The Unseen World and the Imam of the Age
The following session was convened at Dr. Jalali's residence. He was the first person to open the discussion.
Dr. Jalali: A small number of Muslims believe that the Imam of the Age is the son of Imam Hasan 'Askari who was born in the year 256 AH/843 CE. However, they say that he has ascended from this world to the unseen world known as Hurqalya.1 When humankind reaches maturity and abandons the strife-ridden life of this world, preparing itself to meet and behold the Imam of the Age, it will be able to see him.
One of the leading authorities has written thus in his book:
This [unseen] world had gravitated until it merged with the earth. In the time of Adam he was told: 'Ascend!' And, until now he is ascending. He has not set himself free from the worldly attachments and the filth that sticks with them. He has not reached the clean atmosphere yet. Thus, here it is all darkness. In darkness a human being is searching for a religion and is performing deeds. He has a set of beliefs. When he frees himself from the dust of the traditions and enters the clean space, he will see the brilliant face of the friend of God [= wali = the twelfth Imam] and benefit from his presence without any obstruction, in public. At that time ordinances of religion will become something else, and religion will attain its original form and everything will be different.
Hence, we should ascend to that world where this friend of God is manifest and not wait for him to come to us. If he comes to us and finds us unfit we cannot benefit from him. Moreover, if he comes to us and we are still in the same state [of ungodly existence], we will not be able to see him. This is also against common sense. On the other hand, if our state changes for better and improves, then we have certainly moved upward in station. Hence we must realize that we should ascend so that we can reach that world. The name of that world in the language of theosophy is Hurqalya. Thus, as the world ascends to that high level it reaches the station of Hurqalya. In that place the Imam's domain is realized. Truth is spread and falsehood is defeated.2
Mr. Hoshyar: The author's intent in this writing is not clear. If he intends to convey that the Imam of the Age (peace be upon him) has relinquished his earthly existence and physical body to ascend to that ideal world, as a result of which he is no more a person existing on this earth needing an earthly form and bound to earthly necessities, this view, besides being in itself irrational, does not conform with the rational and textual proofs that prove the necessity of the Imamate. To be sure, these proofs point to the fact that there should exist among people that perfect man in whom all the excellent qualities and virtues should become actualized. Such a person, having attained the straight path of the religion himself, should undertake to show that path and lead the people toward it. It is only then that the Imam could serve as a role model and preserve God's ordinances and serve as a competent authority and proof for God's existence. The twelfth Imam is such a person. To put it differently, the need of the guide and leader is felt where people are moving towards that lofty goal, seeking to be instructed to attain that perfection.
However, if the intent of the author regarding Hurqalya is to fix a point in this material world, then we have no disagreement with him in what he believes. But, this more reasonable latter sense does not seem to be congruent with the apparent meaning of his writing. Over all it seems to be an untenable opinion.
1 The word refers to the mythological universe known to the mystics as very difficult world requiring the strength or courage of Hercules to encounter or accomplish. Tr.
2 Muhammad Karim Khan, Irshad al-`ulum (Kirman, 1380), Volume 3, p. 401.
Adopted from the book : "Al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.); the Just Leader of Humanity" by : "Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini"
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