Faq on Imam Mahdi (a.s)

Frequently Asked Questions Q.1. Why is Imam Mahdi (a.s.) in occultation (Ghaibat) for such a long time? Why has Allah not sent Ima...


Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1. Why is Imam Mahdi (a.s.) in occultation (Ghaibat) for such a long time?

Why has Allah not sent Imam after Imam so that they could have stayed among the people and benefit them with their existence. ?

Ans. Keeping this vital aspect in mind that Imamat and Nabuwat are related to Allah, it is unto Him to decide how many Imams and Nabi should come, we should unquestionably accept. Questions will never cease. For example, people may ask as to why Allah had appointed 124,000 prophets? And if Allah had appointed 248,000 (twice the numbers), than to the same question of numbers would have been asked i.e. why not less or why not more..? Anyhow the main topic of discussion over here is not the numbers of prophets but the long period of occultation (Ghaibat) of Imam-e-Zamana destined by Allah. The answer to this question is that Allah wanted to test the people. There are plenty of Traditions (Ahadith) to support this. The phenomenon of occultation is not only related to Imam Mahdi (a.s.) but it was also faced by some previous prophet's and Imam's. The only difference being that their period of occultation was shorter than of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). For instance Hazrat Musa (a.s.) was sent in occultation, for ten days, when he was called by Allah to the mount of Toor for thirty days. The occultation was prolonged by Allah for 40 days instead of 30 days. During those 10 days Samari, the magician introduced the concept of Cow worship and told to the people that Hazrat Musa (a.s.) will not come back. Some people believed in him and started worshipping that cow. It was a test for the people of Hazrat Musa (a.s.). Imam Jafar Sadiq(a.s.) stayed in Madina. And the people of Makka, Iraq, Syria, etc. were aware of existence of Imam and were believing in him although they had not seen him. Similarly, the people know that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) has a son and he is in occultation, the duty of the people is to wait for him. Holy prophet (s.a.w) says,"To wait for him is the best of deeds (Amal) of my Nation." Here lies the actual test of the people, the people should believe in him and do their responsibility as if he is present in their own cities.


Q2 Is the belief of Imam-e-Zamana only limited to the Shia sects in Islam..?

Ans. The answer to this question can be divided in two sections.
1st) Belief in Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) by the Shias. i.e. Imam-e- Zamana is the only Son of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.).
2nd) Belief in Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) by the other sects of Islam i.e. The Concept of Mahadaviyat.

The first concept is believed only by the Shias, that Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear. His name, personality and appearance is mentioned so that people will not be misguided by some pseudo Mahdis. Also it has mentioned that he is from the generation of Imam Ali, Imam Husain, Imam Sajjad, Imam Baqir (pb.u.t) ... Because of these valuable traditions Shias believe that Mahdi (a.s.) is the son of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.). And from the traditions it is very clear that he is alive and is living on this earth among the people. People can see him but fail to recognize him. Further reference on this is provided in the book "Muntakhebul Athar" by Ayatullah Gulpaigani".
The second concept is that Mahdaviyat is widely recognized by all sects of Islam, it is said that some one from the progeny of Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) will come in near future and he will fill the earth with justice. Many noted Sunni scholars have also mentioned this concept in their respective books.


Q3. It is said that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear when the earth will be full of injustice & tyranny. So, should we start doing injustice & oppression so that earth will be full of injustice and Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear soon.By doing such acts are we not helping Imam and preparing a ground for his early reappearance...?

Ans. One of the famous Hadith of our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) pertaining to Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is this that "He will fill the earth with peace and Justice as it was full of injustice and tyranny." The Hadith on its path is correct, but we should not think that injustice and tyranny on this earth is the only criteria for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi. The Hadith in fact also does not mean that we should stop doing good deeds and stop propagating Islam so that the world will be full of injustice and he will reappear
No..! This is an erroneous thinking. Another Hadith mentions that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear when he will have 313 real followers. As it is mentioned in one hadith that during his occultation we train our selves and the people to be his real awaiters, we should preach Amr bil Maroof and Nahi az Munkar, so that the people will be ready to accept him or atleast know him. By doing these actions we should prepare a ground for his welcome at the time of his reappearance.


Q4. What is the reasoning and philosophy behind the occultation..?

Ans. The same question was asked to one of our Imams. The reply given was "Don't ask such questions, if the answer will be clear for you, you will be unhappy." Further it was said "Do your duties and don't ask about occultation."

In connection to this reply the Imam had also narrated the story of Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) and Hazrat Musa (a.s.) Once Hazrat Musa and Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) were together. The condition put by Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) to Hazrat Musa (a.s.) to accompany him was that he will not ask any reason for his actions. Hazrat Musa (a.s.) agreed. When they were near a river Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) made a small hole in the nearby boat. Hazrat Musa (a.s.) objected as to why had he made a hole in boat of some poor fisherman? Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) reminded him about the agreement (to not question him). As they passed another place Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) killed one child. Hazrat Musa again objected. He got the same answer from Hazrat Khizr (a.s.). Finally they reached to a village where people where very rude and harsh. Nobody asked them for water and food. Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) saw that one old wall of a house is about to collapse. He said to Hazrat Musa (a.s.)" Let us construct this wall" After construction, Hazrat Musa (a.s.) asked him the reason of all the three actions. Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) explained him. "I made a hole in the boat of the fisherman, because next day one tyrant king is going to pass from this river and to cross the river he will capture this poor fisherman's boat. The boat with the hole will be useless for the tyrant king whereas this fisherman will repair the boat and will continue his livelihood. I killed a child, because the parent of this child are very pious people and this child will be kafir when he will grows up and he will make their life miserable. I constructed a wall because there is treasure buried under this wall and it belongs to two orphan children. And if the wall collapses now, this treasure will be visible to the people and they will usurp it. Now the wall is constructed and when these orphan children grow up they will find it. Our agreement was that you will not question me for my actions but you could control it and could not keep your word, so although I explained you the reasons it is the time for us to part."And finally they parted.

Now lets take a look at the above mentioned Hadith of Imam (a.s.) that "Don't ask such questions, if the answer will be clear for you, you will be unhappy." Hazrat Musa (a.s.) insisted on questioning. Finally Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) answered him but Hazrat Musa had to leave the delighted company of Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) The reason of the occultation of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will be known after his reappearance. But the Imams put a light on the philosophy of occultation giving few explanations. One of the reason is "examination" of mankind during the occultation so that they will be purified. Occultation will be so long that the people will be tested for their stead fastness, patience, belief etc. Only the purified people will stay firm on the belief of reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) Another vital aspect of this as explained by Imam is that, there was the fear of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) being killed, Allah ordered his occultation. It is also necessary that the Hujjat of Allah should exist in the earth even though being seen by the people but cannot be recognized by them.


Q5. What is the benefit of Imam during (Ghaibat) Occultation? How can a hidden Imam benefit the people ?

Ans. For the answer, we can reverse the question to our selves. If Imam (a.s.) would have been present and we would have direct access to him, what we would do.?
We would get the answer to our questions, we could have explained him our problems, We would get solutions for all sort of questions, such as religious question, day to day life questions, personal question etc. Secondly we can sought refuge from calamities. These are some things which are easy when we have direct access to Imam (a.s.). But during Ghaibat (Occultation) these facilities are not available. But Imam (a.s.) is doing his duties through Ulemas and Fuqhas, indirectly. Regarding solving the problems and helping the people and providing shelter during turmoil, in his letter to Shaikh Mufid he said, " Surely we are not negligent of your affairs, and we are not forgetful of your remembrance. Had it not been so the calamities would have prevailed upon you, hence remember Allah and fear Him alone." Just ponder on the sentence of Imam (a.s.). How he is performing his duties and we should see ourselves as to what we are doing for him. Many people have visited Imam and got their salutation from him directly.
Shaikh Abbas Qummi, compiler of Mafati, wrote a book 'Najmus Saqib' in which he has narrated many incidents of people who have has the honor of meeting Imam (a.s.). Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) was asked " How will the people benefit from the hidden proof (Hujjat) in the occultation?" He replied "They will derive benefit in the same manner as they drive benefit when the sun is behind the clouds."


Q6. What are our duties during occultation? What should we do to make him satisfied.?

Ans. We can divide the answer in three parts.

1 To Await (Intezar)
2 To recite recommended supplications during the occultation (Dua)
3 Purifying the self (Taqwa.)

1. Awaiting:-
To await for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is highly recommended right from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) till Imam-e- Zaman (a.s.) himself. There are plenty of traditions to prove this. The Holy prophet (s.a.w.) said, "Best deed (Amal) of my nation is to wait for Faraj (Imam Mahdi (a.s.))." " One who await for reappearance and Faraj of Imam Mahdi. Is like the one who gives his blood in the way of Allah." If we refer the Islamic books under the title of Intezar Faraj we can find plenty of traditions about Intezar.

2. Recommended Duas during occultation:-
There are many Dua's recommended to be recited during the occultation, of which some of them are recommended by Imam himself, such as Ziyarate Ale Yasin, Dua-e-Istighasa, Dua-e-Nudbah, Ziyarat-e-Sardab etc.

3. Taqwa:-
In the traditions, it is said that during the occultation a person who waits for him should be pious. He should have firm belief in Allah, Prophet and Imams. He should refrain from sin and try to protect the religion and belief of the people. They should try to guide the people towards the right path so that the ground for his reappearance is ready. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) was sitting with some of his companion and suddenly he said
" Alas! I wish I could meet my brothers." Abu Bakr and Umar said, "Are we not your brothers ?, We believe in you and we migrated with you" The Holy Prophet replied,
"You are my companions. You accepted Islam and migrated with me but "Alas I wish I could meet my brothers..!" Again they asked the same question, Holy Prophet replied the same answer. Then they asked " O, Prophet who are those people? The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, "My brothers are those who are during the Akher-uz-zaman. They will believe in me although they have not seen me."


Q7. Many people claim that they have seen Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) Is it possible to meet Imam (a.s.) during his major occultation (Ghaibat-e-Kubra) ?

Ans. This is a very common question and asked very frequently. In the minor occultation (Ghaibat-e-Sughra), Imam (a.s.) had four Naeeb (deputies) These deputies use to visit Imam (a.s.) when they wanted to get solutions for the problems of the people. The last one Ali bin Mohommad Semiri received a letter six days before his death. Imam (a.s.) says in that . " In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. You are going to die six days after receiving this letter, may Allah grant patience to your brothers in faith on your departure. So be prepared, but appoint no one in your place, because from the day of your death the period of my Major Occultation (Ghaibat-e-Kubra) will begin. Hence forth no one will see me, unless and until Allah makes me appear. My reappearance will take place after a very long time when people will have grown tired of waiting and those who are weak in their faith will say, "What...! Is he alive...?" When men will become cruel and inconsiderate, and the world will be full of injustice and violence. Very soon some men will claim that they can meet me, Beware...! Any one who makes such a claim before the coming out of Sufyani and the sound from heaven announcing my reappearance, is a liar and an impostor. There is no might nor strength except in Allah, the Magnificent." (Ref. Al ghaiba.) In this letter, Imam (a.s.) has used the word 'Mushaida', which means two parties decide to meet each other. This means that nobody can claim that whenever he wants he can meet Imam, whereas if Imam wants he can give permission to someone to meet him. For example, no one can say that he has an appointment with Imam tomorrow 2' O' clock. The one who claims such things is a liar. It is possible that somebody who prays for him for forty years to see Imam but he can not see him because permission of Imam is required. On the other hand we have many examples such as of Ali bin Mahziyaar, Shaikh Hasan Iraqi, Muqqadas Ardabili, etc. who had the tawfiq to see and meet Imam. So the point is Imam has said that the one who claims that he can see me is a liar, but if he wants he can create a situation so that people visit him. Imam Mahdi (a.s.) said in one letter to Shaikh Mufid that " If the heart of our Shias had been united and had lived in unison our meeting with them would have not been delayed."


Q8. How can we believe that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is alive and living on this earth ?

Ans. This is a very common and famous question, which has being asked by many people. The first thing we must believe is his birth. We know from many traditions that his birth took place on 15th Shabaan 255 A.H. And many people saw him and congratulated Imam Hasan Askari (a.s). Till Ghaibat-e-Sughra he was easily accessible to all the people. During Ghaibat-e-Sughra people were benefited from him through his deputies who were appointed by Imam (a.s.) himself. From Ghaibat-e-Kubra till today we have seen many famous incidence where the people met him and were helped by him.

How can we come to know about the death of people. For e.g. if we had been to some place and there we meet some one. After couple of years we have a chance to visit the same place and if we see him again,we know he is alive. But if we don't see him we can not presume that he is dead. We can inquire about his whereabout to wich we may get the answer that he is dead or has migrated to some other place. Upon confirmation we can understand whether the same person is dead or alive.

Let us examine the incident of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). We know he was born on 15th of Shabaan and people saw him after his birth, people saw him during Ghaibat-e-Sughra & Kubra. But we don't have any news of his death. Still he is benefiting the people. So we must believe in his existence. Regarding his long life, God has created man but has not fixed the maximum number of years he can live, say 70,80 or 100. In the traditions it said that if some one socialises with his relatives and helps them his life increases, or by giving Sadaqa we can increase the life span, Similarly this is also told that if some one broke the relationship with relatives his life will be shorter or doing Zena (adultery) will shorten the life. Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) and Hazrat Isa (a.s.) are still alive. Shaitan the cursed is also alive. When Allah can grant such a long life to Shaitan, is it not easy for Allah to grant a long life to His last Hujjat....? And comparing to the age of Hazrat Khizr (a.s.)and Hazrat Esa (a.s.), our Imam's age is nothing.


Q9. What are the signs of Imam Mahdi's reappearance? How many of them have been fulfilled..?

Ans. There are many signs which have been described in the traditions. Some of them are :-
hike in prices of commodities
women will dress up like men
men will start wearing women's clothes
people will start preaching forbidden things and will stop people from doing good deeds

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) says to Salman that in the last time (Akheruz zaman,) to be on the right path and protecting ones own religion will be the same like holding a fire in your palm. In traditions such type of many signs are discussed so that when we see these things we should pray more for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

Many people asked the Imams and Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) as to when will Imam Mahdi (a.s.) reappear ? They replied that this is only in hand of Allah. In another traditions it is said that If Allah wants he will make grounds for his reappearnce in one night and Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear. In another tradition it is said nobody knows the exact time of his reappearance. Imam (a.s.) himself does not know the time. In many places he has said, "Pray for my reappearance, you will be benefited."

Conclusion

There are many signs discussed in the traditions. Most of them are fulfilled and some still remain. But the exact day and date of reappearance is known only to Allah. If He wants, Imam (a.s.) will reappear after fulfilling of all the signs or if He wants none of the signs will be fulfilled and Imam will reappear. Our duty is not to wait and see the signs but to pray for his reappearance, and to prepare the ground and dedicated and pious followers for him. (may Allah hasten his reappearance).


Q 10 It is been said that Imam Mahdi (a.s) visits the people and even comes during Hajj, If it so, than what is the meaning of Ghaibat (Occultation) ?

Ans. Meaning of Ghaibat is to be hidden. Imam is hidden from the eyes of the people, but the people are not hidden from his eyes. Ghaibat is for Imam (a.s.) and not for the people. It is mentioned in the traditions that Imam (a.s.) is coming to our markets, attends our Majleese and our gathering, but it is not said as to where he is staying
e.g. so and so building in a particular area. He sees the people. Even we can see him but we can not recognize him. In the words of Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.)
"People see him but they can not recognize him."




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