The GHEEBAT of the 12th Imam
Earlier to Nomani in the books of the Prophet’s sayings and conversations (TRADITIONS) both types of the Imam’s disappearance (GREEB AT) have been mentioned. There are some who have been written before the end of the short GHEEBAT. The writer now tells us in a way to suggest that when the GHEEBAT happened these books too appeared. Since he has no belief in the invisible or unseen (GHAIB) he should say so. He can even suggest that whatever is written is after the happenings although the Prophet might have foretold then.
He wants to accuse the great scholars who were great authorities such as Sadoq, Nomani and others of fraud and fabricating traditions. May God guide him.
The GHEEBAT was split into two periods - one a short duration, the other with an indefinite duration. The lengthy GHEEBAT was anticipated. Ali Bin Mohammed al-Samri and others were having a mental preparedness. Nomani and others consider the GHEEBAT as a sign attesting the Imam hood of Mahdi. The writer says that both kinds have had a root in the recent narration. The narration can not be new or recent. All of them are old because they relate to the time of the Prophet (SAW). If the writer knows let him specify which are the new ones and which are the old narration?
We can make not such that the narration of Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb (AS) are older than those by Imam Hasan (AS) Imam Hussain (AS) or Imam Zainulabedeen (AS). Likewise what Imam Baqer (AS) has told is older than that which Imam Sadqq (AS) told. So this should be his sense, divided among the Imams in accordance to their order and periods. But, actually the fifth Imam, Baqer, is the first Imam who started a school in which he told many things explaining the legislation and other issues. The narration that hailed newly or recently relates to the period after the period of Imam Baqer (AS). This issue is useful in distinguishing the dates or locating the duration of period with regards to narration and other religious jurisprudence. This standard can not be maintained after the period of Imam Askari. Usually the narration can be considered false if they come after the duration of the period of Imam Askari.
But such a supposition can not be given to the narration that pertain to the GHEEBAT of the twelfth Imam because they were told in every age right from the Prophet’s (SAW) time down to Imam Askari (AS). There was nothing to be added thereon or to be deducted there from. Whatever the new authors have written they have depended upon the old authors. The interpretations and comments made thereon are all in uniformity because of the pedestal being one. There can be a difference in synonyms, such as short absence, little absence, long absence, lengthy absence, continued absence and so on.
These terms GHEEBAT SUGHRA (short GHEEBAT) and GHEEBAT
KUBRA (long absence) were not invented in the era of Safavi. They have no bearing on the reality. There had been two periods. The narration can not be changed by the marginal diameters or spaces down by suppositions. Furthermore, belief can not be shaken as well. Any other interpretation would only show one’s own mind and the extent of its listing to falsity the fact. To invalidate a narration one should search the ground of that particular narration. If the narrators of that particular narration have any credibility reputation or a reliability that could creep in a catena of continuity up to the authority of Imam Sadiq (AS) reason would not approve its repudiation. What Noubakhti has written of the Shia sects should be something of prediction about the unseen future. To foretell what will happen in the future no one would claim, unless he should have prophecy, which no one has. So, it is quite easy to tell what this imagination might bring to his mind. In such an event he has rejected the established traditions and acknowledged the realities of history.
40. The writer regarding the 2nd Ambassador says that it was a period of chaos and tumult in the history of the Shia. People were left adrift in an ocean of uncertainty knowing not where the stand is for them and to which shore they should land. The writer has magnified the things because he is looking through a microscope of prejudice. Any little thing would appear to him big. The things were not as he is pretending to have been. A little commentary on his statements seems necessary. Chaos and tumult; they are a natural corollary of uncertainty. There were those who were faithful to their belief and ardent in their faith. They knew who their Imam were and who the present one was.
They also had pre-knowledge of the absence of the Imam as they had heard or read the Prophet’s (SAW) sayings. It is a common practice to ask. They should have told as they should have been asked. Had there really been a chaos where was it? In the center town of the Shias in Qum we did not hear nor did we witness such chaos.
What the winter says come out to prove that the Shia belief of twelve Imams hails from a strong origin. The scholars, the thinkers and other personalities of the day were believers in the Imamate of the son of Imam Askari (AS) and in his occultation (GREEBAT). He refers to the ministerial families of BANI Furat and the relations of ABU SUHAIL NOUBAKHTI. This is the strength of a religion. The curiosity of the enemies should have tried to find out the fact. They could not establish otherwise. During the GHEEBAT a link of deputies with the Imam take his orders; it seems practicable as well as reasonable.
All the traditions about the GHEEBAT narrated by Shazan, Nomani, Kamaluddin are attested by sources of authority and based on evidence passed on from the Imams by the Prophet (SAW) himself. All these sayings were predictions, that is, years behind the events and the events far ahead the sayings. The Shias who were in various provinces and parts would not have accepted to revert, refer or consult to the NAWABS (deputies) of the Imam had there not been a cogent conviction for them. There had been links that establish the connection with the Imam. It was a well-organised and systematic network of communication to the Imam and from the Imam. Ali Bin Babway, a man of thought and knowledge, writes a letter to the Imam through the NAWAB (Imam’s deputy) and gets an answer through the same channel. Had there not been a truth in it a man of Ali Bin Babway’s like would not have corresponded with the Imam. This in itself is proof.
The writer says on the authority of Fathia that a group of Shia believed in the Imamate of Jafer and many yielded to his authority. By saying so the writer wants to say what he, of course, does not say but means to say, however does not want to go that far. Well, we say that he means that Mahdi was fake Imam because of Jafer. Why does he not ponder the other way? Why wasn’t Jafer a false Imam? The biography of Jafer was known to one and all. His reputation, his conduct his behavior, his temperament brought him no respect from the people. Therefore, he was immediately ignored although he was supported by the government of the day in order to create a rift and split. Those who gathered around him were the paid agents of the government.
Another mistake. The writer sees the Imam as an infant. But the consensus shows that the Imam had attained his boyhood.
The unity among Shias is of course due to a belief common among them. In a stock all are shareholders; and all are united too. The belief in the Imamate of the twelfth Imam has brought all Shias together. But the writer says that the Imam’s deputies (NAWABS) had brought all together. Of course they were men of reliance and respect in all the Shia places. For example, Abulafer Omravi was very much respected. They were symbols of unity and honor of the Shia but not the reason for it. The Nawabs were only agents of the Imam. The cardinal and supreme factor was the very Imamate of Mahdi, which held the mosaic together. Today too this belief in Imamate holds the jurisprudents in awe and reverence and the deputies of the Imam.
Adapted from: "A Reply To Belief Of Mahdism In Shia Imamate" by: "Ayatollah Lutfollah Saafi Golpayegani"
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