Waiting and Character Building
The foremost thing which a true awaiter is expected to do is to build his character. Character-building implies following the tenets of Islam, developing good traits and purify his self in such a way that every aspect of his personality should reflect the teachings of Ahlebait (A.S.). Often the friends and helpers of Hazrat Mahdi (A.S.) are described with such superlatives :-
"Those who will believe in the hidden Imam they are the most pious ones and their faith is of the highest degree. They will establish prayers and spend generously in the way of God. They believe firmly in Quran and other divine scriptures and they are certain of Qiyamat.' ( Tafsire-Nurus-Saqlain, Vol. 1, Sura Baqarah )
"They are obedient, sincere, honorable, good doers, patient, devout, helpers of the oppressed, cordial and pure-hearted." Their hearts are of steel. If they cast a glance at an iron mountain, it will crumble and reduce to bits. (llzamun-Naasib, Vol. 1, Pg. 67 )
Their bodies will emit fragrance of musk, while their countenance will be dazzling like a full moon." ( Kamaluddin, Chap. 24, Tradition No. 11 )
"They will be braver than lions and sharper than spears." (Beharul-Anwar, Vol. 52, Chap. 27, Tradition 17 )
"They will worship at night." (Muntakhabul Asar section 9, Chap: 3, Tradition No.1 )
(Now whosoever wishes to be among the friends and helpers of Hazrat Mahdi (A.S.) then he must adorn his self with the above mentioned attributes and characteristics)
"In the period of occupation they will hold religious convictions and will not allow the devil to meddle with their faith. (Kamaluddin.Pg.51)
Their gnosis will be pure and veritable, while their faith will increase constantly. They will mould their character in such a way that nothing will stop them from emulating the Ahlebait (A.S.)." (Kamaluddin, Pg, 51)
These excerpts were extracted from various traditions which clarifies that in the period of occultation one of our P vital responsibilities is to absorb the teachings of Ahlebait (A.S.) in our character and personality so that we may not wander hither and thither while our beloved Imam (A.S.) is far from our eyes. In such an aimless wandering, it is quite possible that a wanderer may end up getting attached to any mundane caller, because every belief which is not a product of the teachings of Ahlehait (A.S.) is a clear deviation and every courteousness which does not reflect their mannerisms is intact sheer discourtesy.
It is a proven fact that as much as a man holds Imam (A.S,) dearer that much he will be attracted towards good deeds and demeanors. And he will cleanse his self from bad habits and vices. Numerous such incidents can he found in the hooks, stories of those persons, particularly youths who felt the love of Imam (A.S.) in their hearts which changed their entire lives. Undoubtedly, love is such an elixir by which every impossible is made possible. The Reformation Of Society.
One of our important responsibilities in the period of occultation is the reformation of society. The holy Quran in Surae-Asr has suggested a remedy for those who want to remain secure from loss i.e. enjoining patience to each other'. Islam is against reclusion and ascetism. Rather it advocates a social and public life. The deplorable aspect of the contemporary world is that people want to lead a social life hut due to the fear of society, they do not want to take any initiative for reformation. The fear of "what the people will say" has superseded the fear of God. Hazrat Imam Ali Naqi (A.S.) has extolled the virtues of those who are fulfilling their responsibilities in the period of occultation in the following words:-
"Had there not been such scholars in the period of occultation who call the people towards the Ahlebait (A.S.), guide towards them, defend their religion with the proofs of Allah, protect weak Shias from the devilish designs, deception of the tyrants and tentacles of the enemies of Islam, then surely all would have deviated from the religion of Allah. But it is they who are guarding the hearts of the weak Shias like a captain guards the passengers on his ship. They are those who enjoy a supreme position in front of Allah".(Mahajjatul-Baizaa, Vol. 1, Pg. 32)
If they would not reform their society then how would it he known that the whole society is awaiting Hazrat Mahdi (A.S.). The following tradition throws light on our responsibilities in the period of occultation :-
In the exegesis of the Holy Quran attributed to Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.), the Holy Prophet (S.A.) had explained the significance of word 'Orphan' in the following verse; "And when we took the covenant from the children of lsrail of not worshipping anyone but Allah and goodness to parents and by giving to near ones and orphans."
(Baqarah : 83) The Holy Prophet (S.A.) said :
"Allah the Almighty has commanded to do good with the orphans and to act as (a source of) guidance for them. Since they are deprived of their kind and affectionate father. Allah will extend his grace to the one who will have mercy on the orphans. If a person caresses the head of an orphan then as many number of hairs come under his hand those many vast and expansive palatial mansions will be given to him in Paradise. This place will contain all sorts of comforts and luxuries in its precincts... These people will stay in it forever."
(Tafseer attributed to Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.),Pg.239)
Imam Hasan Askari further elucidates the tradition of Holy Prophet (S.A.) in these words :
"There is another orphan whose plight is more pitiful. He is the one who is far from his Imam and cannot have access to him. He who is not aware of his religious obligations .
Yes indeed 0' people - one who teaches and trains our far off Shias then he is similar to the guardian of an orphan.
Be aware if somebody teaches an ignorant, guides a misguided one, instills the teachings of Ahlebait then on the day of Qiyamat he will be with us. We will give him a seat next to us wherever we may be." (Tafseer attributed to Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.) , Pg. 239)
In this period of occultation, when we are separated from our kind Imam(A.S.) then what else can he the reward of teaching, training, and reforming the society ? Where is the teaching and training of society and where is the proximity to Masumeen (A.S.) and the fortune of staying with them ? This tradition is sufficient to enlighten the keen and sensitive Shias. Even women can join hands with men in fulfilling this responsibility.
Adapted from the book: "Waiting and Responsibility"
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