The Twelfth Imam Endeavors to Defend Islam during the Occultation
One of the orations of the Nahj al-balagha points to the fact that the Imam of the Age during the occultation also is engaged in furthering the cause of Islam and solving the problems faced by the Muslims as much as he can. Imam 'Ali b. Abi Talib said:
They (i.e., Muslims) took to the right and the left piercing through to the ways of evil and leaving the paths of guidance. Do not make haste for a matter which is to happen and is awaited, and do not wish for delay in what the morrow is to bring for you. For, how many people make haste for a matter, but when they get it they begin to wish they had not got it. How near is today to the dawning of tomorrow. O people, this is the time for the occurrence of every promised event and the approach of things which you do not know. Whoever from us (i.e., ahl al-bayt) will exist during these days will move through them with a burning lamp and will tread on the footsteps of the virtuous, in order to unfasten knots, to free slates, to divide the united and unite the divided. He will be in concealment (sitra) from people. The stalker will not find his footprints even though he pursues with his eye. Then a group of people will be sharpened like the sharpening of swords by the blacksmith. Their sight will be brightened by the revelation (tanzil, i.e., the Qur'an), the interpretation will be put in their ears and they will be given drinks of wisdom, morning and evening.1
The apparent sense of this oration suggests that during the time of 'Ali b. Abi Talib, people were awaiting events about which the Prophet had informed them. In all probability, it was information related to the occultation. The presumable sense of the oration suggests the Imam during the period of concealment would live an extremely veiled life. But he will endeavor to solve the problems facing the community with deep insight and will vindicate the sanctity of Islam. He will remove the difficulties and will come to the aid of the wronged ones. He will disperse the group that would have come together to destroy the Islamic foundations. He will eliminate all the organizations that he would identify as being detrimental to the purposes of God. He will provide the necessary preliminaries needed for bringing about a beneficial society. With the blessed presence of the Imam of the Age a group of people will be trained to defend the religion, and will be inspired by the Qur'anic sciences in their resolutions about the ideal Muslim society.
Dr. Fahimi: I wanted you to explain to me the reason as to why in our traditions, that is the Sunni hadith, the existence of the Mahdi, especially his other names like Qa'im and Sahib al-'amr (the Master of the Command = the one entrusted with the command), is not mentioned. However, since it is getting very late in the night, I should keep this question for our next session.
1 Nahj al-balagha, Vol. 2, Sermon No. 146.
Adopted from the book : "Al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.); the Just Leader of Humanity" by : "Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini"
Share this article