Rafed English

Continual expectation due to the unpredictability of the time of reappearance

The Shia traditionists narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said to his companions, "Be more hopeful on the things that you consider far-fetched than that which you presume very likely. Verily, Musa Ibn Imran (PBUH) went to bring fire (to provide heat and light) for his family and when he came back to them he was an apostle, and this way, Allah rectified the matter of His servant and His Prophet, Musa (PBUH), within a night.

In the same way, Allah shall treat al-Qa'im, the twelfth of the Imams (PBUT). He shall rectify his matter in one night and shall take him from complication and concealment to the light of relief and reappearance." 19

There are many other Shi'i transmitted traditions, which convey the similarity of the sudden advents of some ancient prophets (PBUT) with that of Imam al- Mahdi (PBUH). 20

The following tradition also shows that we should expect the reappearance of al-Qa'im at every moment and make ourselves ready for his arrival because his coming is very unpredictable. It is narrated:

Imam Ja'far Ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "Anticipate the rule of your master in every day and night of your (lifetime), for indeed Allah (says about Himself) 'Every day He brings in a (new) situation.' (55:29)" 21

The notion of continual awaiting and hoping to see the golden days of the universe at any moment has many positive benefits in our lives. It constantly reminds us the absolute power of Allah. The faithful servants, who believe Allah has power to do all things, should not consider any goodness far-fetched from Him. Moreover, so long as we expect the Imam (PBUH), we are hopeful for a better future and will not be disappointed by the difficulties and the problems of our present life no matter how severe they are. In addition, when we realize that Allah may advance the advent of al-Qa'im (PBUH) to a very near future, we do our best to prepare our spiritual state to receive him. In Part II of this work, some divine prescriptions that make us prepared for receiving al-Qa'im (PBUH) will be presented.

As we have seen, the existence of al-Badaa plays a central role in our way of expectation of al-Qa'im (PBUH). Due to the possibility of Badaa, the signs foretold are subject to change. According to the traditions, waiting for the Imam (PBUH) at any moment is the best deed and the most significant act.

If the signs were unchangeable or could not be advanced, there would be no point to wait all the time and in every moment. Having faith in alteration of the characteristics and the time of the events by Allah, everyone would keep himself ready every morning, every evening, and all the time in between to receive the Imam (PBUH).

A person who has no faith in the alteration of signs and thinks of the reappearance of the Imam (PBUH) in terms of the sighting of all the signs is actually waiting primarily for those signs and then for the Imam (PBUH).

Such an individual may deny Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) if he were to reappear without some of the signs being fulfilled. In contrast, the traditions give prime importance to the promise of the reappearance of the Imam (PBUH) and consider the appearance of the signs as a less important issue. Abu Ubaida al- Hadhaa narrated:

I asked Imam al-Baqir (PBUH) about this matter (i.e., the reappearance of al-Mahdi (PBUH)). He (PBUH) replied, "Because you expect that it comes to you in a (certain) way, do not deny it (if it happens in another way)." 22

It is now clear that we should wait for the reappearance of Imam (PBUH) and not for the signs, and further, should not consider the Imam's reappearance before witnessing all the foretold signs impossible. It is only in this situation that imploring Allah to hasten the reappearance of Imam (PBUH) is meaningful. Allah is free to shower His blessings any time He wants.

He has created a leader for this task long ago and has kept him on call in concealment. He can order the reappearance of the Imam (PBUH) even before the sighting of the signs, can change, or miraculously expedite the occurrence of the signs for his early reappearance. Indeed, much more than any of His followers, the Imam (PBUH) himself is eagerly waiting for receiving Allah's permission at any moment.

Notes:

19. Kamal al-Din, p. 151; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 13, p. 42.

20. See for instance:; Kamal al-Din, p. 316, Hadith 1; p. 329, Hadith 12; p. 377, Hadith 1; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 132, Hadith 2; p. 156, Hadith 1; p. 218, Hadith 8.

21. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 95, p. 159, Hadith 4.

22. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 268, Hadith 157.

Adapted from the book: "Moment by Moment: Expecting the Advent of al-Qa'im (PBUH)" by: "Vahid Majd"

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