor…” [176]

Title:

Abu-Haroon says:“I saw Saheb-uz-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) step into this world on a Friday 256 A.H..” [177]

Mahdi (a.s.) was born on Friday…His mother is Raihaneh, who is also called as Narjis, Seeqal and Susan…[178]

“Al-khalaf-us-Saleh” was born.[179]

Hasan-ibn-Husain Alawi says:“I approached Abu-Muhammad Hasan-ibn-Ali (a.s.) in Samerra and congratulated him for the birth of his son “Al-Qa'em” .[180]

He was given the title of“Al-hujjah” ,“Al-khalaf-us-Saleh” and“Al-Muntazar” .[181]

Name, title, agnomen:

Hazrat Jafar-ibn-Muhammad (a.s.)said: “Khalaf-us-Saleh is from my progeny. He is the Mahdi (the one guided). His name is
“م ح م د ” His agnomen is Abul-Qasim. He shall rise during the end of time.”[182]

Hazrat's visage and appearance:

The holy Messenger (s.a.w.a.) said:

“Among all the people, he resembles me the most in creation.”[183]

Also:

“He looks like me and his way is the same as my way.”[184]

Also:

“Mahdi is from my offspring. He is like a sparkling star; his colour is the colour of the Arabs, and his body as the body of the Israelite.” [185]

About his description, we quote from“Khorshid-e-Maghreb” , page 28 as follows:

“His face is tawny; his eyebrows crescent-shaped and elongated; his eyes big, black and attractive. His shoulders are broad, his teeth shining and wide. He possesses a narrow and beautiful nose. His forehead is broad and bright; his bones strong like a rock, and his hands and fingers magnified. His cheeks display less flesh and are slightly yellowish (due to sleepless nights). A black spot appears on his right cheek. His muscles are curved and strong; his hair curls over his ears. His limbs are perfect and beautiful; his figure is good-looking and charming; his face covered with halo of modesty and drowned with splendour. His appearance gushes with splendorous leadership; his looks metamorphic; his cry roaring and breath-catching.”

Question 8:

Is there any authentic tradition(s) specifying the characteristics of Imams, and in particular, the twelfth Imam?

Reply:

In reply to this proper and appropriate query, we have to say that not only one but numerous traditions have come down from the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in which one can find the names and qualities of Imams. Even in some cases, the characteristics of their companions are described too.

For the sake of brevity, we confine ourselves to the precious book,“Usul-Kafi” . This book, that was written during the minor concealment i.e., between 260 A.H. and 329 A.H., was thus closer to the time of scholars of Hadith and narrators, and the traditions narrated therein are reliable and authentic.[186]

In this book, twenty traditions have come down about the twelve Imams and their characteristics. However, we shall restrain ourselves by only one famous tradition named as Hadith-e-lauh:

Abu-Baseer quotes from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that:

“One day, my father said to Jabir-ibn-Abdullah Ansari, 'I have some private work with you.”

'Jabir replied, 'Whenever you wish, I am at your service.'

So one day, when my father found Jabir alone, he said, 'O Jabir, inform me about the Lauh (tablet) that you saw in the hands of my mother, Hazrat Fatemah (a.s.). What did Fatemah (a.s.) say and what was written in that Lauh (tablet)?

Jabir said, 'I swear by Allah that during the holy prophet's time, I entered Hazrat Fatemah's house and congratulated her on the occasion of Imam Husain's birth. I saw in her hands a green emerald coloured tablet (Lauh) with sparkling white writings, like the colour of sun. I said, 'May my father and mother be your ransom, O the daughter of Allah's Messenger. What is this Lauh?

She replied, 'It's a Lauh gifted by the Almighty Allah to my father. There is mentioned the name of my father, my husband, my two sons, and the names of my offspring who are the divine Guardians. My father has gifted this to me.”

Jabir said, '(O Baqir al-Uloom) Thereafter, your mother, Hazrat Siddiqah (a.s.), gave that tablet to me. I read that tablet and made a copy of it.

My father (Imam Baqir) said to him, 'O Jabir, show it to me.'

He replied, 'I will do it with pleasure'.

Then my father accompanied Jabir to his house. Jabir brought a writing inscribed on a deer's hide (or paper) and showed it to Imam Baqir (a.s.). Hazrat said, 'Jabir! Look into your writings and I will read out to you whatever is written in it.

Jabir checked his writings while my father read its contents. Not a single word was missed out. Jabir said, 'I take Allah as witness that I found the same in Fatemah's Lauh with the following contents:

“This is writing from the Almighty and Wise Allah to Muhammad, His prophet, envoy, and guide. The Trusted Spirit (Ruh'ul-Amin) descended on him, on behalf of the Lord of the universe. Muhammad! Honour My Names, and be grateful for My bounties, and do not deny them. I am “Allah” , with no partner- Who shall shatter the oppressors, overcome the difficulties of the oppressed ones, and requite on the Resurrection Day.

Verily, I am“Allah” with no partner. I shall punish severely the one who has hope but not in My Grace; and fears but not from My Justice! My punishment would be unprecedented.

O Muhammad! Worship Me only and rely on Me only. Verily, I did not appoint a prophet nor completed his task until I set for him a Wasi (legatee). I made you superior over all other messengers and your successors exceed over all other successors. I honoured you with two lion cubs named Hasan and Husain, your daughter's two sons.

I made Hasan the fountainhead of My Knowledge after his father, and set forth Husain as treasurer of My revelation. I gave him deliverance with the throne of martyrdom and he is the most superior of all martyrs. I have placed in him the 'Kalemah-Taammah” (the lofty realities of Imamate and Ma'aref) as well as all My clear proofs. My reward and punishment would revolve around his kin and offspring. The first of his kin is Ali, the master of all worshippers and the ornament of My past friends. His offspring is Muhammad, with same name as his great grandfather. He is the splitter of knowledge and the treasure of wisdom. Soon, the doubters in the Imamate of Ja'far (Sadiq) would perish. Denying him is like denying Me. It's My firm decree that I would honour his position and I would please him with his followers and friends. After him, a conspiracy would gloom over Moses; My covenant would never tear apart and My Proof never concealed. (Imamate and Wilayat) and My friends would be satiated with overflowing cup. Anyone rejecting them has rejected My Favour and anyone changing a verse from My Book has labelled Me a liar.

After My slave and My chosen one i.e., Moses, would come Ali, My friend and patron. Woe to those liars who deny him. He is one upon whom I would lay the heavy burden of prophethood (in Imamate) and would test him through their (i.e. the enemies) triumph. He would be killed by the arrogant demon (Ma'mun) and would be buried besides the worst creature (Harun-ul-Rashid) in a city built by a virtuous slave (Zul-Qarnain). Verily, I will please him through his son Muhammad, his successor and inheritor of his knowledge. Thus, he is the treasure of My knowledge and the place of My secrets for the people. I would make his followers dwell in paradise and will accept his intercession for seventy of his follower's family-members while they were all worthy of the Fire. And I will raise salvation for him through his son Ali, My Wali, My friend, My proof among the creatures and My trust in revelation.

I will create from his offspring Hasan, the one who would call (the people) towards Me, and the one who is the treasurer of My knowledge.

I will perfect him by his son “ م ح م د” such that love and affection would cover the whole world. He possesses the perfection of Moses, the radiance of Jesus and patience of Job.

During his era (his concealment), My friends will be despised and their severed heads would be gifted like the heads of Turks and Deylam (atheists and polytheists). They would be killed and burned and fear and terror would constantly accompany their lives. Their blood would colour the land their women would wail and cry aloud.

Truly, they are My friends. I shall cast aside the gloomy curtains of conspiracies and lift away the earthquakes and heavy chains of burden. Greetings of their Lord be upon them and they are the guided ones.”

Abdul-Rahman-ibn-Salem related from Abu-Baseer that, 'If you hear no other tradition save this one, it would suffice you. So protect and keep it secret except from the deserving ones.

Question 9:

How does Hazrat Mahdi's position and station differ from that of other Imams? Similarly, how does his companions' position differ from other Imams' companions'? What does this tradition imply that 'Hazrat Mahdi is the peacock of the dwellers in paradise'?

Reply:

The simile drawn between him and peacock displays the beauty and attractiveness of the spread of Islam by his hands because when a peacock spreads its wings it displays a beautiful scene. He, too, who bears the responsibility of spreading religion all over the earth, will trim up and give beauty to the farthest end of the earth with the banner of monotheism. Just like a peacock which gives beauty to its own surrounding, he would dazzle all eyes and perplex all wisdom. However, this interpretation, as per our capacity is indeed a deficient one because the Imams (a.s.) words carry tens of other interpretations and meanings.

With regards to his rank and station, Shia and Sunni traditions have separated the five holy ones (Muhammad, Ali, Fatemah, Hasan and Husain) from others. Among the five holy ones, the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) takes the lead. After him is Amir-ul-Mu'min (a.s.) and Hazrat Fatemah (a.s.) on par with each other, followed with Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.). But, with regards to Imam Mahdi (a.s.), traditions say, 'He is the ninth from the offspring of Imam Husain (a.s.)'. Some among them say:

“The Qaem amongst them excels all.”[187]

However, a few traditions introduce all the nine Imams as equal in superiority and excellence.[188]

Considering the responsibility for forming the government lies with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), and the onerous nature of this task calls for more strength and perfection, the period of his concealment is an opportunity for gaining special and lofty spiritual qualities. By worship, prayers, invocations, etc during this lengthy period, he gains more proximity to Allah and so gains more strength and power for carrying the burden of this mighty task.

His worship and supplications as well as his endurance vis-à-vis the severe problems facing his Shias has earned for himself a lofty position and prepared himself in fulfilling the divine goals.

Hazrat Mahdi is a personality praised and lauded by Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.a.). To Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.) and Fatemah Zahra (a.s.) his existence is a great solace. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) longs to be at his service and sheds teas for his isolation and separation. Imam Reza (a.s.) stands on his feet in respect for his blessed name and prays for his advent. In fact, every immaculate Imam (a.s.) has highly honoured him in one way or the other.

On our part, it's our duty to pray for him more than our prayers for our personal needs. We should pray for his well-being and early advent and strive for gaining his satisfaction. Our hearts should become fond of him through constant remembrance. We should make effort to attract all human-beings towards him and prepare ourselves for self-sacrifice. We should review our duties and always remember him. Due to separation, our eyes must burst with tears and we must await his coming. We should pray to the Almighty Allah for his advent and request Him to make easy his onerous task. Inshallah

Question 10:

Does Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have a spouse? Does he have children? Are his children aware that their father is Hazrat Mahdi? Is his wife aware that his husband is Allah's Wali? In general, what information we have, in hand, about Hazrat's family and his private life?

Reply:

If we had accurate information about Imam Mahdi's private life, then 'Ghaibat' (concealment) would had no meaning. 'Ghaibat' means that we have no exact information about him.

We are aware that Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the immaculate Imam, and the noblest exemplar amongst all in practicing Islam. He is the embodiment of Islam. He puts into practice all the Islamic regulations within himself. Later on, he would implement these regulations world-wide. One of the Islamic regulations (and the prophet's practice) is marriage. So Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) surely marries and, at present, he may have children. But we don't have any details in this regard.

A few who were honoured of visiting Hazrat have, in certain instances, seen him at some specific places, with certain people besides him. This possibility cannot be completely negated that Hazrat lives in some particular city, village, or place that is unknown to the common man. It's also possible that Hazrat has no specific place. This too is possible that Hazrat possesses a family, spouse, and children; but they aren't aware of his Imamate.

Suppose he possesses family and children the question arises whether they too have a long life like Hazrat? Reply: Traditions only talk about Imam's long life and nothing is mentioned about longevity of his family members. About his children, in some Ziarat, we come across the word 'household members'. For example, in Ziarat on Friday, we read:

“ السلام عليك صلي الله عليك و علي أهل بيتك الطيبين الطاهرين

(Bihar-ul-Anwar 12: 215)

About this topic, you may refer to 'Discussions on Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) : 73

Question 11:

The following phrase is from Kh aja Nasiruddin Tusi:

“The existence of Imam is a grace, and his authority (and his precise presence for guiding the people) is another grace. His absence is due to us.”

Is the sins on part of Harzrat's Shias and the sins of his friends and near ones the only reason for his concealment and absence or are there other reasons too?

Reply:

In reply to another query about the reason and wisdom behind concealment, we mentioned certain reasons. We explained the difference between reason and wisdom (philosophy). We had said that we don't know the reason of concealment but we know that one of its philosophies is test and examination of the people. The peoples' sins are yet another factor. However these are not exclusive factors because, without reliance on the spiritual world, man cannot know all the dimensions of decrees and divine incidences. On the other hand, a lot of emphasis is laid on abstinence from sins; individual and social reform will bring near Hazrat's coming. Any talk about desire for Hazrat's coming is followed by prayers for his 'Faraj', and still followed by talks on morals and piety. By virtue of piety and pure soul, one can ask the Almighty Allah to hasten Hazrat's coming. But it does not mean that our reform would turn into an indispensable cause for his coming. Piety and purity of human beings pave the ground for Hazrat's coming, but is not an exclusive or binding cause.

With respect to the Shias' complain about long period of concealment, the Imams (a.s.) have recommended prayers for 'Faraj' and observance of piety. Those recommendation has been in vogue during the entire life of the Imams, as well as, after them. Even those who were honoured of meeting Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) during the major concealment have heard such recommendation.

If a Shia believes truly that commitment of sins pains Imam's heart, and affects his concealment, he will certainly not indulge himself in sins and instead would strive to reform himself.

Question 12:

Have any details come down in the Islamic traditions concerning the era of concealment? If yes, please mention a few of them.

Reply:

Traditions about the era of major concealment can be divided into four groups:

1) Traditions that talk about the spread of oppression, tyranny, immorality, prevalence of polytheism and sins, corruption and crime, isolation of Islam and Qur'an.

2) Traditions that speak of the signs before his manifestation (Zuhoor), like the revolt of Sufyani, the heavenly cry, split in the earth etc.

3) Traditions that describe the qualities of faithful believers of that time.

4) Traditions that enumerate the duties of Shias during that era.

Now, we shall set forth a tradition for each of the above groups:

1) Imam Hasan-ibn-Ali (a.s.) said:

“The case that eyes await shall not occur until the time when each will grow weary of one another, and one would spit over the other. Everyone would charge the other with infidelity, and some among you would curse the other.”

I said: Wouldn't there be any goodness at that time?

He said: The entire goodness can be found at that time because our Qaem would arise and destroy all wicked people.”[189]

The holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“How would it be during the era when your wives would turn impure, your children corrupt, and you would refrain from enjoining the good and forbidding the evil?”

They said: O the Messenger of Allah would it ever happen!?

He said: Yes, even worse. How would it be when you would enjoin the evil and forbid the good?”

They said: O Messenger of Allah, would it ever happen!?

He replied: Yes, even worse would occur. How would it be when good will be acknowledged as evil and evil, as good!?”

2) Muhammad-ibn-Moslim says, 'Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“Before the coming of our Qaem, there would be certain signs from the Almighty Allah for the faithful ones” .

I said, 'May I be sacrificed for you, what are those signs?

He said:“Allah says, 'And surely We shall test you… (referring to the believers before Imam's manifestation) with fear, hunger, and loss in wealth and life. Glad- tidings are for the patient ones.' Allah says, 'Verily, I shall test you with fear from so and so Bani….kings at the end of their rule, and shall test you with hunger arising from exorbitant prices and with loss in wealth due to corrupt trade. Similarly, we shall test you with loss in life (referring to sudden death) and loss in fruits arising from loss in first crop. Glad tidings for the patient ones for our Qaem's manifestation during that time…..” [190]

Also, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“Before the rise of the Qaem, there would be five signs: The revolt of Yamani, the revolt of Sufyani, the heavenly cry, split in the earth and the killing of Nafs-e-Zakiyah.” [191]

3) One day, the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

'I wish I could meet my brothers!'

Abu-Bakr and Omar said: 'Aren't we your brothers? We who have brought faith in you, and migrated along with you?

He said: 'You are severe Muslims who have indeed migrated. But I wish I could see my brothers!'

Once again the same question was repeated. The holy prophet said:

'You are my companions. My brothers are those who will come after you. They would have faith in me, and would love and assist me though having not seen me at all. Thus, I wish I could see them!”[192]

4) Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

The one who dies with faith in our affair (Imamate) is like the one who has set up his tent besides the 'Qaem'; rather he is like the one who fights on his side; rather like the one who achieves martyrdom on his path. Instead, his position is like the one who achieves martyrdom with the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.).[193]

Also, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“Piety, chastity, morals,… and patiently awaiting for 'Faraj' are parts of the religion of the Imams.” [194]

The aforesaid traditions clarify the severity of the“concealment period” and the heavy responsibility of a Shia during this era.

Therefore, we have been trained to pray:

اللهم عرفني حجتك فانك ان لم تعرفني حجتك ضللت عن ديني

Question 13:

Please describe the difference(s) between the time of Imam's presence and absence (Ghaibat).

Reply:

Before describing the difference(s), it is necessary to know that Hazrat Mahdi has presence in the society, but has no manifestation and is not in the public. So it's better to say what is the difference between 'Zuhoor' and 'Ghaibat'?

While explaining the difference between the two occasions, it's better to recognize the similarity between the two and then describe their aspects. However, similarity and difference are worthy of review and examination from two aspects: From the viewpoint of Imam's existence, and from the viewpoint of people during those times.

From the first aspect, a few of Imam's dignities during the concealment period are as follows:

A medium for imparting the grace of existence from the Almighty Originator to the worldly beings.

Guidance for the beings, a leader for them, and the one perfecting the human souls on the path of devotion and bondage and shielding them via indirect training.

Redresser of grievances, a haven for those seeking shelter, and a help for the helpless either directly or indirectly via some special companions.

Worship and servitude in the path of endless perfection for Imam; implementation of the obligatory and recommendable acts as well as abstinence from unlawful and abominable deeds; transfer of 'Mubah' acts (that may or may not be performed) into recommendable acts with the intention of servitude and devotion.

From second aspect:

Fulfillment of the above-mentioned instances on a wider scale and perfect manner.

Religious authority and the one replying to matters related to belief, ethics and day-to-day affairs.

A perfect specimen in all individual and social ranks in diverse dimensions.

Establishment of global and divine just government and complete fulfillment of the aspirations of the prophets.

Training the inclined souls directly and extending them to the level of perfection of devotion.

Supervision and guidance of social, political and economic systems leading to complete justice.

Active presence in the societies and direct contact with officials, governors and managers of diverse states.

Now, from the viewpoint of people:

If people pay attention to the dignities in concealment period, they can reap the benefits during this period, save, the following:

They see their Imam but do not recognize him.[195]

For acquiring knowledge related to beliefs, ethics and duties they cannot refer to their Imam (a.t.f.s.) but instead turn to his common representatives (Fuqhaha) in 'Ahkam' (religious precepts).

Submission before the ordinary governments and being far from the universal, divine and just government.

They are deprived of the direct training of that teacher who is a perfect exemplar and cannot sit to listen to his divine and pleasant speeches.

None can meet him out of one's free will and desire.

They perceive the sun (Imam's existence) behind the clouds (of 'Ghaibat').

Here, it's appropriate to mention some of the common duties of the people during Imam's 'Ghaibat' and 'presence' so that their special duties during 'Ghaibat' become clear.[196]

Necessity of recognizing Imam (a.t.f.s.)[197]

من مات و ليس له امام مات ميتة جاهلية

Obeying, following and adhering to Imam (a.t.f.s.)[198]

Referring to the Imam (a.t.f.s.) for resolving differences in matters of belief, interpretation of Qur'an and its esoteric meanings.

Considering Imam (a.t.f.s.) as the perfect exemplar in all individual, social and divine respects which necessarily calls for comprehensive 'Ma'refat' (gnosis) of God.

Presentation of beliefs, thoughts and deeds before Imam (a.t.f.s.) and adjusting and correcting them by his belief and thought via invocations and 'Ziarat' like Ziyrat-e-Aale-Yasin.

Prayers for his safety, 'Zuhoor' (manifestation) and greater perfection.

To express willingness to help and assist him.

Constant and complete readiness for obeying his commands.

Question 14:

What is 'Tauqee' and how can one know that it is from Imam (a.t.f.s.)?

Reply:

In dictionary, 'Tauqee' gives the meaning of signature or seal of a letter.

In Shia terminology, it denotes letters signed by Imam Mahdi. Some of them are Imam's own writings, and some others are Imam's dictation and written by his reliable companions.

During the two difficult periods of minor and major concealment, direct contact with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has not been possible. A few of Imam's companions would convey his message to people via the 'Tauqee'.

For instance, the trustworthy Shaikh Abu-Amr Amri (p.b.u.h.) says:

Ibn-Abi-Ghanem Qazvini and a group of Shias debated and disputed over Imam Askari's successor. Ibn-Abi-Ghanem said: 'Abu-Muhammad (Imam Askari) has departed this world and has no successor. Later on, they wrote a letter in this regard and mentioned therein their differences. They sent the letter to the holy place. They received reply to their letter in Imam Mahdi's handwriting as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

“May Allah protect you and us from conspiracies, and bestow you and us with the spirit of faith and certitude. May He safeguard us from a bad and evil end! Verily, news has come to me about a group who has doubt and uncertainty in religion and we have been informed of their doubt concerning their Master in the affairs. Therefore, we have become sorrowful, for you and not for ourselves and our condition have turned unpleasant for your sake and not for ourselves; since, God is on our side and so we do not need anybody, and we do not care anyone turning back from us! We have been created by Allah and after us; all creations have been created from us.” [199]

Here, we observe how Imam (a.t.f.s) has emphasized about the legitimacy of his Imamate and succession.

Another example belongs to the recent century where a 'Tauqee' was issued for Sayyed Abul-Hasan Esfahani, and delivered via Shaikh Muhammad Shariat Shushtari as follows:[200]

“Inform him: 'Lower yourself before the people (i.e., all the people should have access to you). Your place of sitting should be the entrance of your home, and you should fulfill the people's needs; we shall assist you.”

The proof that such 'Tauqee' belongs to Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the reliability and trustworthiness of the deputies and the narrators of 'Tauqee'. All scholars and contemporaries have confirmed on their trustworthiness.

The narrator of the first 'Tauqee' is“Abu-Amr Uthman-ibn-Saeed Amri” . About him, you may refer to 'Kalemat'ul Imam Mahdi' page 139; and regarding the second narrator,“Sayyed Abul-Hasan Esfahani” , you may refer to page 559 of the same book.

Another reason to believe that such 'Tauqee' has come from Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the predictions that have come down in some of them.

For example, Shaikh Kulaini has narrated from Qasim-ibn-Alaa as follows:

“I wrote three letters to Hazrat Baqiyatullah (a.t.f.s.) about my needs and informed him that I am an aged man having no children. Hazrat (a.t.f.s.) replied about my needs but did not mention anything about children. In my fourth letter to him, I requested him to pray to God to offer me a child. Hazrat (a.t.f.s.) replied me and he put down my wish as follows:

“O Allah! Grant him a son so that he may rejoice and make the current pregnancy of his wife a son!”

“I received the letter of Hazrat (a.t.f.s.) but I was unaware of my wife's pregnancy. I went to home and inquired her about that matter. She explained that her problem is over. After some time, she delivered a son.”

This tradition has also been narrated by Hemyari.[201]

Another case:

Ali-ibn-Husain-ibn-Babewai met Husain-ibn-Rouh and set forth certain queries. Thereafter, he wrote a letter and dispatched it to Husain-ibn-Rouh via Ali-ibn-Jafar-ibn-Aswad. He requested Husain-ibn-Rouh to deliver that letter (wherein he had expressed his desire of having a child) to Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).

In reply, Hazrat (a.t.f.s.) wrote:

“We have prayed to Allah for you in this matter. Soon you would be blessed with two beneficent and righteous sons.”

Thereafter, Abu-Jafar and Abu-Abdullah were born. Abu-Abdullah Husain-ibn-Obaidullah says: I heard Abu-Jafar (Shaikh Saduq) saying, 'I was born by blessings and prayers of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), and he considered that an honour and glory.[202]

Third case:

Abu-Ghalib Ahmad-ibn-Muhammad-ibn-Sulaiman Zurari said:

Some time ago, I wrote a letter to Hazrat (a.t.f.s.) requesting him to accept from me a piece of land (as gift). My intention was not for gaining proximity to the Almighty Allah, but wished to associate with the 'Naubakhtis' and thus come on par with them in worldly ranks. I didn't receive any reply. I insisted and repeated my request. Hazrat wrote:

“Appoint someone whom you trust and register you land in his name because you would fall in need of it.”

Thereafter, I registered this land in the name of Abul-Qasim Musa-ibn-Hasan Zajuzji, cousin of Abu-Jafar. I was confident in him and was aware about the magnitude of his honesty and belongings.

After a while, when the Bedouins took me captive and plundered my property and took away about my cattle and belongings worth a thousand dinar. I was taken captive for some time. Then I released myself by paying one hundred dinar and one thousand five hundred dirham. Besides, they took from me approximately five hundred dirham as a fee for the agents who accompanied me. When I became completely free, I felt in need of that land and then sold it.[203]

In all those instances, we see Imam's predictions have turned true and so the authenticity of 'Tauqee' is well established.

Question 15:

Is it possible to narrate with documentary proof one of the meetings of Imam (a.t.f.s.)?

Reply:

It's not possible to count the number of the meetings of the fortunate ones who have had with Imam (a.t.f.s.) either during the minor or major concealment. Because, it requires complete acquaintance of everything in this world including Imam's programs. Such knowledge and acquaintance is only with Imam (a.t.f.s.) himself.

Now, we shall set forth one of such meetings with Imam (a.t.f.s.) from the invaluable book“Kamaluddin” written by Shaikh Saduq:[204]

Ahmad-ibn-Ishaq-ibn-Sa'd Ashari says: I approached Abu-Muhammad Hasan-ibn-Ali (eleventh Imam). I was in thought of asking him about his successor. Before I could speak, he took the initiative and said:

“Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq! Verily, right from the creation of Adam till today and till the day of resurrection, the Almighty Allah has never kept and will never keep the earth devoid of His “Hojjat” . It is due to Allah's 'Hujja' that the calamities are lifted from the earth; the rain pours from the sky; the bounties are drawn out from the land.”

Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq replied, 'O son of Allah's messenger, then who is the Imam and your successor?”

Imam (a.s.) stood up instantly and went inside the room of his house. Moments later, he came out with a three year old child in arms resembling the fourteen-night moon in beauty. He said:

“Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq! It's only because of your special dignity before the Almighty Allah and His Hojjat(s) that I am now showing my child to you. His name and agnomen is the same as that of Allah's Messenger. He is the same who would fill the earth with justice and equity just as it would be filled with cruelty and injustice.

O Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq! He is like Khizr and Zul-Qarnain amongst this 'Ummah' (nation). I swear by Allah, that he would be concealed. During the concealment period, none would be delivered from this test and destruction save those whose faith in Imamate has been set firm by the Almighty Allah and has made them fortunate in praying for Hazrat's 'Faraj' and 'Zuhoor' (Reappearance).”

Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq said:“O my Master! Is there a sign so that my heart finds comfort?”

Here, the child started to speak in eloquent Arabic and said:

“I am Baqiyat'ullah on Allah's land and the avenger of Allah's enemies. (O Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq) After this visitation, do not look for any other sign and trace!”

Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq says: “I left Imam Askar's house with great joy and happiness. The next morning, I again visited Imam Askari and asked: “O son of Allah's Messenger, I am extremely pleased for casting me this favour. How does your successor resemble Khizr and Zul-Qarnain?

Imam (a.s.) replied: 'His living in concealment for a very long time!'

I said: Does it imply that his 'Ghaibat' (concealment) would be a long one?

Imam (a.s.) said: By Allah, it would be so long that the majority of his followers wouldn’t remain steadfast and would abandon their faith save those from whom Allah has taken an agreement regarding our 'Wilayat' and has strengthened their faith in their hearts.

O Ahmad-ibn-Ishaaq! This is a mysterious affair and the 'Ghaib' (unseen) from Allah! Preserve and conceal it and be amongst the thankfuls so that on the day of resurrection you would be among the 'Elliyeen' accompanying us.”

Respected readers, we have selected the above visitation because it contains numerous points. Those interested in reading about other visitations during major and minor concealment can refer to the books that were introduced in the foregoing pages.

It's necessary to remind that Shaikh Saduq is one of the greatest and most reliable Shia 'Muhaddis' (scholar of Hadith). His book“Man-La-Ya'hzoruhul-Faqih” is one of the four main reliable Shia reference books of traditions. His other book“Kamaluddin” was written by the Hazrat Mahdi's instructions; and his own birth took place by Imam's prayers. (Refer to Introduction of Kamaluddin).

Question 16:

The 'Tauqees' that have been issued talk about what topic(s) or subject(s) and are they useful for the common man?

Reply:

We should know that just like all other traditions from our Imams (a.s.), the 'Tauqees' issued by Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) too contain different matters related to beliefs, origin of creation, resurrection, ethics, jurisprudence, history, science and queries about claimants, deputyship, etc. Therefore, though they have been issued in special, they are useful for all the Shias.

For instance:

About the fact that we cannot fix any name and attribute for Allah :

“Allah is far above what one can describe or attribute and I purify Him (attribute inviolability to Him) by praising Him.” [205]

Or about Allah's Grace:

“And Allah shows the path of guidance and rectitude and makes easy your prosperity by His Mercy.” [206]

Or concerning the fact that eternity of truth and destruction of falsehood is Allah's way and custom:

“Allah has safeguarded truth along with its seekers and has set it firm in its place.” [207]

About the necessity of having 'Ma'refat' (gnosis) of Imam:

“If our Shias (may Allah grant them success in their obedience) were unanimous in carrying out their promise that lies on their shoulders, our auspicious meeting with them would not have been delayed.” [208]

About the fact that Imam's existence is the source of peoples' protection:

“We are witness and observe your supplications. May Allah protect you by that medium which Allah has bestowed upon you via His favorites (immaculate ones)” [209]

About the certainty of 'Zuhoor' (manifestation):

“Allah would complete His light even though the polytheists may dislike it” .[210]

About Imam's aid and assistance to his Shias:

“Anyhow, we have news about you and are aware of your condition and nothing is hidden from us about yourselves. We are aware of the wretched and helpless state that you have fallen into; from the time majority amongst you have pursued some unworthy deeds (that were abstained by your virtuous predecessors) and have broken the divine promise and pact in such manner that as if you are unaware about the existence of such pact” .[211]

About repentance and forgiveness:

“You have erred by refusing our favours and if your seek forgiveness from Allah, surely Allah will forgive you.” [212]

About fulfilling the peoples' needs:

“Inform him: 'Lower yourself before the people (i.e., all the people should have access to you). Your place of sitting should be a corridor and you should fulfill the people's needs. Besides, we shall assist you.” [213]

About the deputies:

“And Muhammad-ibn-Uthman Amri, may Allah be pleased with him as well as his father before him. He is trustworthy and reliable to me and his writings are of the same value as my writings.” [214]

About the third deputy:

“We are acquainted with him (May Allah bestow him with goodness and happiness and make him fortunate). We are informed of his letter and we are confident in it. He enjoys good status and position before us which has become a source of his happiness. May Allah increase His bounty for him as he is an able guardian. And all praise is for Allah, without any partner and salutations be upon His Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad and his progeny!” [215]

About the fourth deputy:

“O Ali-ibn-Muhammad Samori, may Allah give rewards to your brothers in the matter of your death! You will depart from this world within six days. So arrange and complete your affairs and do not make any will to appoint anyone as your successor because, 'the major Ghaibat' (concealment) shall commence and 'Zuhoor' (Reappearance) wouldn't occur except if the Almighty Allah gives permission and that would be after long years of darkness when hearts will turn into stones and the land filled with injustice and cruelty.” [216]

Thus we see that a great portion of the invaluable religious heritage of our affectionate Imam (a.t.f.s.) has appeared in the form of letters and treatise.

Question 17:

In diverse traditions of the immaculate Imams as well as 'Tauqees' of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) it has come down that the holy Imams pray and seek forgiveness for their Shias. How does the effect of these prayers and forgiveness manifest in our day-to-day life? Basically, do such prayers have any influence in our worldly life or do they leave their effect on us only spiritually on the Day of Resurrection?

Reply:

The prayers of the holy prophet, the Imams and Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have common and absolute effects in this world as well as the hereafter.[217] This is because, from the viewpoint of Islam, this world and the hereafter are not separated from one another. However, one should be careful to note that none of the works related to physics and metaphysics are ineffective in this world particularly so the efforts and endeavours of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) who is the most perfect human-being. The Imam and the All-Wise Allah's 'Hojjah' (who is also wise) will never perform any useless act. All their actions are effective and aside from leaving its effect in their own worship, they have their influence on others too. This matter bears numerous and precise evidences which can be seen in the history of Imams. One of the responsibilities of Imams (a.s.), in general, and Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in particular is the responsibility of praying for the Shias. In their invocations and supplications, they aren’t neglectful of praying for their partisans.

At times of hardship, they have prayed for them and solved the greatest of their problems. The story of Sayyed-ibn-Taoos is well-known when on the footsteps of the holy 'Sardab' in Samerra, he hears at dawn the pleasing voice of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) saying:

“O Allah! allow our Shias to live during our reign and glory.”[218]

Also, in one“Tauqee” , Hazrat says:

“We pursue for their protection and pray to Allah (so that) our partisans' hearts are at ease and comfort.” [219]

Another point: Not only the Imams' prayers are effective and responded to, but, as per divine teachings and Islamic evidences, the prayers of others too are influential and answerable. For instance, prayers of an oppressed for his helper, prayers of parents for their children, prayers of virtuous children for their parents and prayers of a believer for another believer.[220] Aside from the responsibility of leadership, Imamate and Prophethood, the prophet and Imams bear the responsibility of being the father of their nation.

“I and Ali are the two fathers of this nation.”

Therefore, their prayers for us (being their spiritual sons) are effective and responded to.

Besides, the more perfect the spiritual state of the one praying, the more effective are his prayers. The effectiveness of each one's prayers is diverse. The loftier a person the more supreme are his prayers. Similarly, the more superior a person's servitude and worship, the faster are his prayers answered. So the prayers of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) [who is the most perfect man and the 'Hujjah' on the land] are never left unanswered. Many of the bounties we receive are the result of Imam's prayers.

As such, it's worthy to prepare ourselves to attract our Imam's prayers because the chances of their prayers being answered are very high.

Question 18:

During 'Ghaibat' (concealment) what benefits can people obtain from Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)? What is the advantage of Hazrat during this concealment period?

Reply:

This query springs from a limited insight. Perhaps, it's taken for granted that the Imams and holy personalities must be useful and beneficial for the people. We never ask ourselves, 'what is our use and benefit for them?' whereas, it's worthy to know whether he is for us or we are for him? (this point requires explanation in its proper place).

Anyhow, the answer to the query, 'what is the benefit of a concealed Imam?' is to be searched by analysing the benefits of Imam's existence (whether concealed or apparent) and then enumerating the difference between 'concealment' and 'presence'.

Describing the benefits of Imam's existence has direct connection with recognition of the dimensions of his personality. As per Shia view, Imam has at least four outstanding dignities:

“Wilayat-e-Takvini” (authority over creation) and bestowing benefits to the creatures by Allah's permission.

Religious authority

Political ruling and government.

Giving shelter, protection and assistance to the helpless and distress people.

During the Imams' presence, all those ranks save political rule have been fulfilled for a number of Imams even though for a short period. The people benefited from their diverse dimensions. Not only have they taken care of the peoples' belief, ethics and jurisprudence but also bestowed to them spiritual benefits. Besides, during sensitive times too, they have helped them out. While the concealed Imam (a.t.f.s.) is not charged with religious authority and apparent rule (though in certain sensitive instances, he has also aided a few traditionists and jurists) his 'Wilayat-e-Takvini” and help and assistance always prevails. The book“Najm-Saqeb” written by Muhaddis Nuri is a clear witness to our talks. You may refer to the section concerning visitation and meetings with Imam (a.t.f.s.). Here we shall set forth one such case revealing Imam's aid:

Shaikh Ali Rashti, student of Shaikh Ansari and Mirza Shirazi has stated:

“When I returned from 'Ziarat' of Abi-Abdullah (a.s.) and was Mirza Shirazi on my way to Najaf via the Euphrates river, I embarked on a small ship. Everyone travelling in that ship was from Hilla. The way to Hilla and Najaf separate from Tuyarj. Except for one person, everyone in this group engaged in pleasure and jest. Signs of soberness and dignity were visible in him. He neither laughed nor joked. The group taunted his religion and rebuked him. Nevertheless, they ate and drank together. I was taken by surprise and opportunity did not arise to raise a question until we were asked to disembark the ship due to shallow waters.”

We walked besides the river. Opportunity arose to converse with that person.

I asked: 'Why have you isolated yourself from your friends and why do they mock at your religion?

He replied: 'They are my relatives from the Sunni sect. My father was a Sunni but my mother a faithful one. I too was like my mother and by blessings of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) became a Shia.

I asked him the reason and he replied “My name is Ya'qut, I sell oil near the bridge of Hilla. Once I left Hilla for procuring oil from the Bedouin Arabs at the outskirts. I bought the required oil and returned to Hilla along with a few local people. We resided in one place. I slept. When I awoke, I did not find anybody. All had left. Our way passed a dry and arid desert place full of wild animals. No habitable place was near us but kilometres away.

I picked my luggage and pursued their path. I lost my way. I remained dazed. I feared from the wild animals as well as thirst. I called upon the caliphs and sheikhs and pleaded their intercession before Allah. Nothing happened. I remembered my mother's words who once said, 'We have a living Imam whose agnomen is Abu-Saleh. He shows the way to those who are lost and helps the helpless and weak ones.

I made a promise to Allah that I would call upon him and if he saves me I will accept my mother's religion. So I called upon him. Suddenly, I saw someone walking along with me. He wore a green turban on his head just like this colour (he pointed out to the green grass besides the river).

Thereafter, he showed me the way and ordered me to accept my mother's religion. He uttered words which I ( i.e., Mirza Nouri, author of Najme-Saqeb) have forgotten and then said: Soon you will reach a village whose people are all Shias. I said: My master! Will you not accompany me till that village? He replied: 'No because a thousand people in certain towns have called upon me for help and I must save them.'

These were Hazrat's words that have remained in my memory. Then, he vanished from my sight….”[221]

In the traditions of immaculate Imams (a.s.), the concealed Imam (a.t.f.s.) and the benefits from him are likened to the sun hidden behind the clouds.[222]

Question 19:

Does there exist any known source from traditions about the phrase“Ya Aba-Saleh al-Mahdi Adrekni” (يا اباصالح المهدي ادركني ) that is usually uttered by those seeking help from Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)?

Reply:

Among the Arabs, agnomen is used for men and women for two reasons:

Because of possessing some perfection. For example, a person who is very obedient to Allah is named as“Abu-Abdullah” ; a person with extreme virtues and superiority as“Abu'l-Fazl” and a pious and righteous one as“Aba-Saleh” .

Because of his/her son's name. In hope that he/she would possess a son in the future who would be named so. The agnomen of“Abu-Fazl” is given to him at the time of his birth or thereafter. The agnomen of“Umma-Fazl” is given to a woman in a similar position.

“Abu-Saleh” is one of the agnomens of our affectionate Imam and is more popular among the Arabs. While calling upon Imam and imploring help from him, they use this name.[223] Muhaddis Nouri writes:

Ahmad-ibn-Muhammad-ibn-Khaled Barqi narrates in his book“Mahasin” from Abu-Baseer that Imam Sadeq (a.s.) said: “Whenever you lose your way, call out:[224]

يا صالح! يا ابا صالح! ارشدنا الي الطريق! رحمكم الله

The word آدركني (= help me) is uttered by the one seeking and imploring for help. Therefore, the name“Aba-Saleh” used for Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) takes its roots from traditions.

Question 20:

Is Imam Mahdi's long life natural or is it a miracle?

Reply:

In reply to this query, it's necessary to pay attention to few points:

Natural phenomena are of two types:

Ordinary and general natural happenings that occur very often like wind, rain, sunrise, change in season etc.

Uncommon and lesser natural happenings like meteor, solar and lunar eclipse, severe thunder and lightening, earthquakes etc.

These two categories differ in numbers occurrences. The matter of Imam Mahdi's longevity belongs to the uncommon and lesser category that is unusual among the people; but does not come in conflict with any law.

All the sciences related to life and nature like biology, physiology, physics, medicine, etc have not determined any limit for human life although as of today, they reckon the maximum ordinary age of a person to be 115-120 years.[225] The proof that all the nature related sciences haven’t fixed any exact age for human-beings is the following matter:

Man is making all efforts to delay senility and old age that leads to death:

Today, life expectancy (which in the beginning of the current century was less than 20 years) in some countries like Japan has reached 76 years for men and 82 years for women. The population of old people in the world is on the rise such that the number of people above 65 years in America alone has reached more than 33 million people. The rate of growth of people above 85 years in this country is 6 times more than the total growth of population in that country.[226]

It appears that in the future, vital steps can be taken in preventing senility of cells by employing genetic and gene-therapy in hindering the leaps and in-effecting the envirournmental factors that cause such leaps in genes.[227]

The exact and historical meaning of old age is not known and varies from person to person:

We still do not have a clear and complete definition of old age. Why and by which mechanism we turn old? This is a query with no clear answer. Gerontology is a science in which the process of senility is discussed. It's a science in its embryonic stage. Despite man's constant eagerness in knowing the reason for senility and death, it is only decades that scientific research has begun in this field. In spite of this short experience, vast discoveries have been achieved about the manner of this human process and assumptions have been made about their cause.[228]

The mean life span of every individual can be determined by means of some factors like style of living, diet, environmental conditions and genetic abilities. By changing some of these factors, one can subsequently increase the life-span (or average life) of an individual without any increase in man's maximum life span.[229]

With the discovery of the causes of common old-age diseases (like heart disease and cancer) and the ways for their prevention as well as cure, we can increase the life expectancy. Also, with the discovery of genetic and biochemical shortcomings (that leads some to experience a shorter life span), we can reduce the gap between life expectancy and maximum life span and allow a great number of people to acquire maximum life span.[230]

Hygiene and nutrition has increased the average life span of human-beings.

5000 years before 1900 A.D., life expectancy was 26 years and in the beginning of recent century, life expectancy reached only 29 years. Better living conditions, medical care and decrease in death rate caused by infectious and child diseases has lead to increase in life expectancy and today in Japan a country that enjoys the highest life expectancy, the level of life expectancy has reached about 81.8 years for women and about 75.9 for men.[231]

Also:

In 1900 A.D., only 4% of the population comprised people with over 65 years old. In 1986, this level reached 11.6% and it is predicted that in 2030, it would reach 20% of the total population. It means at that time, out of every 5 Americans, 1 would be over 65 years of age.[232]

Similarly:

In recent years, the death rate has declined for all the age groups. However, this decline in death rate was more so in case of age group of above 85 years.[233]

Also:

one should note that the average life-span of man (which in recent years has reached 70 years) was 35 years twenty years ago. With development of science and technology, the mean life-span is on the rise.[234]

With new discoveries, those familiar with the art and science of diet and nutrition have worked miracles which were something unimaginable for their predecessors in the past. Today, with the help of food and its application, one can set sex, colour, eyes, hair, face, height, growth, health, resistant power and the life-span of foetus in mother's womb. In reality, one can deliberately alter the foetus as per one's desire and bring changes in his or her creation and way of life in the future.[235]

Scientists have enumerated the factors that prolong life-span:

Nutrition:

It is delightful to note that man's success in enjoying long life and good health is no more dependable on one's predecessors (like the matter of genetic). By precise exploitation of nutritional affairs, man can achieve this privilege all by himself because nutritional power and opportunity is the best gift of nature enabling man to achieve perfect health. By acquainting him with the type, quality and magnitude of nutrition, man has achieved long life and most of the hereditary flaws have been done away with.[236]

And:

Alexander Abvagumultz, a Russian researcher and scholar has proved that a person of 65 to 70 years old is young and is living at least in the middle stage of his life. Scientists believe that scientifically, all the living creatures have natural potentiality to live in good health about seven to fourteen times more than the life period from birth till puberty. A precise review shows that all the creatures enjoy this rule. By nature, the age of animals is no less than seven times their puberty period. In case of human-beings, the period of puberty differs in different regions due to ecological conditions. In most cases the puberty age is reckoned to be twenty years.[237]

From the viewpoint of life expectancy, the safest period is near puberty age, when death risk arising from diseases is one in two-thousand people. Statistically, if this risk is maintained at same level, then life expectancy at time of birth would be about 1200 years.[238]

Physiological capabilities:

It should be known that physiological capabilities differs from person to person and are controlled genetically. Even if we assume the senility growth to be same for all human-beings….the more the primary capability in someone, the slower the decline and deterioration in the physiological reserves and the more would be the life-span.[239]

Firstly, the spread of primary physiological capabilities (that are determined by genetic factors) is very diverse in the society. In other words, the vital ability and potentiality of each individual varies from one another due to genetic reasons.

Secondly, environmental conditions and a personal style of living….can leave a positive or negative effect on this primary potentiality.[240]

Honey:

it is seen that royal honey prolongs life by 50 times in honey-bees. In other words, the difference in life-span of the queen-bee ( 6 years) with that of the workers ( 3 to 6 weeks) springs from the fact that the queen-bee nourishes from the royal honey. Such findings are a motive encouraging human-beings to discover ways for prolonging man's life-span.[241]

Physical activities:

It has been observed that physical activity in the beginning of life prolongs life-span and life expectancy.[242]

Weight loss:

In its study on this subject, WHO (World Health Organization) has reported that long life has been witnessed in people whose weight was lesser than the average population under control.[243]

Sport:

A study was conducted on 2000 participants in a skating competition in 1956 in a place stretching 2000 kilometres. That study lasted for 33 years and it was observed that they had a longer life expectancy than other ordinary people. It was thus concluded that people with severe and lengthy activity possess longer life expectancy.[244]

Walking:

The sports under consideration in this study comprised of walking, climbing stairs and games.[245]

Although there is no reason for man's immortality, nevertheless man by nature, pursues to find ways for remaining immortal:

Man….is in search of a way through which he can succeed in terminating the domain of death. However, is it possible to achieve immortality? At the moment, it's not possible to reply to his query.[246]

Many people lived a long life and their names have come down in divine books, historical books and books on hadith. For instance, we can name Hazrat Adam, Shais son of Adam, Anush son of Shais, Qainan son of Anush, Mahlal'eel son of Qainan, Yared son of Mahlal'eel, Khunukh son of Yared, Mutushaleh son of Khunukh, Lahak son of Mutushaleh and Noah son of Lahak who lived for 930 years, 912 years, 905 years, 910 years, 895 years, 962 years, 365 years, 969 years, 777 years and 950 years respectively.[247]

During our time, there lived people with unusual long life either. In a Persian magazine printed in 1933 A.D., it was reported that, there lives a Chinese man named“Li-Ching” whose age is 252 years and till now 23 women have spent their lives in his home.[248]

To sum up, divine means, special care, adherence to the laws of nature, prevention from senility and divine protection are the causes for Imam's longevity. He has a long life and a youthful appearance which is natural but unusual. While this does not contradict reason it does not oppose the laws of nature as well.

It's worthy to mention that scientific evidences are set to resolve the improbability of Hazrat's longevity and stress is laid on the fact that scholars have not fixed any limit for human life. Otherwise, in the divine doctrine, the matter is far superior with no doubt seeping into it. This is because Hazrat's longevity comprising of birth, life, manifestation (Zuhoor), global program etc are all managed by Allah's Will and the slightest doubt cannot find any way in them.

At the end, we shall terminate our discussion by narrating one tradition as follows:-

Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said:

“My son is the 'Qaem' after me and he is the same who shall rise while possessing the way and characters of the prophets (p.b.u.t). He possesses a long life and concealment. Hearts will turn into stones due to his long concealed living. None would remain steadfast in their belief in him save those whose faith is set firm by the Almighty Allah….” [249]

Question 21:

How would be the manifestation and Reappearance of Imam Mahdi?

Reply:

As per the traditions, when Imam would be on his way to Mecca, severe heat and fatigue would force him to rest a tree. Gabriel would descend with a letter (while its ink still wet).[250] In that letter, Allah commands him to rise. He will come to Mecca. In Mecca, between 'Rukn' and 'Maqam' he would lean besides Hajar-ul-Aswad and the door and call out:

“الا يا اهل العالم! بقية الله خير لكم ان كنتم مومنين و انا بقية الله

(Muntakhab-ul-Athar: 575, tradition 6 and 580, tradition 2 and 3, new edition).

Thus, he will call the people in this manner. When all of his 313 special companions (whether those of that time or those from the past who have returned to life) would gather around him, they would depart for Medina and then towards Kufa. They shall settle in Kufa and manage the affairs of the world from this very place.

In traditions, we find that the period of Imam Mahdi's state would last for 7 or 9, or 20 or 30 or 40 or 70 years. Regarding these figures, we had explained in our reply to another query that possibly seven or nine years refers to the period for setting up the government otherwise if seven or nine or even thirty years of rule, after so long waiting will be too short to satiate the justice lovers. Thus, it's appropriate for Allamah Majlisi to say that probably the holy Imams didn't wish to specify the exact duration of Imam's rule and Allah is All-Aware of the realities.[251]

Question 22:

In the writings about Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), we find sayings concerning 'Raj'at' (return to life). What is its precise meaning? Can we find any decisive evidence about this matter in the holy Qur'an and traditions?

Reply:

Literally, 'Raj'at' means“return” and“reappearance” . In religious terminology, it means to return to life in this world after death. One experiencing 'Raj'at', will become alive and would continue to live once again in this material world until death overtakes him.

The holy Qur'an is the main documentary proof on 'Raj'at'. There, the Almighty Allah has talked about 'Raj'at' of prophet Uzair, the youth in the Cave, and a group from Bani-Israel.

About Uzair, we find this matter in Chapter Baqarah: 259, about the Youth in the Cave in Chapter Kahf: 25, about the Bani-Israel group in Chapter Baqarah: 56, about the dead becoming alive by hands of Jesus (a.s.) in Chapter Maeda: 110 and about a group from Shaam in Chapter Baqarah: 243. Here, we shall set forth only about the group of people from Shaam (Syria).

The Almighty Allah says:

“Have you not considered those who went forth from their homes, for fear of death, and they were thousands, then Allah said to them, Die; again He gave them life.”

They were residents of a city in Shaam (Syria)….for fear from plague disease; they fled to a deserted city (all its residents had died of plague). They reached that city and died there instantly. Some time passed and their bodies turned into bones.“Ezekiel” , a Bani-Israel prophet passed besides them. By witnessing this city, he wept and shed tears and prayed: 'O God, make them alive at this very moment just as Thou have made them die; so that they develop Thy cities and they bear slaves who would worship Thee.'

Here, Allah commanded him to recite Allah's Exalted and Great Name. He called Allah by His Exalted Name. All became alive and while staring at each other, they praised Allah and said 'Allah-o-Akbar' and 'La-Ilaha-Illallah'.

At that moment,“Ezekiel” said:[252]

اشهد ان الله علي كل شيء قدير (Qur'an, 2:244)

(Tafsir Al-Safa 1: 115 below the verse 244 of Chapter Baqarah.

In various verses, the holy Qur'an talks about 'Raj'at' during Hazrat Mahdi's rule:

“And on the day when We will gather from every nation a party from among those who rejected Our communications, then they shall be formed into groups.” (Qur'an, 27:83)

In interpretation of this verse, we shall narrate a tradition from Tafsir-Kanz-ul-Daqa'eq:[253]

Hammad says: Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'What do people say about this verse“We will gather from every nation a party” ? I said: 'they believe it is about resurrection.' Imam (a.s.) replied: 'It is not so! Instead, this verse is about 'Raj'at'. How can it be that Allah will gather on the day of resurrection only a party or group from every nation and leave behind the rest of the people!? (It cannot be so). The verse that talks about resurrection is the one that says: 'We will gather them and leave not any one of them behind.'[254]

Numerous traditions[255] have come down about 'Raj'at:

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“Following the split in the earth, the first one to return to life (Raj'at) in this world would be Hazrat Husain-ibn-Ali (a.s.). Raj'at does not concern every people. Rather, pure believers and absolute polytheists would return to life.” [256]

To sum up, promise and glad-tiding about Raj'at (return to life) in future and at the time of Hazrat Mahdi's rule is something having a past record among the past nations and tribes.

Question 23:

During Hazrat Mahdi's (a.t.f.s.) rule, who would enjoy the privilege of 'Raj'at' (return to life)? Does the authority lies with those who return to life or the authority lies only with Allah or does it have a fixed and determined time?

Reply:

Undoubtedly, 'Raj'at of people involves specific time and occurs as per Allah's Will. In 'Dua-e-Ahd', the followers of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) plead before Allah that if death separates them from 'Zuhoor' (Imam's manifestation), He should raise them from their graves with their body shrouded and sword in hand so that they can answer their master's call.

It's likely that Allah would fulfil this request of the worthy and deserving ones and they would return to this world. Regarding who would return to this world, suffice it is to mention the following few traditions:

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“The first to return to life (Raj'at) in this world would be Hazrat Husain-ibn-Ali (a.s.). 'Raj'at' does not concern every people. Rather, pure believers and absolute polytheists only would return to life.” [257]

Imam Baqir (a.s.) said:

“Verily, the prophet (s.a.w.a.) would soon have a 'Raj'at' (return to life).” [258]

In interpretation of verse 84 from Chapter Nahl, [“And on the day when We will raise a group from every nation” (Qur'an, 16:84)] Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“Among the believers none would be killed but that he would return to life and experience natural death and there is none among the believers who has died a natural death but that he would return to life and get killed.” [259]

In interpretation of verse 81 from Chapter Aale-Imran, [“And when Allah made a covenant through the prophets” (Qur'an, 3:81)] Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“With faith in Allah's messenger, they would assist Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.). Narrator says: I asked 'Would they assist Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.)? Imam (a.s.) replied: 'Yes, By Allah, right from Adam till………everyone! Allah has not chosen any prophet or messenger but that all would return to this world and fight on the side of Ali-ibn-Abi Talib (a.s.).” [260]

Mufazzal-ibn-Omar says:

In the presence of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) talk arose about the 'Qaem' and his friends who would die while awaiting his coming. Imam (a.s.) said:“When our 'Qaem' will rise, the dead believers would be called upon over their graves by their names; 'Your Master has appeared. If you wish, you can join him and if you wish to remain in the domain of your Lord's Generosity, you may remain so.” [261]

Question 24:

What is the reason and philosophy behind 'Raj'at (return to life)?

Reply:

Before looking into the reasons for“Raj'at” , it's important to note that with regards to the divine laws and commandments, no common man can understand all their dimensions and reasons except if the All-Wise Allah or one of the prophets or Imams have talked on the matter. Anyhow, by pondering over the numerous traditions on 'Raj'at',[262] one can derive several guidelines though its dept can only be achieved from the treasure-house of knowledge of the holy Imams.

'Raj'at' partly fulfils the aspirations and wishes of prophets and Imams that could not be achieved during their initial lives and that is their presence in a community spread with monotheism and justice. In this connection, you may refer to traditions No. 1, 2, 3 and 39 of the book“Ar-Raj'at” written by Mirza Muhammad Mo'min Astarabadi ( 11th century).

The past people and nations especially the believers have not reached their long and innate goal of a just society filled with piety, goodness and knowledge. Refer to tradition Nos: 6, 7 & 8 of same book.

Similarly, those awaiting the rule of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) who died while they looked forward for their master's manifestation. They expressed their love for Imam (a.t.f.s.) by reciting 'Dua-e-Ahd' with such words:

“O Allah, if death which is Thy slaves' indispensable destiny, creates separation between him and me, then raise me from my grave….”

With such sincerity in prayers, the believers haven't achieved their goal.

Finalization of argument and putting on trial the atheists, hypocrites and tyrants who oppressed the prophets and particularly the immaculate Imams. Refer to traditions Nos: 21, 38 & 41 of“Ar-Raj'at” .

Proving and demonstrating Divine Power by making the dead alive for some honourable prophets and nations. Refer to verse 110 of Chapter Kahf about the dead returning to life by hands of Jesus (a.s.) and verses 21 and 25 of Chapter Kahf about the people of the cave returning to life.

Partial establishment of the greater resurrection within the limits of this world and retribution of a few among the pious believers and pure disbelievers.

Question 25:

What does it imply when we say the sword of Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.) would accompany and assist Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)?

Reply:

Amir-ul-Mu'minin's special sword is part of the precious heritages of the holy Imams, which is now in the hands of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Besides, the hand-written Qur'an by Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.), the walking stick of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.), the rings of Imams and the heritages of past prophets, all in all, are in the protection of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). This is so while his inheritance from the past prophets and Imams takes the colour of material as well as spiritual aspect. He is the inheritor of material belongings as well as spiritual knowledge and powers.

Each of the material heritages of prophets is a sign among the Divine signs by means of which Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) exhibits his powers and manifests the miracles of all the prophets and Imams (a.s.).

Imam Baqir (a.s.) said:

“When the 'Qaem' rises, he shall do so while possessing the flag of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.), ring of Soloman (a.s.) and stick of Moses (a.s.).” [263]

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) too has said:

“There is no miracle of any prophet or Imam but that Allah will manifest it through our “Qaem” until the argument is finalized for the enemies.”[264]

Question 26:

In the battles that took place in the beginning of Islam, divine and mysterious powers supported the Muslims. The holy Qur'an, too, has narrated such incidents. Will the same occur during the rise of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)?

Reply:

Regarding Hazrat Baqi'yatallah (a.t.f.s.), traditions say that it is Allah's indispensable Will to establish his government in the entire land. For this reason, he would be assisted by means of fear that would be cast in the hearts of enemies. Allah's help to Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is a special one and would be more than that which prevailed during the time of other prophets or Imams.

We read in the holy Qur'an:

“He it is Who sent His Prophet with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions.” (Qur'an, 48:28)

Traditions appearing below this noble verse have esoterically interpreted this verse to refer to the period of Hazrat Mahdi's (a.t.f.s.) rule.[265]

Of course, considering the vastness of Imam Mahdi's government (which would be global), its success is not possible but by special divine help and in this regard, other verses and numerous traditions are clear witnesses.

According to verse 5 of Chapter Qasas, too, the establishment of global government by Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is an indispensable Will of Almighty Allah that would definitely occur.

Question 27:

What would Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) bring with himself at the time of his Reappearance? In other words, what would be the consequences of his Reappearance?

Reply:

Whatever has come down in the Qur'an and the Islamic traditions about Hazrat's souvenirs is divided into two sections. Considering that the infrastructure of beliefs and deeds are effective in rectification of a society, Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) too would rely on the infrastructures and would entrust the main foundations of his government to eminent and superior people.

The beliefs of these exalted people hold special importance. They (who are God-worshippers, pious and pure person would start their task based on real and innate values under complete training of Islam and Qur'an.

The holy Qur'an has many words about them like:

“They shall serve Me, not associating aught with Me.” (Qur'an, 24:55)

“(As for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.” (Qur'an, 21:105)

“And the good end is for those who guard (against evil)” (Qur'an, 28:83)

Pondering over these verses and their likes shows that the vital souvenirs of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) would be pure monotheism, abandonment of polytheism and idol-worshipping, piety and devotion before Almighty Allah and elevation of knowledge and insight. Of course, justice at individual and social level is a natural and logical consequence of 'Tauhid' (monotheism) and piety.

Traditions too reckon monotheism of that era to be widespread; the message of the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) to be global and Hazrat's rule to be extended all over the land.

Since the diverse chains of society in forming justice and goodness are connected to one another, every part of the Islamic system is linked to monotheism, equity and piety. In other words, true belief and monotheism forms the foundation and infrastructure of good politics, welfare economy, healthy society, trained human-beings, abundant knowledge, tranquil life etc.

The below-mentioned traditions reveal the profound realities in this regard:

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“When the 'Qaem' will rise, no land would remain but in it the cry of 'La-Ilaha-Illallah' and 'Muhammadun-Rasul'allah' would be heard.” [266]

Amir-ul-Mu'minin (a.s.) said:

“…..hypocrisy, adultery, wine-drinking, and usury would die away; people would turn to devotion, divine laws, piety and congregational prayers. There wouldn't remain any hatred against Ahl'ul-bayt.” [267]

Imam Baqir (a.s.) said:

“The verse: “Those who, should We establish them in the land, will keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and enjoin good and forbid evil; and Allah's is the end of affairs.''(Qur'an, 22:41) concerns Aale-Muhammad where Allah would bestow them with rewards of lands from the East to the West and religion would turn dominant. Through them, Allah would destroy heresy ….and there wouldn’t remain any sign of tyranny.” [268]

Imam Kazim (a.s.) said:

“Only the monotheists and God- worshippers would remain.” [269]

The holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“He will extract the treasures, divide the wealth and set firm the religion of Islam.” [270]

Also, the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“….the inhabitants of earth and sky, the birds and wild animals and fishes in the sea would turn glad because of his manifestation. During his era, water would be found abundant; rivers would flow…” [271]

Once again, the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

“….During the end of my nation's era, Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will rise. Allah will quench him via rain. The earth will give out its vegetation. He will bestow wealth correctly. Fruits will become abundant. The 'Ummah' (nation) will turn great……” [272]

Verily, these are fulfillment of“Ziarate Aale-Yasin” , as we recite':

“O Allah, make Your cites thrive and give life to Your slaves by his hands.”

Question 28:

What is the meaning of 'Entezar' and what are its signs? In its true sense, is 'Entezar' one of the duties of those awaiting him? What are its effects in lowering the problems during the concealment era?

Reply:

'Entezar' means 'to look forward to' or 'to wait' (anxiously). 'Awaiting' requires attentiveness and sensitiveness towards the 'awaited one'. 'Awaiting' reveals a person's 'throbbing heart' who tolerates every inconvenience on the path leading towards the beloved 'awaited one'. 'Entezar' reveals 'belief', 'endeavour' and haste towards the 'awaited one'. The one 'awaiting' learns from his heart, the obligation of fulfilling the duties because this 'Entezar' and the obligation has taken roots in his heart.

It can be said that the 'one awaiting' possesses the following qualities:

Longing for perpetual true monotheism and making all efforts for wiping off polytheism.

Supporting justice and training for spreading justice.

Living a simple, non-luxurious and incorrupt life.

Endeavour towards development of the lands, and people.

And those awaiting him have the following responsibilities:

Ma'refat (profound knowledge) of the 'awaited one'.

Love and friendship towards him.

Obedience and submission to him.

Training one's heart, house and society for setting up that ideal community.

Gaining nearness to Imam (a.t.f.s.) and preparedness for that community.

Praying for his well-being and 'Zohour' (manifestation) and calling upon him for help.

The result of such awaitness would be:

Mental and spiritual peace and tranquillity of the individual and the community;

Partial establishment of an utopian community;

Creation of happiness for the 'awaited one'.

Establishment of strong relationship with the holy“awaited Imam” .

Question 29:

At what places or times, the possibility of visiting Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is more? Is it our duty or not to take steps and endeavour to meet him?

Reply:

Opposite to the belief of the leaders of 'Shaikhiya' sect, the Shias do not believe that Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) lives in a separate world. Rather, they believe he lives in this very land. Thus, it's possible to see and visit him. But nobody can claim that he or she has an appointment with him tomorrow, or next week and none can dare say that he can meet him whenever he desires so!

Numerous eminent personalities have met Hazrat Mahdi during the concealment period which has been narrated in such books like 'Ghaibat-Tousi'; 'Esbat'ul-Huda'; 'Bihar-ul-Anwar', Vol 52, and Vol 53, Najme-Saqeb, chapter 7. In the last mentioned book 100 warranted incidents or special attention are quoted through reliable intermediaries.

Books like 'Muntakhab-ul-Athar', 'Re'aayat'ul-Imam al-Mahdi' (a.t.f.s.) and 'Tajalliyate Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have narrated other reliable incidents as well. Thus, meeting of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is not negated; particularly as the compassionate Imam has said, 'we are watchful and take care of our Shias'.[273]

It should be emphasised the all these favours are taken by Imam's authority and attention; and not due to the one visiting him. Also, out of Imam's grace, those who were to told a meeting, have never informed anybody about it before the actual meeting (except in rare cases and that has been for conveying a notice, etc.)

As far as we are aware, any effort to visit Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) during his concealment is not mooted as an obligatory or recommendable act. Since the common man, by himself, is unable to succeed and it's only Imam himself who manifests before the fortunate ones and casts his great shadow of salvation over him. Therefore, any effort and endeavour for personal contact with Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is not counted a recommendable act so that a person may make the preliminary preparations for that spiritual journey like the way one is recommended to endeavour for visitation (pilgrimage) to other Imams (a.s.) and the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.).

That which has been said is hearty and spiritual preparation (i.e., 'Ma'refat' of Imam's position and observance of piety) not in the form of any expectation or due but rather with feeling of hope followed by prayers that:

“O Allah! Show me that upright and handsome face.”

What is recommended is to recite 'Ziarat' of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) at the holy 'Sardab' and other 'Ziarat(s)' in different places.[274] From the above-mentioned prayers, we conclude that we must pave the way with our hearts and then request Allah to show him to us if He deems advisable.

It's necessary to point out that to some hypocrites, the claim of meeting Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has become a means of earning fame in the eyes of simple-minded people and has brought splendour to their worldly life. It's likely that some make such claims but there isn’t any evidence for proving their claim.

Personally, I accept the possibility of true dreams, but, since most of them cannot be investigated, I do not rely on such narrations. One can never rely upon the contents of a dream unless it is related from a reliable believer or supported by strong evidences. Thus, the concerned person must be reliable and must possess true faith and one should gain certainty that his narration is not for worldly reasons. If someone narrates from another reliable person, the chain of authority must be authentic.

I have come across simple-minded people who if bestowed with few favours, link the matter to visitation of Imam (a.t.f.s.). On the other hand, I have also come across eminent personalities who never uttered such words. Particularly one of them who spent more than eighty years of his life in service and spreading the name of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). He lit the flames of love for Hazrat in my heart. I was with him at home or at journey for 34 years and participated in hundreds of his lectures; but I never heard him claiming to have met or seen Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). His only encouraged people to serve Hazrat; gain his 'Ma'refat' and spread his doctrines.

It shows that even if someone is fortunate enough to meet Hazrat, he will not sell that fortune so easily and cheap; unless if its narration will lead to peoples' guidance and not brighten up his worldly life. Consequently, our divine duty is to perform and present such deeds before Hazrat in such manner that we prepare the background for God's Grace in providing us the opportunity of meeting him.

During this concealment period when conspiracies are rampant against beliefs and doctrines, I recommend everyone to perform proper and worthy deeds leading to attracting our compassionate Imam's grace and favour. We should spread Imam's ethics, beliefs, spiritualities, 'fiqh', religion and style of living by action and then by speech. Such endeavours pave the way for attracting Hazrat's special grace until he places his hands on our head and increases our intellect and religion.

In 1963 or 1964 when I was a young student of seventeen, I came across a mindful and sincere person in Qom. He was a Sayyed and elder than me. He was a new student or pious and noble one. On recommendation of a friend, I taught that Sayyed Arabic grammar. He was extraordinary in spirituality and morals. Whenever I visited him at his residence, I gained marvellous spirituality. One day, I asked him: 'What should a person do so that he could meet Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)? He replied: 'Act in such manner that he may look for you! Because he possesses greater means and abilities.'

Verily, during concealment, it's our duty to endeavour to increase his friends and lovers. We should protect his 'Wilayat' and teach his Imamate, concealment, and life in our community. We should acquaint the people about his manner, behaviour, love, thoughts, qualities and his influence on our day-to-day life. We should establish spiritual relationship with him. All these would result in casting his shadow of grace over us, whether he reveals his face or not.

It shouldn't be forgotten that if we tried but failed to see him it's not because of his carelessness toward us. In such cases, we aren't aware of God's Will and whether it would lead to our benefit or not. We should know that God desires whatever is beneficial for us. Anyhow, every lover desires to see and meet his beloved one.

“It's all my desire to see you,

What's the harm if I achieve my desire!?”

Question 30:

What are the responsibilities of Shias during the period of Hazrat Mahdi's concealment?

Reply:

This is the most important query on Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) because of its practical aspects in the commandments and doctrines of Islam. Islam never supports mere theoretical matters. In one tradition, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“The faith should completely be materialized in behavior and practice” [275]

Thus, we can say that during 'Ghaibat' (concealment), the duties of Shias are linked to action. They should endeavour during this period of severe test and conspiracies. A Shia should keep himself from the dangers and then play the role of rectifying the affairs in the society as much as he can.

In this regard, the Imams have given 3 important recommendations:

'Entezar' (awaiting), looking forward for 'Zohour' (manifestation), that will result in rectification of the global affairs.

Being careful about one's deeds and one's special responsibilities.

Reciting some of the supplications and invocations

Regarding the first order, the Imams have praised very much the act of 'Entezar'. One tradition says:

“The most excellent worship is to await 'Faraj'(Reappearance).”[276]

Or:

“The one who awaits 'Zohour' and 'Faraj' is like a martyr soaked in blood on the way of Allah.” [277]

About the second duty, the Imams have laid stress on belief in Allah, acceptance of the holy prophet's message, acknowledgment of divine commandments, submission before the 'Wilayat' (authority) of Imams, growing weary of their enemies, adopting piety, endeavouring on path of worship etc.[278] For instance, Imam Baqir (a.s.) has said:

“Worship of Allah is the offshoot of His Ma'refat.”

Narrator asks: 'What is Ma'refat of Allah?'

Imam replied: 'Belief in Allah, and His Apostle and Wilayat of Ali and following him and the guided Imams and growing weary of their enemies. Allah is recognized in this manner.”

About the third duty too, we may mention such recommended invocations like :

اللهم كن لوليك.........

اللهم عرفني نفسك.......

سلام علي آل ياسين....

The holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) has called the believers during the period of 'Ghaibat' as his brothers and praised them excessively.

During 'ghaibat', we should get 'Ma'refat of Allah, Ma'refat of His Prophet and Ma'refat of Imam. We should also act upon their commands and exalt the name of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and spread his thoughts.

We can summarize most of the duties into two fundamental fields: (comprising of belief and practice)

To accept in the necessity of Hujjat (a.t.f.s.)

Recognition of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), striving to increase this recognition and reciting the Dua-e-Ma'refat

(اللهم عرفني نفسك)

Renewal of covenant to acknowledge monotheism, prophethood and Wilayat and presenting one's belief before him (Ziarate-Aale-Yasin).

Following and obeying Hazrat Mahdi strictly.

Looking forward for his 'Zohour' and 'Faraj' and reciting Dua-e-Faraj in prayers.

State of carefulness in safeguarding the bounds of Allah and the immaculate ones.

Seeking his help at times of hardship and reciting the Dua “إلهي عظم البلاء ”

To endeavour and recite prayers for remaining steadfast and recitation of Dua-e-Ah'd at dawns.

Creating love and affection in one's heart and expressing true love before him:

a) To honour him by sending salutation and reciting prays on Friday and other days

b) Standing on feet after hearing his special title (Qaem) and requesting Allah for hastening his Zohour.

c) Giving priority to Hazrat Mahdi in one's prays.

d) Reciting Ayat'ul-Kursi after every salat and giving charity for his health and well-being.

e) Gifting him with prayers and recommendable acts like recitation of Qur'an, Haj-e-Umra, Ziarat of Imams, etc.

All of these can be summarized in the term“Readiness” . Since this term implies preparedness in all aspects, which the waiting person should always preserve, until he acts whenever the need arises.