Originality of Mahdaviyat
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Originality of Mahdaviyat
The Imam or the divine representative is needed not merely for the dissemination of the rules of the Shariah and their compliance. That is, his duty is not confined only to the guidance of the world but the whole creation depends upon him for their existence. If Imam ceases to exist, the entire system would collapse. It is related from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (A.S.) that he stated, "If Imam (A.S.) is absent from the world even for a moment, the earth would suck in all its inhabitants like the stormy sea drowns the seafarers. " (Ghaibat-e-Nomani, p. 139, Chap. 8, Hadith No. 10)
Nearly all Muslims are unanimous in their belief that the world has been created for the sake of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and his purified progeny (A.S.). A well-known Hadith-e-Qudsi is that the Almighty Allah told the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) "But for you I would not have created the skies."
In another tradition, He says, "I have created you for Myself and the rest of the things for your sake. "
IMAM (A.S.) : THE SOUL OF UNIVERSE
Hazrat Ali (A.S.) in a couplet has compared man to the 'Greatest Creation'. The oft-heard couplet is as follows :-
"Do you think that you are an insignificant speck whereas a great world is concealed in you." Man's heart is the central point of the human body. Not a single organ is independent of it. Till the heart remains healthy, the body will be in order. However emaciated the latter may get, if the heart is alive, it will continue to radiate the warmth of life throughout. If, God forbid, a calamity befalls the heart or if it ceases to function or is detached from the body, it is reduced to a corpse.
A remarkable fact is that even though the heart is the source of life for the body, it cannot be seen and remains concealed. But the living body is a surety that the heart exists. And. the heart derives its life from the soul which in turn is a 'divine affair'.
The existence of Imam (A.S.) in this vast world is having the same position as the soul and the heart. As the body's movement is a proof of the presence of heart and the soul. In the same way, the living world is a proof of the existence of the soul of the universe, Hazrat Vali e Asr (may our lives be sacrificed for him).
Another matter that becomes clear is that the benefit of the Imam of the time is not dependent upon his being apparent or visible. The survival of the world is one of the benefits of the Imam (a.s.)'s existence.
Just as the heart, concealed in the body, continues to nurture all its organs and cures each and every pain and discomfort, Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) (may our lives be sacrificed for him), even though in occultation, continues to benefit the whole creation. He removes the difficulties of those in trouble and attends to those in need.
Whatever strength and power the corporeal body possesses is due to the soul. All the organs of the human body are subservient to its commands. These parts cannot dare to overlook even the smallest injunction of the soul.
Imam (a.s.) is the soul of the universe. Whatever life, strength, power and warmth exists, is only for his sake. (may our souls be sacrificed upon him). Just as the organs obey the orders of the human will, every particle of the universe is even more obedient to the will and desire of Imam-e-Asr (A.S.). Not a single particle disobeys even slightly the order of Imam (A.S.). Therefore, it is not surprising that the Imam (A.S.) performs miraculous acts. It is for this very reason that Imam (A.S.) is at liberty to utilise his power whenever and in whichever way he likes.
All these points have been derived from the incident involving the companion of Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.), Hisham bin Hakarn and the Basri scholar, Amr bin Ubayd. When Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) had listened to the arguments he had remarked,
"These points have been mentioned in the Old Testament. " (Usool-e-Kafi, Vol. I, p. 169, Hadith No. 3)
Even among the Ahle-Sunnat, such traditions are found which state that if the Imam of the time ceases to exist, the earth will sink along with it's inhabitants. Hence, it is recorded by the famous hadith scholar of the Sunnis, Abdullah bin Bath Akbar in his book, 'Al Ayanata' from his chain of narrators that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said,
"This religion will remain established till the twelve (Imams). When these twelve persons depart, it will sink inside with its dwellers". (Kashful Astaar, p. 99)
All these things clearly prove that this world continues to exist for the sake of the beloved grandson of Ali al-Murtaza (A.S.), the apple of Narjis' eyes and the dearest one of Hasan al-Askari (A.S.). For due to him, we receive sustenance. If we have Islam and belief, it is due to him. In other words, our existence and everything related with it depends only on Imam-e-Asr (A.S.).
The least recompense we can offer is to remember him and not to forgo his remembrance even for a moment. And to wait for him and prepare the world for his reappearance. We must kindle the light of love and marefat (Knowledge) of Imam-e-Asr (A.S.) in the hearts of our children, our family members, friends and acquaintances.
IMAM IS THE GOAL OF THE ENTIRE CREATION
The Almighty Allah has created the world in such a way that every lowly object is made for a lofty thing. It could be explained in a better way by stating that every - deficient object is created for a perfect one. If the perfect creation
had not been under consideration, the creation of the imperfect objects would have been of no use. The following example shall fully expound the concept. The life in the womb is a prelude to the life of this world, if terrestrial life had not been intended, the life within the womb would have been purposeless.
Therefore the organs and the capacity that were given were not of use inside the womb but rather for the life on earth. Thus the pre-natal life is the prelude to the life after birth. The life on the earth is more complete than that in the womb. In the same way, the life on this earth is a prelude to the hereafter, where there is only life and every sort of perfection. If there had been no belief in the life of the hereafter, this terrestrial sojourn would have been, in the words of the Holy Quran, futile. The existence of a life after death has made this life purposeful. The life of the hereafter is the perfect life.
If we observe the different creations, we arrive at the same conclusion. For example, the inorganic chemicals are the base for organic matter or vegetation, which in turn is for the animal world. The animal world is subservient to the superior-most creation called man.
Each of the lower classes of creatures provides a proof of the existence of a higher one. Here, we notice that everything is moving towards perfection. The lifeless world of inorganic matter was made purposeful by the vegetable kingdom. The stagnant vegetative world is gifted a meaningful existence by the moving animals. The irrational creatures are made useful by the rational man. Man is made to be purposeful due to the existence of Imam (A.S.). Now let us examine the following famous tradition of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) which says, "0 Ali, if we had not been there: Allah would have created neither Adam nor Hawwa, neither heaven nor hell, neither sky nor the earth. " (Kamaluddin, Chap. 33, Hadith No. 4, p. 254, Vol. 1)
lbn Hajjaj has recorded this hadith-e-Qudsi upon the authority of lbn Abbas. The Almighty Allah revealed to Hazrat Isa (a.s.)
"0 Isa Believe in Muhammad* And command your people that whosoever from them lives upto his time, must also believe in him. For if Muhammad did not exist, I would not have created Adam. And if Muhammad did not exist, I would not have created heaven and hell." (Shawaahidul Haqq Fil Isteghatha Basayyedil Khalq by Nabhani, p. 139 published from Istanbul 1394)
The traditions clearly explain the fact that the personality of Imam-e-Asr (A.S.) is an absolute perfection and an apparent face of the divine qualities. He is the aim of creation. It is thus certain that if Imam (A.S.) had not been there, the universe would have vanished.
One who is cognizant of the recognition of 'Imam (A.S.). And each corner of his heart is filled with the love of Imam (A.S.). One who wishes to scale the grades of perfection in following those divine qualities. One who endeavors to walk the path of his immaculate ancestors... he is definitely the one who is spending a purposeful life. On the other hand, those who do not have any such aim, they are merely a dead load that moves about on the earth.
The following statement of Hazrat Ali (A.S.) must appropriately explain the above concept while it contains in itself a world of meaning, "We (Able Bait) have been created for the Almighty and the creatures have been created for us. " (Nahjul Balagha, Letter No. 28)
IMAM (A.S.) IS THE CAUSE OF THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF THE WORLD
Zirat-e-Jamea Kabeera is an authentic ziarat (salutations). This ziarat is recorded by Shaykh Sadooq in his book 'Man La Yahzorohul Faqih' (Vol. 2, p. 609) and another of his book 'Uyoon-o-Akhbar ar-Reza' (Vol. 2, p. 277). Shaykh Tusi (R.A.) has also quoted it in his Tahzibul Ahkam' (p. 95, Vol. 2). Concerning this ziarat, Allama Majlisi (R. A.) says, "Ziarat Jamea is authentic from the aspect of the chain of narrators. It's eloquent and expressive text makes it the best of Ziarats." (Biharul Anwar, Vol. 102, p. 144)
This Ziarat was taught by Imam Ali Naqi (A.S.) upon the request of his companion by the name of Musa Bin Abdullah Nakhai. Hazrat Imam-e-Asr (May our souls be sacrificed upon him) has exhorted us to recite it regularly. (Najmus Saqib, p. 342-343)
This Ziarat is excellent for getting the recognition of Imamat. As stated above, an Imam is the divine light upon the earth, the absolute proof of Allah upon His creatures, the life-vein of the universe, the spiritual connection between the Creator and the creatures, the mirror of perfection, the supreme example of all the positive human qualities, the collection of merits,
the visible face of the Knowledge and Power of Allah, the ideal for a worshipper, pure from every blemish, knower of divine secrets, knower of the past, present and future of the world, treasure-chest of the divine sciences, inheritor of the Prophetic miracles, etc.
The following lines of Ziarat-e-Jamea make it amply clear that if there is no Imam, the sky will crash to the earth and not even a single drop of rain will reach the earth. May my parents, life, family and wealth be sacrificed for you, 0 Imam.
One who intends to reach Allah, begins with you. One who believed in the Oneness of Allah has received the monotheistic teachings from you. One who wishes to be steadfast on it, should seek guidance from you.
0 Master, your praises and extolations canned be enumerated. The reality of your praise cannot be perceived. Your qualities cannot be estimated. You are the light of the righteous, the guide of those who do good and the proof of Allah, the All Powerful.
Allah has initiated the creation (of this universe) with you. And its end will also be with you. The heavens pour because of you. The skies hold for your sake alone. Of course, by His permission. For you alone, Allah removes the sorrows and solves the difficulties of the people. Through you, the universe receives the bounties of Allah.
Lack of belief in such an Imam, not to remember him, not to weep in his anticipation, not being restless for his reappearance, not to prepare the earth for his arrival,... is against humanity and religion. If intellect demands gratitude to one who confers a single favour on us, then what should be our attitude to the one who is the basis for all the favours and blessings?
From the above discussion, it becomes apparent that every particle of this universe is a proof of the existence of Imam (A.S.). They repose their belief in him and align their royalties towards him.
May Allah illuminate our hearts by his love.
May Allah count us among his sincere and loyal servants.
Amen. The Lord of the Worlds.
Imamat is a matter of great merit. In fact no other issue in Islam is more significant than the subject of Imamat. Its importance lies in the fact that it's the only reliable means to reach to the true recognition of Allah. It is only through Imamat that one can obtain the true recognition of Allah and comprehend the manner of worshipping Him. If anyone adopts some means of worshipping Allah other than the one suggested by the Imams (a.s), he will never be successful in his endeavor.
The following phrases of Ziarat-e-Jameah-e-Kabirah highlight this point beautifully.
"May my parents, myself, my family and my wealth be sacrificed for you. The one who desired to reach Allah began from you. The one who has acknowledged His Unity has obtained Tauheed from you. The one who loves Allah turns towards you" (Mafatihul Jinaan)
In this same Ziarat, it is mentioned elsewhere
'The one who comes to you has received salvation and the one who forsakes you is ruined. You invite (the people) towards Allah and point towards Him."
When we ponder over these phrases of Ziarat-e-Jameah, it becomes clear that only the path shown by the Able Bait (a.s.) can lead us to true recognition of Allah and His Tauheed and in this manner He can be worshipped as He ought to be worshipped. And should it not be like this? These are the personalities who invite the people towards Allah and show the path towards Him since Allah has created man solely for His worship. Allah says in the Quran
" I have not created man and the jinn except that they should worship Me.'
(Surah Zaariyat: 52)
If man wants to realize the aim of his creation, then he should worship Allah. And for Allah's genuine and acceptable worship it is necessary to tread the path shown by the Able Bait (a.s.).
In the light of the phrases of Ziarat-e-Jameah let us also cast a glance at the phrases of Dua-e-Nudbah. .This Dua is specifically for Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). It is recommended to recite it on Idd-ul-Fitr, Idd-uz-Zoha, Idd-e-Ghadeer and every Friday in which it is found
'...Where is that gate of Allah through which it is possible to reach Him? Where is the face of Allah towards whom all other 'friends (Awliya) of Allah turn? Where is the one who is the medium between the heavens and the earth ?'
The Imam (a.s) of every era is the means for reaching towards Allah. It is through the Imam alone that Allah's true recognition can be acquired and it is through him that one can leam to worship Allah and reach Him. In this era the 'Proof (Hujjat) of Allah and the Imam of the time is none other than our twelfth Imam Hazrat Hujjat b. Hasan Askari (a.t.f.s.).
Genuine recognition and Allah's worship i.e. establishing a divine link through knowledge and actions, is facilitated through the belief in Imamat. The belief in the Imamat of Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) means acknowledging the gate that helps man reach Allah's recognition.
Status of Imamat
Allah has bestowed the illustrious status of Imamat upon our Imams (a.s) not without any reason or wisdom. Allah Himself alludes to this
fact in the noble Quran when He declares
'So when they were patient, We made them Imams from amongst themselves who guide the people by Our commands.'(Surah Sajdah: 24)
This brief verse highlights four crucial points:
'We have made them as Imams.'
This shows that the right of appointing an Imam rests exclusively with Allah and with none else. This is a matter of appointment of an Imam for the entire creation and not a matter of appointing some 'Imam' for congregational prayers in a local mosque.
Allah has appointed only a few from the nation for this crucial position. This shows that each and every person is not eligible for this rank. Allah sees the qualities and abilities and only then does He bestow this honor.
They Guide the people
They guide the people by Our commands and orders. There are two types of systems prevalent in the universe viz. (creation) and (order). The system of creation is that system wherein (he things come into existence through the normal process of "cause and effect". For instance the sperm gradually (after passing through various stages) is converted into a man. Or a seed after undergoing through the normal processes finally becomes a tree. On the other hand, in the system of 'Amr' - which is superior to the system of creation - things don't move through the normal process. Nor is time and space a pre-condition for the actualization of the outcome. Here only the intention of 'Be' is sufficient. As Allah says in the Quran:
'His command - when He intends anything -is only to say, "Be" and it becomes.'
(Surah Yasin: 82)
This means that the mere intention of a thing is sufficient to bring about its existence. Neither any cause or reason is essential nor are there any restrictions of time and place. These Imams (a.s) guide by virtue of (this) command of Allah. If they desire to guide someone then a simple intention on their part is enough to guide that person. Like the way Janabe Zohair b. Qain (r.a.) was guided by Imam Husain (a.s). In a brief meeting of a just a few moments. Imam (a.s) changed Zohair b. Qain (r.a.) completely. But in order to be included in this form of guidance it is necessary that a person raises himself to such a high level that he becomes eligible to derive benefits from the winds of guidance. Idleness is from our side.
It is essential for the earth to bear such qualities that will make it profit from the pure drops of rain and will lead to the flourishing of flora and fauna. Today this guidance is present for us in the form of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.). The only precondition is that we should derive benefit from him.
This particular phrase shows why this distinction of Imamat was granted to them. It is truly a miracle of Quran that it had explained the exalted status of Imamat in only two words. As if the entire sea has been capsuled in a pair of hands. Allah - through the phrase has defined the foundation of Imamat and through the phrase He has elucidated the responsibility of Imamat.
The Origin of Patience
Patience has various levels. In logical terminology it is a 'sum total' with different degrees and which cannot be applied universally. It is of three kinds viz. patience near sins, patience in the face of calamities and patience on one's desires. However, it is not our aim over here to get into a detailed discussion on this topic.
The origin of patience lies in talking less, in controlling one's tongue, in refraining one's self from talking nonsense or irrational talks. It involves training oneself to talk only when it is necessary and that too in a concise manner. This is the very first stage of patience. There is a lot of emphasis on silence in books related to spiritual training. Along with the tongue it is also essential to keep one's eyes also in control. The 'Nafs' of a person employs these two faculties in a lot of futile things.
Gradually a person should prepare himself to be patient on the bounties of this world. The heart should not be accustomed to the comforts of the world, nor should any of its pleasures build a house in it. No form of lust or greed should be allowed to enter the heart. We find in Dua-e-Nudbah.
'And when You fixed the condition that they will forsake this detestable world and its luxuries and comforts and will not attach one's self to it, then they accepted this condition. Then when You saw that they fulfilled this demand in totality. You favoured them and made them Your proximate and You reserved for them the best of remembrances and the finest of descriptions and adulation and You descended upon them Your angels.'
To remain patient on the bounties of this world is just one of the stages. There are many more stages of patience after this. The stage after the world is that of 'Barzakh'.
Another form of patience is to exercise complete restraint and mastery on our thoughts. This particular stage is more arduous than being patient upon the bounties of the world. Man can turn his face away from the luxuries of this world. But his thoughts too should be in his control. He should have such command and influence upon his 'Nafs' that no thought should be able to enter his mind without his consent. It is not a matter of few moments, hours, days and years. No doubt this is extremely difficult. Just try to keep yourself focused on one particular point for a few moments - taking care that your attention is not distracted by any other thought - you will realized the magnitude of this task. When it is difficult to concentrate for such a small duration of time then to keep one's mind free from distractions and diversions for the whole life is that stage of patience which is far higher than being patient on calamities. Here the mind falters and becomes helpless.
Imam Husain (a.s), even when surrounded by grief and calamities says
'In the name of Allah, by the strength and support of Allah and for the sake of Allah.'
'At the time when he (a.s) was strewn with wounds and injuries and when he fell from his horse to the ground and when he was rubbing his blood on his face at that time too he was saying
In such dangerous and difficult times too no other thought could distract Imam Husain (a.s) from remembering Allah.
'Allah knows best where He places His message
(Surah An'aam: 124)
After this world comes the Hereafter. Nothing from the Hereafter should attract a person. Neither the bounties of Paradise nor the chastisement of Hell nor the stages of Mahshar. Ameerul Momineen - Imam Alt ibn Talib (a.s) has expressed this most eloquently when he says
Some people worship Allah for the sake of rewards. This is the worship of traders. While some worship Allah due to the fear of being punished. This is the worship of a slave. Yet others worship Allah out of gratitude for His bounties. This is the worship of free men.'
(Nahjul Balagha: trad. 237, vol. 2, Ansariyan Publications)
One should have so much control on one's 'Nafs' that while worshipping Allah he should neither think about the bounties of Paradise nor about the punishments of Hell. It is extremely difficult to reach to this stage of patience. And this stage too demands a remarkable amount of restrain on the 'Nafs'.
The ideal worshipper
Allah's worship is solely for Him. Nothing can be associated with Allah in His worship. It means that the sole aim of our worship is to achieve Allah's satisfaction, neither this world nor Barzakh nor the Hereafter. It is obvious that the one who has submitted himself to Allah's love and whose excellence lies in Allah's worship, then to him nothing else matters. All other things are worthless in his eyes.
Everything is subservient and obedient to his wishes and orders. It is found in Ziarat-e-Jameah wherein it is said
'Everything is lowly and subservient to you.' Our Imam is not only for humans on this earth. He is the Imam of the entire universe. It is because of presence of Imam (a.s.) that rain descends on the earth, the heaven and the earth are secure in their respective places and our difficulties are repelled.
When a person reaches to this perfect level of worship then he becomes a symbol of divine attributes. In fact many a times those who are far removed from reality and are not well versed with the teachings of Ahle Bait (a.s.) start considering this emblem of divine characteristics as Allah Himself! This complete worshipper - by the permission of Allah - nurtures the entire universe and provides sustenance to each and every individual and arranges for all other necessities of life so that everyone is able to reach to his goal of perfection. It is for this reason that it is mentioned for Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.)
'It is due to his existence that the heavens and the earth are secure in their place and it is due to his benevolence that everyone acquires sustenance.'
No doubt that Allah is the One Who is the giver of life. However, He gives it due to the benevolence of Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.), Allah is the One who provides sustenance, but it is through the blessings of Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.). All the bounties that are available on this earth are due to the benevolence ofHazrat Hujj at ibne Hasan Askari (a.t.f.s.). Now, when all the favours that we receive from Allah are through Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) then all our worship and supplications towards Allah will be worthy of acceptance if they are acceptable near Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). Keeping in mind the endless benefits that we receive from Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) we are obliged to confess with a sense of remorse that "0 Master of the time! It's been a long time since we are receiving benefits through you. We are living our lives through your grace and acquiring Allah's bounties due to your benevolence. It is due to your venerable presence that our body and soul are being nourished. It is only because of you that Allah's kindness reaches us. Yet when we look at our actions and within ourselves, it becomes apparent to us that we have still not been able to acquire your true recognition. We have not recognized your true value nor have we been able to fulfill your rights. We have contributed so much to your suffering that we shudder to think how Allah will take our account. At every step we have derived benefits from you but have not done anything for you. We have acquired fame and status through you but have not done anything to glorify your name. We have received our sustenance due to your grace but have not spent anything in your way. We have exploited you in all walks of our life for our personal gains but have failed to endure any form of adversity for your sake.'
'0 the Yusuf of Janabe Zahra! We - like the brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) - are ashamed of ourselves in front of you. We confess that we have oppressed and wronged you. And we seek forgiveness from you for our actions.
Patience of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.):
In light of the latest scientific research, it has been firmly established that past events are present in the atmosphere. However, our perception is so weak that we are unable to comprehend those occurrences. With some focused training of the soul, a person can visualise an event in the past like Day of Ashoora and see it with his eyes.
However, there are some episodes in the event of Karbala, which are very heart rending. It is beyond the capacity of ordinary humans to endure them. But the entire event of Karbala - right down to its minutest details - is witnessed by Imam-e-Zamana's (a.t.f.s.), including all those events that are unbearable for the average human being. Besides this, the dress of Imam Husain (a.s) drenched in his blood is present right in front of Imam-e-Zamana's (a.t.f.s.) eyes and fresh blood is continuously dripping from it. This will continue till the reappearance of Imam (a.t.f.s.), when he (a.t.f.s.) finally avenges the massacre of Karbala.
Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) has to witness all these calamities everyday and then be patient upon them. He actually sees the calamities with his eyes and is patient upon them while it is difficult for us to bear it even by listening to them. Indeed what must be the level of Imam's (a.t.f.s.) patience and forbearance? Apart from the tribulations of Karbala, Imam (a.t.f.s.) also witnesses the calamities that befell Janabe Zahra (s.a) and Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), then Imam Hasan (a.s) and every Imam till his lather Imam Hasan Askari (a.s). All persecution that was meted out to his friends and lovers (i.e. Shias) are also before his eyes. He sees them, but is extremely patient and forbearing. In spite of having the authority, he has to accept Allah's command and remain in occultation and be patient. If someone reflects on all this, he will comprehend the troubled and distressed condition of Imam (a.t.f.s.). He will also realise the significance of praying for the earliest reappearance of Imam (a.t.f.s.), preparing the ground for his reappearance, bringing the people closer to him (a.t.f.s.) and making them eager and restless for his presence. These are some of our responsibilities in the period ofoccultation. It should not be that lapses and laziness on our part become the cause of increase in his (a.t.f.s.) pain and suffering. Otherwise we will lose face in front of our Imam and will be very regretful after that.
We hope that by pondering on this discussion the readers may have comprehended the significance of the phrase" One who petience" of the verse.
Come let all of us present ourselves in front of Allah through Imam (a.s.) and pray to Him that He should forgive our shortcomings. And through the afflictions heaped on Janabe Zahra (s.a), let us beseech and pray for the earliest reappearance of Yusuf-e-Zahra.
Our responsibilities during the major occultation (Ghaibat) of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have been dealt with in great detail in the book, 'Mikyalul Makarem Fi Favaidid Dua lil Qaem' (a.t.f.s.) by Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Musawi Isfahani (r.a.). He has highlighted the responsibilities in the second volume of the book.
Just by looking at the responsibilities outlined in the book it should be clear to the reader that fulfilling these duties is beneficial to us and forsaking them is detrimental to our interests. We realise that executing these responsibilities is proof of our love and attachment for Imam (a.t.f.s.). Performance of action is an important indication of strength of faith. Moreover, it makes one successful in this world and the hereafter. Inshallah, we will discuss another important responsibility, which is fairly easy to observe and very beneficial. The duty is remembering Imam (a.t.f.s.) and reminding others about him (a.t.f.s.). This responsibility can be accomplished individually as well as socially.
The first step in fulfilling this duty is to increase our love towards Ahle Bait (a.s.). Books are laden with traditions regarding the love of Ahle Bait (a.s.).
Here, we will outline three traditions dealing with the topic.
(1) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says:
'Surely for every act of worship, there is another superior to it and the love of us - Ahle Bait - is the most superior act of worship.'
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 27, pg. 91, trad. 148)
We are thankful to Allah that we were born in a family where the love of Ahle Bait (a.s.) was continuously infused in our hearts, just as food and water was constantly fed into our bodies.
(2) The standard for perfect faith and glad tidings on the Day of Judgement is the love of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared:
'(If one wishes) to have perfect faith and desires that his Islam is best, then he should love Hujjat - Sahebuz Zamana Al Muntazar (Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)). Whoever loves them (Imams (a.s.)) and accepts their mastership, then I take guarantee from Allah, the High, for Paradise.'
(Beharul Anwar, vol. 36, pg. 296)
The only way to increase the , love of Ahle Bait (a.s.) is their remembrance. An important benefit of this remembrance is that we will be safe from the assaults of Shaitan. A great scholar used to explain to his students that Shaitan is smarter than we are. He has promised Allah that he will deviate the progeny of Adam (a.s.). To achieve his aim he employs various tactics to deviate us. The easiest and the most successful way to save ourselves from his deceit is put the shield of remembrance of Ahle Bait (a.s.) between ourselves and Shaitan. We find a similar concept in traditions as explained by the scholar to his students. Shaitan stays away from those who are busy in the remembrance of Ahle Bait (a.s.).
(3) Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said to his famous companion, Dawood bin Sarhan:
'O Dawood, give my salutations to my Shias and convey my message to them that when two persons meet and discuss our traditions then Allah's mercy is on both of them. The third between them is an angel who seeks forgiveness for them. No two persons meet and discuss about us but Allah prides Himself on this fact among His angels. (I order you) whenever you meet keep yourself busy in our remembrance. This remembrance enlivens our affairs. The best people after us are those who narrate our traditions andinvite people towards them.'
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 1, pg. 200)
Imam (a.s.) in this brief tradition, has conveyed some important points:
1) Whenever two persons discuss the traditions of the Holy Infallibles (a.s.), the third entity among them is an angel and not Shaitan.
2) The angel seeks forgiveness for all persons participating in the discussion. It is quite
possible that our repentance is not accepted by Allah, but the supplications of angels is always accepted.
3) The holy Infallible Imam (a.s.) is constantly praying for Allah's mercy for all these persons who discuss the traditions.
4) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has ordered us to gather and discuss traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).
5) When their traditions are discussed, the affairs of the holy Infallibles (a.s.) are enlivened.
6) Allah, the Almighty, prides over such gatherings.
7) Such people will be enumerated among thebestpeople.
An Arab poet who was intensely attached to Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) has recited the following couplet:
'Allah knows that I don't remember (you) How do I remember you when I don't forget you.' (Mikyalul Makarem Fi Favaidid Dua Lil Qaem, vol.2,pg.308)
The above couplets are an example of the tradition of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) when a
person asked him whether the twelfth Imam (a.s.)will be unseen? Imam (a.s.) replied:
'Yes, physically he will be unseen but his remembrance will not be absent from the hearts of the believers and he is the twelfth one from us.'
(Kamaluddin WaTamamun Nemah, chap. 34, trad. No. 6)
May our lives be sacrificed for Babul Hawaij -Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.). Most of his life was spent in worshipping Allah in the dreadful and uncomfortable prison of the Abbasides. In the above tradition, he emphasises the importance of remembering our last Imam (a.t.f.s.) at all times.
In another incident we leam the significance of remembering Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Once an old person from Syria came to Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.). He saluted Imam (a.s.), kissed his hand and started crying. Imam (a.s.) consoled him and asked him the reason for crying. He said: O Master! After the incident of Karbala, every day I have been anticipating that maybe today or tomorrow, this week or the next week, this month
or the next month, this year or the next year, an individual from the progeny of Imam Husain (a.s.) will rise and avenge his blood. But I do not see any sign of this (rising) in you.'
After hearing this, Imam (a.s.) cried even more than the old man and said:
"O old man, I am not that individual (who is to rise) but he is the last from us, Hujjat b. Hasan Askari (a.t.f.s.). As you have his love in your heart and you await him, even if you die before his reappearance he will raise you from your grave."
(Muntahul Aamaal, Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi (r.a.))
O lovers of the oppressed Imam (a.s.)! Oaggrieved ones for Imam Husain (a.s.) - the
beloved of the Holy Prophet's (s.a.w.a.) daughter (s.a.)! Is it possible that we be negligent of Imam Husain's (a.s.) heir and abandon his remembrance from our hearts and gatherings?
Remember, if we are the true lovers of Imam (a.t.f.s.), then we should remember the avenger of Imam Husain's (a.s.) blood just like that old Syrian who came in Imam Sadiq's (a.s.) presence. Like him we must also cry and beseech Allah for Imam's (a.t.f.s.) earliest reappearance. We should know that the one who is fully aware of the incident of Karbala and of the oppression inflicted upon Janabe Zahra (s.a.) remembers his Shias by saying:
'Surely we are never negligent of your affairs nor do we forget your remembrance.'
After witnessing such affection on Imam's (a.t.f.s.) part, does it behove us that we remember him (a.t.f.s.) only on 15th Shabaan? According to reliable traditions, our deeds are presented to Imam (a.t.f.s.) twice a week. When he (a.t.f.s.) glances at our bad deeds he (a.t.f.s.) cries intensely and supplicates to Allah that their (Shias) hearts are filled with the love of my ancestors (a.s.), therefore forgive their sins.
Dear readers, let us resolve that from today, we will perform certain recommended acts to remember Imam (a.t.f.s.) and through it, we will save ourselves from the attacks of Shaitan. With this we will include ourselves amongst those people for whom the angels seek forgiveness and Allah prides over them. In this manner we will be under Allah's perpetual mercy and will be included among the true lovers of Imam Husain (a.s.) and
not be the cause of Imam's (a.t.f.s.) sorrow and grief.
1) To recite Dua-e-Ahad after every morning prayer. It is narrated from Imam Jafer Sadiq (a.s.) that one who recites Dua-e-Ahad for forty mornings, then Inshallah, he will be included among the companions and helpers of Imam (a.t.f.s.) at the time of his (a.t.f.s.) reappearance. If he dies before Imam's (a.t.f.s.) reappearance, he (a.t.f.s.) will raise him from his grave. We remember Imam (a.t.f.s.) in this Dua with these beautiful words:
They (enemies) perceive your reappearance as distant but we consider it as near.'
'O my Allah, if death comes between me and him (Imam (a.t.f.s.)), which you have decreed as a certainty for your servants, then raise me from my grave, enshrouded, my sword uncovered, wielding a naked spear answering to the call of the caller in cities as well as deserts!'
This supplication can be found in Mafateehul Jinaan, Beharul Anwaar, vol. 102, pg. 112
2) Every Friday morning to organise an assembly for Dua-e-Nudba in the house and/or in the locality. Nudba means intense wailing. In this Dua, the lovers of Imam Husain (a.s.) in the condition of waiting asks :
'Where is the one who will take the revenge of the blood of the martyrs of
I wish I had known where you are living!'
'May my life be sacrificed for you, you are the desire of every believing man and woman who has remembered you and sympathised with you.'
This supplication can also be found in Mafateehul Jinaan
3) To organise gatherings and assemblies (majaalis) wherein Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) is remembered. Enliven the hearts of your children and believers. It is narrated in traditions that hearts are enlivened with the remembrance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and sins are forgiven. The hearts will remain alive on that Day when all other hearts will be dead. For more details, refer Beharul Anwaar, vol. 1, pg. 200.
4) Read and narrate the incidents of people who have met Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) so that the desire and love of meeting Imam (a.t.f.s.) is revived in the hearts. A lover of Imam (a.t.f.s.) has stated beautifully:
'We desire to see you but this journey is not possible. If we are unable to reach you, then you only come to us.'
5) As it is commanded in the last verse of Surah Aal-e-Imran, (varabetu) 'And be in contact'.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says
'Be in contact with your Imam, the Awaited One'. Day and night whenever you get the time be in contact with your Imam (a.t.f.s.).
Rabetu in occultation means to always remember Imam (a.t.f.s.), to seek mediation (tawaasul) through him (a.t.f.s.) and to seek solution of all our problems through him (a.t.f.s.) only.
6) Shaikh Abu Amr has narrated 'Dua-e-Ghaibat' from Imam (a.s.). This supplication should be recited on Friday. Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi (r.a.) has narrated in his book, 'Muntahal Aamaal' that even if no recommended action is performed on Friday then at least one should read this supplication and should never abandon it as it is prayed to have perfect belief in Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the period of occultation. This supplication can be found in Mafateehul Jinaan.
7) Before performing any action we must think whether Imam (a.t.f.s.) will be pleased with it or not?
"O Allah, by the right of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) fill our hearts with the love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and give us the taufeeq to remember him (a.t.f.s.) and make others remember him (a.t.f.s.)."
8) In the month of Muharram or even otherwise, whenever we cry for the martyrs of Karbala and the prisoners of Ahle Bait (a.s.), we should offer our condolences to the one who will avenge the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.) and we should pray for his earliest reappearance.
9) We must celebrate the birthday of Imam (a.t.f.s.) on 15th Shabaan in such a way that people inquire about the occasion. Apart from reciting verses in praise of Imam (a.t.f.s.), we should organise other programmes so that people can increase their recognition (ma'refat) of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and attain proximity towards him (a.t.f.s.).
Allah has created man for His worship. Even wisdom dictates that worshipping God is necessary for man. Obedience to Him is the best way of thanking Him for His bounties. However, wisdom on its own is unable to establish the method of worship, as this is beyond its limit. Those who relied on their wisdom in determining the methods of worship were deviated. They ended up worshipping someone other than Allah.
Allah sent the Messenger to invite the people towards the (worship of the) True God. The Apostles tried to arouse man's 'innate recognition' of God through reminders. They taught man the correct way of worshipping Allah so that their worship may become a means of attaining nearness to Him.
The words and actions of Prophets (a.s.) turns the focus of the people towards Allah. The people then beseech Allah regarding all their matters. Here it is necessary to highlight a very crucial point. How do we distinguish between a true and a false Prophet/Imam? In order to discern between the true Prophet/Imam and an imposter we should observe his assertions and conduct. If his words and deeds refrain the people, from disobedience and rebelliousness and invite them towards the worship of Allah, then indeed he is a true Prophet/Imam. As against this, if his assertions and conduct incite the people to disobey Allah and alienate them from His worship, then he is an imposter. Here, his falsity is established by his words itself requiring no further proof.
Hazrat Alt (a.s.) asserts, "Recognize Allah by Allah and the Messenger by his message". (Ref. - Usul'-e-Kafi, Kitabut Tawheed, Vol. 1, Pg. 75)
Indeed the; sayings of the Ahle Bayt (a.s.) are enough to ascertain the veracity of the claimants.,
Ziarate Jaamea fittingly illustrates the eminence of Ahle Bayt (a.s.). In this Ziarat, Ahle Bait (a.s.) have been depicted, "The practical implementation of His revelation, the pillar of His Unity, the witness over His creation, the flag of guidance for His servants, the minarets of light in His cities, the proof and guides towards His path". Allah has safeguarded them from all types of errors, granted them safety from all types of corruption, refined them of all types of impurities and purified them a thorough purifying.
Despite attaining such a lofty station and acquiring complete dominance over other creatures, the impeccable Ahle Bait (a.s.) never invited the people towards themselves. Disdain, self-esteem and ostentation were never a part of their natural disposition. Indeed their natural disposition was in stark contrast to people who are bloated with self-respect and arrogance after attaining some token standing among the people.
Ziarate Jaamea elaborates further the elevated status of the Ahle Bayt (a.s.) thus, "You (Ahle Bait a.s.) recognised the exalted station of God, honoured His splendour, praised His munificence, enacted His message, attested His covenant. You reinforced the bond of obedience to Him and exhorted (the people) towards His obedience secretly and openly. You called unto His way with wisdom and good admonitions. (You) sacrificed your lives in seeking His pleasure. (You) endured patiently hardships in His cause. You established the prayers and paid the poor dues. You enjoined what was right and forbade what was wrong. You endeavoured for Allah excessively..."
Indeed the efforts and endeavours of the Ahle Bayt (a.s.) reaped amazing results for the people and their objective was realised. The Ziarat declares further, 'You manifested His summons, made evident His ordinance, firmly established His limits, unfolded the wisdom behind His laws and exemplified His precepts."
The impeccable Ahle Bayt (a.s.) aimed to execute Allah's message. This message spread to the most obscure parts of the world. Today, whatever Islam is evident in the world is largely due to the efforts of the Ahle Bayt (a.s.).
Allah's worship can be performed only in the manner specified by Him. The daily prayers are a means of worshipping Allah only if the prayers are performed in line with His edicts and decree. For instance, if a person supplements the morning obligatory prayers with two additional units, then this prayer will be rejected and cannot be a way of attaining nearness to Allah, as it was not performed in accordance to His explicit commands.
Imam Jafer Sadiq (a.s.) states, "Allah ordered the angels, Prostrate before Adam (a.s.). All prostrated except Iblis, thus manifesting his envy. Allah asked him, what has stopped you from prostrating in front of Adam?' He replied, 'I am better than him as You have created me from fire and him from clay."
Hence the first person to act on conjecture (in the matter of worship) was Iblis. He was proud and arrogant. Pride for him acted as a hurdle in Allah's obedience. Iblis requested Allah, "0 my God, excuse me from prostrating before Adam, and I will worship you in such a way that neither the angels nor prophets would worship you". Allah replied, "I don't need your worship. I desire to be worshipped in the manner I like. Iblis remained obstinate in his refusal to prostrate. Allah then said, "Get out from here! Surely My curse is on you till resurrection!"
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 11, pg. 141)
Thus, it is evident even if a person spends his entire life prostrating in front of Allah, but his prostration is not accordance with Allah's wishes, then his worship is worthless. On the contrary it will only serve as means of separation from Allah.
The criterion for belief is not only to attest the unity of Allah (Tauheed) and reject all partners for Him, but also to seek laws of religion from the door that has been declared by Him to be 'His door'. And this 'Door of Allah' are His Messengers (a.s.) and pure Imams (a.s.) Hence, the belief in Nabuwat and Imamat is an absolute must to consummate the belief in Tauhid.
Imam Jafer Sadiq (a.s.) says, "If someone feels that he can deem the permissible as permissible and the prohibited as prohibited, without the recognition of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), then he has in fact not reckoned the permitted of Allah as permitted and prohibited of Allah as prohibited. If a person performs prayers, pays the poor-due, performs Hajj and Umrah without the recognition of that personality whose obedience has been made obligatory by Allah, then in reality he has not performed anything! Neither he has prayed nor fasted nor paid the poor-due nor per formed Hajj and Umrah nor has taken the ritual obligatory bath nor observed purity nor considered prohibited of Allah as prohibited nor permitted of Allah as permitted. His prayers in reality are not prayers, though he bows and prostrates. His poor-due in reality is not poor-due. Nor is his Hajj accounted as Hajj. All these are deemed legitimate only if they are performed with the recognition and guidance of those personalities whose obedience has been made obligatory by Allah upon the people."
"One who has the recognition of the representative of Allah and acquires the religion and its laws from him alone, only then has he obeyed Allah."
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 27, pg. 176)
Indeed Imam Sadiq's tradition in this regard is most amazing. Imam (a.s.) narrates, "One worshipper from Bani Israel worshipped Allah and dried up like a toothpick. However, Allah revealed to the Prophet of that era to inform him, that Allah will not accept his worship even if his worship makes him disintegrate like the flesh of the sheep when cooked, until (of course) he gains proximity to Allah from the door from which He has ordered to approach Him".
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 27, pg. 176)
The above mentioned traditions make it amply clear that the recognition of the representative of Allah is an important criterion for His worship and obedience.. Another tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in this regard is worth noting. This tradition has been recorded by both Shia as well as Sunni scholars. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) warns,
"One who dies without recognizing the Imam of his time, then his death is that of an ignorant person."
(Yanaabiul Mawaddah, vol. 39, pg. 137)
In today's era, belief in the Imamat of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the criterion for Allah's worship. In fact, belief in the Imamat of Hazrat Vali-e-Asr (may our lives be sacrificed for him) is the foundation of the entire edifice of our belief and worship. A doubt (about his Imamat) equal to the measure of a grain will take us away from religion and render our actions void. In this context the following incident establishes the necessity and importance of recognizing the proof of Allah.
There was a family in Bani Israel. Any member of this family who worshipped Allah for forty nights would have his prayers accepted. Their entreaties were never rejected by Allah. One person from this family worshipped Allah for forty nights. Thereafter, he beseeched Allah for fulfilment of his desire. But his prayers were rejected. He presented himself before Hazrat Isa (a.s.) and briefed him about his condition. He requested Hazrat Isa (a.s.) to implore Allah on his behalf. Hazrat Isa (a.s.) performed ablution and prayed. Allah replied to him thus,
'0 Isa! This servant of mine has not approached Me through the door from which I should be approached. While he is calling Me, he still has some doubts regarding you. Hence, I will not accept his entreaties even if he calls Me in such a way that his neck is broken an d his fingers fall apart."
(Usul-e-Kafi, vol. 2, pg. 400, under 'The Chapter of Doubt')
One can well imagine what will be the consequence of disobeying Allah's proof, when the person from Bani Israel only doubting about him. (Allah's proof). When a person beseeches Allah by disregarding His proof, then he has rejected the means of approach appointed by Allah. That is, he has chosen another mode of approaching Allah in grave disregard of the mode endorsed by Him. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has narrated the following Hadithe Qudsi from Jibrael (a.s.) who in turn narrated it from the Allah, the Almighty who declares,
"The one who considers Me worthy of worship, considers Muhammad to be My worshipper and messenger, reckons Alt ibne Abi Taalib to be My caliph, deems the Imams in his lineage to be My proof then out of My mercy I will make him enter Paradise. On the basis of My forgiveness I will deliver him from Hell and give him a place in My neighbourhood. I will ordain My mercy and grace a must for him. I will fulfill My bounties over him. I will enumerate him among my special and sincere friends. If he calls Me, I will reply to him. If he entreats before Me, I will accept his entreaties. If he asks Me, I will grant him. If he is silent, I will initiate. If he does evil, I will give him a place in My benevolence. If he runs, I will call him towards Me. If he returns, I will accept him. If he knocks on My door, I will open My doors for him. But one who does not attest to My unity or testifies to it but does not witness the prophethood of My servant and Apostle Muhammad (s.a.w.a) or acknowledges his prophethood but does not accede to the Caliphate ofAli ibne Abi Talib or accedes to the Caliphate of Ali but does not accept the Imamat and Wilayat of Imams in his lineage, then indeed he has rejected My bounties. He has deemed My greatness to be of little value. He has rejected My signs and My book. If he turns towards Me, I will hide Myself from him. If he asks Me, I will not listen to him. If he hopes from Me, I will disappoint him. This is his punishment from My side and I am never unjust to My servants."
The last few words underline how important is the recognition of Allah's proof in reaching Allah. (Kamaluddin, chapter 27, hadith no. 3, pg. 258)
Without the recognition of Allah's proof, deliverance from His punishment is inconceivable. Man may do any number of good deeds on account of his knowledge, but if he does not possess the recognition of the 'the True Imam', then his deliverance is impossible.
Imam Jafer Sadiq (a.s.) declares', "Allah does not feel shy from punishing those who accept an Imam whom Allah has not appointed, though they may be from among the-virtuous. And Allah shies from chastising those who believe in an Imam appointed by Him, though they may be from among the sinners."
(Usul-e-Kafi, Kitabul Hujjah, vol. 1, pg. 376)
It should be noted that shyness for Allah is not the same as it is for humans. This only connotes Allah's ways and methods. Definitely, this tradition does not mean that committing sins is excusable for those who acknowledge the 'True Imam'. On the contrary after gaining the recognition of the 'True Imam', one should distance oneself from sins and transgression, so that it can be established that the followers of the Rightful Imam are well aware of the criteria for his belief.
0 Lord! Increase (for us) the recognition of the Imam of the era. With every passing moment illuminate our hearts with his love and grant us more opportunities for his service.
As you are aware, occultation is of two types: the Minor Occultation and the Major Occultation with the former being the foundation for the latter.
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) was martyred in 260 A.H., within 5 years of the birth of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in 255 A.H. Immediately after his martyrdom, the soldiers of the Abbassid Caliph surrounded his house. They were in search of his son, who was his successor.
These historical incidents in themselves are a proof of the danger to the life of Imam Hasan Askari's (a.s.) son.Occultation was thus necessary for the protection of Imam Mahdi's (a.t.f.s.) life and for the continuity of the institution of Imamat and successorship of prophethood. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had already prophesied about this:
'Then till Allah desires, their Imam will be hidden from them and he will have two occupations ...'
(BehaarulAnwaar. Vol. 52, Pg. 380)
Selection of the Special Representatives:
Subsequent to the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), the Shias were enveloped in the darkness of doubt and indecision. The demise of Imam (a.s.) was not the sole reason for their condition, essentially it was also due to the political situation prevailing at that time.
The atmosphere of fear and anxiety unleashed by the Abbassid Caliphs towards the Shias and the lack of direct contact with the Imam (a.s.) aggravated things further. Soon the Shias disintegrated into different sects. The martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) disturbed the Shias even more. The situation worsened to such an extent that many Shias despaired of their faith. Such conditions marked the beginning of the minor occupation. Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.) was physically absent from the midst of the people.
To ensure his safety and wellbeing, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) had not introduced him to everyone, but only to the innermost circle of his Shias. In the words of Shaykh Mufeed (a.r.), 'To the extent that he (Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) had not introduced his son to a large group of his followers'.
However, it was not as if Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) had not introduced his son and successor at all. The introduction was made, but only to the trustworthy ones. Ahmad b. Ishaaq-e-Qummi was informed through a letter. He was instructed to inform reliable people about the birth of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Also, care was taken to ensure that this news did not break out to the general masses.
(i) Some descendants of Janabe Abu Talib (a.s.) stayed in Medina. They were true believers, having complete faith that the son of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) would be the twelfth Imam. However, after the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) some of them turned apostates (i.e. they turned away from Shiaism).
(Al-Kaafi, vol. 2, Kitab al-Hujjah,
Chapter of Birth of Sahebuz Zaman (a.t.f.s.)
(Although they were Shias of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), they deviated after the demise of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.))
(ii) Muhammad b. Ibrahim was confused after the martyrdom of the eleventh Imam (a.s.). This was despite the fact that his father Ibrahim b. Mahziyar was a representative of Hazrat Vali-e-Asr (a.s.) in Ahwaz. Sheikh Kulaini (a.r.) narrates that when the father of Muhammad b. Ibrahim died, some amount of Khums (Sahm-e-Imam) was in his possession. His father had mentioned in his will that he should be careful about the Sahm-e-Imam and it should reach to the correct person.
In a state of confusion, Muhammad b. Ibrahim carried the money to Iraq. He decided to hand over the amount only after a satisfying proof was presented to him. Later, a messenger came to his house and advanced some convincing signs about the money and took custody of it. Muhammad b. Ibrahim became distressed and few days had not passed when he received a letter appointing him as a representative in his father's place.
(Ibid., Vol.2, Pg. 456)
(iii) Sheikh Saduq (a.r.) narrates from Abu Raje Misri, 'Two years after the demise of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), I undertook a journey to search for his successor but I failed in my mission. In the third year while I was still seeking Imam Hasan Askari's (a.s.) successor in Medina, Abu Ghanim invited me to his house one evening. At that time, a thought crossed my mind that if at all there was any son of Imam (a.s.) then after three years he would definitely have made himself known. Suddenly a voice reached my ears. The voice declared, '0 Nasr b. Abdullah (Abu Raje), ask the Egyptians whether they have seen the Prophets (a.s.) in whom they believe?' Abu Raje says, 'Till then I was unaware of my father's name as I was born in Madyan and Naufali had brought me to Egypt. After my father's death I was brought up in Egypt. Listening to this I got up. Instead of going to Abu Ghanim's place I took the road to Egypt. (Kamaaluddin, by Shaykh Saduq, vol.2, pg. 491, chap. 25, tradition 15)
(iv) Hasan b. Abdul Majid says, 'I was in doubt about Hajiz b. Yazid (he was one of the representative of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) in Baghdad and among the foremost assistants of Usman b. Saeed (r.a.)). Then I collected some money and reached Saamarrah. There I received a letter stating - It is not proper to doubt about us or about those who are helpers in our affairs. Whatever you have brought with you, deposit it in the custody of Hajiz b. Yazid'.
(Al-Kafi, voL 2, Chapter of birth of Imam (a.s.))
There are many such incidents in the books of traditions. Nevertheless, such doubts and confusions led to the disintegration ofShiaism into many sects. Al-Masoodi in 'Muroojuz Zahab' mentions about twenty such sects. Sa'd-e-Qummi in 'Al Maqaalaat wal Feraq' has mentioned 15 such sects. While Nawbakhti in 'Feraqush Shia' and Sheikh Mufeed (a..r.) in 'Fusool-ul-Mukhtaar' have named fourteen sects each. Shahrastani in 'Al Milal wa al-Nahal' has mentioned eleven sects.
It is famous among the scholars that after the demise of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), the Imamites (Shias) were divided into fourteen sects and according to the contemporary ulema these 14 sects from the aspect of beliefs, form 5 sects.
Currently, only the Imamiyyah sect (believers in the Imamat of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)), among all others, has survived.
We observe that despite the foresight and anticipation of the Shias of that time, they were afflicted with doubt and skepticism. Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.), who never forgets his Shias has himself declared to the Shias:
'We are neither negligent of your affairs nor are we forgetful of your remembrance. If it were so, you would have been already destroyed'.
Surely, if it wasn't for the link between the noble and extraordinary Shias and Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.), the entire foundation of Shiaism would have been decimated.
To avoid such a scenario, in the initial period ofoccultation, Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.) maintained contact with the Shias through the special representatives. The common people were thus trained to live without an apparent Imam for a long period. This contact satisfied the people who were denied even a glance of their leader.
The Important Role of the Representatives
The leadership of the four special representatives transformed the conditions of the Shias for the better. The Shias were saved from disintegration and deviation. Of course, this was possible only with the guidance of Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.).
The era of the first representative was marked with the presence of many groups having variant views vis-a-vis the son of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). However, the era of the second representative witnessed a successful transition, as his teachings prevailed among the Shias, thereby weakening the other groups.
Consequently, at the time of the third and the fourth representatives, the new generation of Shias had become acquainted with the true Shiite beliefs. They considered the words of the special representatives as the words of Imam-e-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) himself and they were desirous of meeting him.
Same signature in every Tauquee.
The belief of the new generation was strengthened by the presence of the same signature in all the letters issued to the four representatives. The fourth (and last) special representative was issued the last letter, which announced the termination of the minor occultation and the onset of the major occultation. The foundation of the major occultation of Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.) was laid with the help of the minor occultation.
Under these circumstances the Shias were united. Shaykh Mufeed (a.r.) in 373 A.H. while writing the book, 'Al Fussol-ul-Mukhtarah' records that out of the fourteen sects only the Imamiyyah sect survived. He further writes that this sect had the maximum number of scholars, visionaries, righteous ones, worshippers, jurists, traditionalists, linguists and poets. As these personalities were the leaders and were highly revered in society, the Shia Imamiyyah led an honourable existence.
(PeeramunZindagi-e-Nawwaab-e-Khassa-e-Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.), p. 84)
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