Why Did He Not Appoint Special Deputies During the Complete Occultation?
Dr. Jalali: We accept in principle the necessity of occultation for the Imam. But, the question arises as to why did he not appoint his special deputies during the Complete Occultation as he had done during the Short Occultation? Such an appointment would have enabled the Shi'a to establish contact with him and ask for his assistance in solving their problems.
Mr. Hoshyar: The enemies did not leave the deputies in peace either. They were imprisoned and tortured so that they would reveal the whereabouts of the Hidden Imam (peace be upon him).
Dr. Jalali: Well, in that case perhaps it was possible for him not to appoint specific individuals as his deputies. However, from time to time he could appear for some of his followers through whom he could convey his injunctions for the community.
Mr. Hoshyar: Even this approach was not feasible because in all likelihood that very person to whom the Imam had appeared would have revealed his domicile to the enemy, leading to the arrest and murder of the Imam.
Dr. Jalali: Such a danger would have been possible if he had appeared in front of any unknown person. But if he had appeared for some trustworthy persons among his followers, the probability of impending danger would have been absent.
Mr. Hoshyar: Your supposition can be refuted on several grounds:
First, if the Imam had decided to appear for anyone he would have needed to perform a miracle to introduce himself. In fact, for a cynical individual he might have been required to perform several miracles so that, that person would accept him as his Imam. Among these individuals there was a possibility that there would be some who would resort to trickery and fraud through magic to deceive and mislead the ordinary believers and even claim to be the Imam himself! By the way, it is not possible for everyone to distinguish between a miracle and an act of magic. This very difficulty would have led to further corruption among the people, leading to a disastrous situation.
Second, there were actually some shrewd impostors and fraudulent individuals who had abused such incidents for their own personal ambitions. They used to claim to have seen the Imam and spread laws contrary to the Shari'a on his authority so that they could achieve their evil designs. Whoever intended to do something against the law and further his own ends used to claim that he had reached the presence of the Imam of the Age and that the Imam had come to his house the previous night and had told him that he should do such and such or that the Imam approved what he was doing, and so on. The dangerous consequences of such claims is too self-evident to require any further elaboration.
Third, we do not have any unequivocal proof that the Imam of the Age does not appear for anyone highly trustworthy among his followers. Rather, it is quite likely that his pious and godly followers might reach his presence and might be under oath to keep that secret, without revealing it to anyone. In such cases, everyone is bound to their own experience and has no right to judge any one else.
Adopted from the book : "Al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.); the Just Leader of Humanity" by : "Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini"
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