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The significance and the purpose of specifying the signs

Specifying the signs before the time of reappearance has its own advantages and benefits both before and after the occurrence of the signs. As we mentioned, some of the foretold events are related to the hardship of people before the reappearance of the Imam (PBUH) and warn people about the situations that they may face if disappearance is prolonged.

These prophecies urge the believers to turn to Allah and supplicate to Him with the hope that He may alleviate or cancel such hard situations and accommodate an easy and early relief. Thus, such warnings are, by themselves, constructive if people react to them by turning to Allah before the actual manifestation of the signs.

On the other hand, if a sign does finally occur, it strengthens one's faith in the reappearance of Imam (PBUH) and increases his anticipation. Once a sign occurs, a believer realizes that it was among the signs foretold, and thus, his faith and confidence will increase, and he trusts that the time of reappearance is closer than ever.

Thus, the foretold events should not be ignored or considered as insignificant before and after their occurrence.

Nevertheless, the signs were not given for the purpose of predicting the time of reappearance or for urging people to search the scientific data to estimate the time of the occurrence of the sign itself. Rather, they serve as reminders for people only after they occur miraculously. The signs were described in order to keep us alert, aware, and mindful of Allah, but not to enable us to make any kind of prediction.

Keeping in mind the issue of al-Badaa, all the mentioned signs before his arrival, even if they finally occur, they may happen miraculously in an unpredictable manner.

As we have seen in a tradition quoted earlier, some of the signs such as an eclipse of the moon at the end of the month can only happen miraculously. Even for some other signs that can occur naturally and can be predicted by the available physical information; they may still occur supernaturally and thus their predicted schedules may be proven wrong.

The most interesting observation is that, one of the mentioned signs at the end of the time is the rising of the sun from the west 23, which shows that Allah will miraculously change the direction of the heavenly bodies, and thus, all astronomical data will change according to the new movements.

This means that all timely predictions based on the available astronomical data may be proven false due to this single miracle of Allah. Moreover, this makes possible many other events that are considered physical impossibility including the double eclipse mentioned earlier. Similar to the advent of the Imam (PBUH), the signs before his advent are Allah's miracles, all of which remind us the power of Allah and His sovereignty. Their miraculous nature assures that they are signs from Allah, not from people.

Hence, instead of worrying about the time of the occurrence of the unpredictable signs before the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH), one should care about keeping faith in the Imam (PBUH) and following his customs. Only in that way, will one be safe from the afflictions of the end of time no matter how the signs finally appear.

If some signs appear he will gain more hope and energy that the appointed time is fast approaching, and if he did not observe the signs, he will still remain hopeful to receive the Imam (PBUH) because he believes that Allah is never restricted by His creation including His previous will and has power to do all things at any moment.

Notes:

23.See for instance, Tafsir, al-Ayyashi, under commentary of chapter six, verse 158; Tafsir, Ali Ibn Ibrahim al- Qummi, vol. 1, p. 198, under commentary of chapter six, verse 37; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 6, p. 312, Hadith 13 & 16, vol. 9, p. 204, Hadith 66.

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

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