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Will there be any confusion in identifying al-Qa'im (pbuh) ?

The occurrence of the signs indicates that the reappearance of al-Qa'im is about to take place. However, if Allah wants to respond to people's supplication for an early relief,

He may expedite, change or cancel some of the decreed events. The question that may arise here is that, will there be any confusion among people in recognizing Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH)-once he starts his mission-due to the changes in some of the signs? Moreover, if there would be no confusion that he is the promised Mahdi (PBUH), why would then some people oppose him?

According to the traditions, once Allah calls Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) to reappear, all people around the world, believers and disbelievers likewise, will become aware of him immediately and without any shadow of doubt.

In the following tradition, it is mentioned that his reappearance will be as clear as sunshine and will be identified by all people. Narrated Jabir Ibn Yazid:

Imam al-Baqir (PBUH) said, "Be calm so long as the heavens and the earth are calm... Verily your matter (i.e., the movement of the Imam (PBUH)) shall not take place secretly as it shall be a sign from Allah, not from people.

Be hold! It shall be brighter than sunshine so much so that it shall not remain hidden from the righteous and the evildoer (likewise). Do you know morning/dawn? It shall be like the dawn without anything hidden in it." 24

According to another tradition, Imam al-Ridha (PBUH) explained the sentence, 'Be calm so long as the heaven and the earth are calm' as 'Be calm so long as the heaven is calm from the call (of Gabriel) and the earth is calm from sinking the army (of al-Sufyani).' 25 These two signs are among the five definite signs that we discussed earlier.

We do not know of anything brighter than sunshine, which could be sensed by our faculties. The reappearance Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will be clearer than that. The above tradition proves that Allah has guaranteed He will not let anyone remain ignorant of the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH).

It also warns the believers against joining the hidden agenda of those who pretend to be the Mahdi, by stating that Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will starts his mission openly, and will be immediately identified by all people.

However, according to the next tradition, once the Imam (PBUH) reappears, no one would be able to believe in him if he denied him, disbelieved his existence, his rights, or his Sunna before the time of his reappearance; or, it is better say, believing in him at that time will be of no use for a disbeliever.

It is just like believing in Allah on the Day of Judgment, which will be of no benefit for the disbelievers. Those who entertain doubt about his existence during the time of occultation (after truth has reached them through the traditions) will have no way to escape from his sword once they meet him (PBUH). Allah states in the Quran:

... On the day that certain signs of your Lord do come, no one would benefit from believing in (that sign) if he did not believe (in that) before, or such belief is no good for him. Say, "Wait! We too are waiting." (6:158)

Ibn Ri'aab narrated that, on the commentary of the above verse, Imam Ja'far al- Sadiq (PBUH) said:

"The 'Signs' are the Imams (PBUT), and the 'expected sign' is al-Qa'im (PBUH). On that day, no one would benefit from believing in (that sign) if he did not believe in him before his rising by sword even if such a person believed in (the Imamate of) his ancestors, peace be upon them." 26

In some other traditions, rising of the sun from the west has been mentioned as a sign after which having faith will not be helpful for the disbelievers. 27

As we have shown, there is nothing to worry about identifying Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) once he emerges. We should only worry about our belief before his reappearance since believing in him after his reappearance will be of no benefit at all. Those who will oppose Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) when he does appear will not doubt that he is the Imam (PBUH).

They will oppose him because they did not believe in the sayings and practices of him and those of his fathers, as they do not match with their innovations and the innovations of their fathers.

The terrifying news amongst the foretold events is that most of those who believe in Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will doubt his existence over time due to the length of the time of occultation and because of various trials and afflictions that befall people during this period. Therefore, when the Imam (PBUH) starts his mission, the believers will be very few in number. Saqr Ibn Dilf narrated:

I asked Imam al-Jawad (PBUH) why Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) is called al- Qa'im. He (PBUH) replied, "Because he will rise after his remembrance is dead (in the society) and when most of the believers in his Imamate have turned back (from their belief)."

I asked why he is called al-Muntadhar (the awaited). He (PBUH) replied, "Because there shall be an occultation for him whose period shall be prolonged. The sincere ones shall wait for him, the doubtful ones shall deny him, those who reject him shall ridicule his remembrance,

and those who propose a time (for his reappearance) shall increase. During that period, those who hasten in movement (al- Musta'jilun) shall perish, and those who submit (to Allah's commands and decrees) shall be saved." 28

Another tradition is narrated by Mufadhdhal Ibn Umar, who said:

I heard Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) saying, "Be hold! By Allah, your Imam shall disappear for a number of years in your lifetime and you will be afflicted with hardship until some people say he (PBUH) has died or has been killed, which valley is he in?

Verily the eyes of the believers shall remain full of tears for him, and you will be overturned as the ships are overturned in the waves of the sea. None would survive but those from whom Allah has taken oath, in whose heart He has written faith, and has helped them by a spirit from Him. And there shall appear twelve

confusing banners that will not be recognized from one another." I cried and said, "What could we do at that time?" He (PBUH) looked towards the beam of sunshine that was in the room and said, "O the servant of Allah! Do you see this sunlight?" I said, "Yes." He (PBUH) continued, "By Allah! Our matter (i.e., the movement of al-Mahdi (PBUH) once it starts) shall be more evident than this sun." 29

Musa al-Baghdadi narrated:

I heard Imam Hasan al-Askari (PBUH) saying, "I see that you will differ (with one another) after me concerning my successor. Whoever accepts the Imams after the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) but denies my son is like a person who accepted all the prophets and the apostles but denied the prophet hood of Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF).

And whoever denies the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) is like one who has denied all the prophets.

This is because obeying the last of us is like obeying the first of us and denying the last of us is like denying the first of us. Beware! Verily, for my son there shall be an occultation during which all people shall fall into doubt except those whom Allah protects." 30

According to the traditions (some of which will be quoted in Part II), denying the transmitted teachings of Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) is equivalent to denying the Ahl al-Bait (PBUT). Thus, some of those who claim to believe in Imam al- Mahdi (PBUH) as the twelfth Imam during the time of occultation will oppose him after his reappearance because they used to oppose their teachings and follow their own inventions. Fudhail Ibn Yasar narrated:

I heard Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) saying, "When our Qa'im (PBUH) rises he will face the ignorance of people more severe than what the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) faced during the days of al-Jahiliyya." I asked, "Why should it be so?" The Imam replied, "The Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) came to people who were worshipping the stones and the carved wood.

However, our Qa'im (PBUH) shall come to people all of whom will interpret the Book of Allah against his interpretation, and will argue with him by means of that. By Allah, al-Qa'im shall cause his justice to enter within their houses, just as the heat and the cold enter them." 31

During the period of occultation, people gradually leave the traditions of Ahl al- Bait (PBUT), interpret the Quran according to their own opinion, and prefer the words of fallibles to the words of infallibles. Consequently, many religious instructions will be forgotten as if they had never been a part of the religion.

On the other hand, they will consider many man-made ideas as if they really have been a part of the religion. When Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) comes, he will fight all the innovations and will restore the true religion. For this reason, at the beginning of his mission, many people will think he has brought a new religion. Muhammad Ibn Ijlan narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "When our Qa'im rises he shall call people anew to Islam and shall guide them to the things that were eliminated and from which people had turned away.

He is called Mahdi because he will guide people to the thing from which they have been separated. He is called al-Qa'im because of his rise for (establishing) the truth." 32 Thus, the opposition to Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will not be due to people's failure in identifying him, but rather due to their disbelief in the original laws of the religion, their overlooking of the transmitted traditions, and their following man-made ideas and opinions in the domain of religion.

Notes:

24. al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p. 200, Hadith 17; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 139, Hadith 49.

25. al-Amali, al-Tusi, p. 412, Hadith 926; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 189, Hadith 17.

26. Kamal al-Din, p. 336, Hadith 8; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 51, Hadith 25; vol. 52, p. 149, Hadith 76 (a similar narration from Abu Basir).

27. Tafsir, al-Ayyashi, vol. 1, p. 384; Tafsir, Ali Ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi, vol. 1, p. 221; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 6, p. 34, Hadith 46.

28. Kamal al-Din, p. 378, Hadith 3; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 30, Hadith 4.

29. al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 336, Hadith 3; p. 338, Hadith 11; Kamal al-Din, p. 347, Hadith 35; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 281, Hadith 9.

30. Kamal al-Din, p. 409, Hadith 8; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 160, Hadith 6

31. al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p. 296, Hadith 1.

32. al-Irshad, vol. 2, p. 383; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 30, Hadith 7.

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

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