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The possibility of canceling the signs of the reappearance

The foretold future events before the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) were the information that Allah willed their occurrence and were in effect at the time that the Imams (PBUT) spoke about them.

In other words, with their vision of the knowledge of what will happen in future, the Imams (PBUT) foretold some of the signs that Allah had willed and intended at that time. However, Allah has not promised the occurrence of the planned signs,

and thus all such signs are subject to change due to Allah's new decision. In the language of religion, the origination of a new plan by Allah is called al-Badaa. We will briefly discuss the phenomenon of al-Badaa and its significance in the next section.

The traditions state that among all the signs, there are some that are definite, which means it is very unlikely that Allah changes His will on their occurrence. Therefore, they are most likely to take place before the advent of Imam al- Mahdi (PBUH). Umar Ibn Hanzala narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "There are five definite signs before the rising of al-Qa'im, which are: (the rising of) al-Yamani and al-Sufyani, the (heavenly) cry/call (by Gabriel which will be heard all over the world), the murder of Nafs al-Zakiyya, and the sink (of the Sufyani army) into (the land of) al-Baydaa (located between Mecca and Medina)." 6

Even for some of the definite signs, Allah reserves al-Badaa, and may change those of the definite wills that are not categorized as His Sunan or His promises.

For instance, Allah informed us through His Apostle (PBUH&HF) that before the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH), al-Sufyani would certainly rise.

This is a definite will, but it is not necessarily categorized as a promise. It is an insisted future event meaning that it is extremely unlikely that Allah cancels His permission for the occurrence of this event, though it may still be possible.

According to the following tradition, Allah may make Badaa even in such insisted news. Dawud Ibn al-Qasim narrated:

We were with Imam al-Jawad (PBUH) when the issue of Sufyani was brought up and the traditions which state that his advent is of the definite matters.

I asked Imam al-Jawad (PBUH), "Does Allah make Badaa in the definite matters?" He (PBUH) replied, "Yes." I said, "Then, we have a fear that Allah makes Badaa in (the reappearance of) al-Qa'im." The Imam replied, "al-Qa'im is of the promises, and Allah does not break His promises (referring to verses 3:9 and 13:31)." 7

In other words, Allah will not fail in any of His promises including the annihilation of injustice and the establishment of the government of justice on earth by Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH).

This was Allah's testimony in the verses of the Quran that were quoted previously. However, Allah may make Badaa on the time of reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) and may advance or postpone his mission. Moreover, He may cancel the occurrence of some of the definite signs that were supposed to take place before the Imam's (PBUH) advent, as explained by the above tradition. The question that may arise here is that what the significance of canceling a sign by Allah is.

To answer this question, let us first discuss the notion of al-Badaa in more detail. This is one of the complex issues that have confused minds of many people, and consequently the opponents of the school of Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) have taken the advantage of this confusion to ridicule and attack their faith.

Notes:

6. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 204, Hadith 34.

7. al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p. 302, Hadith 10; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 250, Hadith 138.

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

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