Thursday, March 31, 2011



By Sayyid Muhammad
1.To obtain knowledge about the special characteristics of Imam (a.s.) and to have information about the 'certain' signs of his reappearance.

This is obligatory according to texts (Quran and Hadith), and reason

Rational Proof: Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) is a guide and a leader whose obedience is compulsory and it is necessary to recognize correctly one whose obedience is compulsory. So that if someone lays a false claim to be that leader, he can be exposed at once and we shall not be misguided by his false propaganda. Thus the Marefat of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) is wajib and it is also wajib to learn about his special characteristics so that if a false claimant of Mahdaviyat appears we can, at once, realize his falsehood.

Textual Proof: Shaykh Sadooq (r.a.) has recorded a tradition of Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) that he said,

"One who doubts about four things has denied everything revealed by Allah. One of these being the Marefat of the Imam of age."

In addition to the above there are dozens of traditions that emphasize the necessity of having the Marefat of one's Imam (a.s.), because if one is unaware of his lineage and descent etc, there is a great risk of misunderstanding. Also if the actual characteristics and qualities of the Imam are not known how can one understand the scope of his Imamat? Therefore, knowledge of his lineage and personal qualities is very important.

2.To be respectful while mentioning him

A momin should always mention Imam (a.s.) with the best of the titles. For example, Hujjat, Qaem, Mahdi, Sahibul Amr and Sahibuz-Zaman etc. He should refrain from uttering his actual name, which is the name of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.): (M - H - M - D).

There are varying opinions among the scholars, as regards the pronouncing of the name of Imam (a.s.). Some have given unrestricted permission, some have prohibited it completely, some have allowed it except in Taqaiyya and some consider it Makrooh (detestable). Others maintain that the prohibition of uttering his name was restricted to the period of Lesser Occultation (Ghaibat-e-Sughra). In spite of myriad opinions the following are accepted facts:

(a) It is allowed to mention the name of Imam (a.s.) in books, in discussion connected with him. There is no doubt about it. The legality of this is proved from the practice of all past scholars and also the fact that none of them have ever objected to this practice.

(b) No one have even prohibited the mention of Imam (a.s.) by indication or cue. Like saying that the name of Imam (a.s.) is the same as the name of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) narrated by the Shia as well as Sunni scholars through various chains of narrators says,

"Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is my name and his Kunniyat is my Kunniyat (agnomen)."

(b)In the same way the mention of his name in supplications and salutations (Ziarat) is apparently permitted because it does not resemble the conditions mentioned in the traditions.

Thus, precaution demands that we avoid mentioning the real name of Imam (a.s.) in assemblies and gatherings and refer to him only by his well-known titles. However, we should only use the titles that are mentioned in the traditions so that we do not contravene the rules of Islam.

Secondly, the hadith prohibiting mention by name does not include other, not so famous names, i.e. Ahmad etc.

3. Loving Him

The necessary condition for the performance of this duty is that we fulfill all that which is the requirement for loving him.

We all know that loving the Ahle Bayt (a.s.) is obligatory. Affection for them is a part of our faith and a conditions for acceptance of our deeds. Many traditions have been recorded for this, but there is special emphasis for the love of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.).

(a) Rational Proof: Human nature is designed in such a way that the love for those who care for us goes deep into our hearts. As mentioned in a hadith: The Almighty Allah revealed upon Moosa (a.s.): 'Make Me loved among My creatures and make My creatures eligible for My love.' Moosa (a.s.) asked Allah how it was possible? He said, 'Invite their attention towards My bounties, gifts, kindness and mercy, so that they begin to love Me.'

A similar tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported about Hazrat Dawood (a.s.).

(b) Textual Proof: Sayyid Muhaddith Bahrani has reported a tradition through Numani that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, "The Almighty Allah revealed on me on the night of Me'raj (ascension): 'O Muhammad! If one of My slaves worships Me so much that he dies in it, but denies the Wilayat of your (Ahle Bayt), I would put him in Hell.' Then He said, 'O Muhammad! Do you want to see your successors whose Wilayat is obligatory upon the people?' 'Yes', I said and I was ordered to stand up. As soon as I moved forward I saw Ali Ibne Abi Talib, Hasan, Husain, Ali Ibne Husain, Muhammad Ibne Ali, Ja'far Ibne Muhammad, Moosa Ibne Ja'far, Ali Ibne Moosa, Muhammad Ibne Ali, Ali Ibne Muhammad, Hasan Ibne Ali and Hujjat-e-Qaem (a.s.). Whose countenance was more brilliant among them. I asked Allah who they were? The Almighty said: These are the Imams (a.s.) and this is Qaem (a.s.), He would make My halaal as halaal and My haraam as haraam. He shall take revenge from My enemies. O Muhammad! You love him because I love those who love him.'"

This tradition lays special emphasis on the love of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) even though love of all Imams (a.s.) is Wajib on the people. The special mention (nass) of his love indicates its significance. This is because of his special responsibilities vis-à-vis that of other Imams (a.s.).

4. Making him Popular among the People

The arguments that were applicable for the previous duty are also applicable here. Reason dictates that we propagate the love of one whose love is wajib and it is the best of deeds. This would be liked by Allah most.

That is why the Almighty Allah said to Moosa: Make Me loved among My creatures. This clearly proves this fourth duty. There is a tradition in Rawdatul Kafi from Imam Sadiq (a.s.): "May Allah have mercy upon the one who makes us loved among the people and does not do anything that would make people inimical to us and hate us. By Allah! If they had conveyed our meaningful sayings verbatim to the people they would have created love and affection in their hearts. And no one could have put any sort of tag on them." But the fact is that a person hears one thing and adds ten more from his own side.

(Rawdatul Kafi Vol. 8 Pg. 229, H. no. 293)

On another occasion Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said, "May Allah have mercy on one who turns the love and affection of the people towards us and he speaks about those whom they know. And he leaves those who deny.

(Majalis of Sadooq Pg. 61)

5.Awaiting his Reappearance

Our discussion on the duty for awaiting for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) consists of a number of arguments and for each argument there are numerous supporting traditions. However, keeping in mind the factor of brevity we have quoted only one of these for each argument.

Issue No. 1: The virtue of awaiting is evident from the traditions of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and the Holy Imams (a.s.). An example of this is the praise for awaiters in the words of Imam Sajjad (a.s.) in his supplication on the day of Arafah.

There is a tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in Kamaluddin: "One of you who dies awaiting for Imam Mahdi (a.s.) dies as if he was with him in his tent."

(Kamaluddin of Shaykh Sadooq Chapter 55, Tradition no. 1)

Issue No. 2: Awaiting for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is obligatory for all: A tradition of Al-Kafi is sufficient to prove this point. Imam (a.s.) said to a person who came to him with a piece of paper, "This is letter of a debater who has posed a question to the correct faith."

The newcomer said, "May Allah have mercy on you, you guessed correctly." Imam (a.s.) said, "Confess to the creed that there is no diety except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger. And testify to the veracity of all that is revealed by Allah. Imbibe the Wilayat of our household, have enmity towards our enemies, submit to our command, cultivate piety and humility and await for our Qaem. There is a great kingdom in our fate. When Allah wills He will establish it."

(Usool al-Kafi Vol. 2 Pg 22)

Issue 3: The Real Meaning of Intezar:

Awaiting is a psychological condition of the person who is waiting for someone. The opposite of Intezar is usually expressed as despair etc. Thus the more hopeful you are for the arrival of a particular person, the more particular you shall be in making arrangements to receive him. And as the time of his arrival nears, you become more expectant and eager for him. So much so, that one ultimately starts spending sleepless nights.

The more a person is attached to the one whom he is expecting, the more severe and painful his wait shall be. Therefore those who are waiting for their Imam (a.s.) their waiting is proportionate to their love for him.

Issue 4: Is the intention of seeking Allah's nearness a necessary condition for Intezar?

The reply to this question is based on two arguments.

First argument: Divine commands are of three types:

1.Acts of worship where we know that intention of seeking Allah's proximity is necessary, e.g. Prayers.

2.The action which is not a direct act of worship. Like the cleaning of ones dress from Najasat (impurity). Here our intention is just to complete a particular job.

3.Some acts about whom it is not known whether they are to be included in worship acts for Allah.

In the first two types the command is crystal clear and as for the last type if a person performs that particular act with the intention of seeking Allah's nearness he would be rewarded for it and if he performs it without the said intention he will not qualify for any rewards. However, he shall not be liable for any punishment either.

Second Argument: To follow any command with the intention of Allah's obedience, whatever may be the cause. That is, for the love of Allah, for thanking Allah, for obtaining His nearness, desire for divine rewards, fear of divine chastisement.

From the above, we conclude that the Intezar we are commanded to practise is near to the third category. That is we can obtain divine rewards for acting upon it only if we have the intention for seeking Allah's nearness.

Issue 5: Intezar is the opposite of despair or hopelessness. Hopelessness is of two types:

1. To be absolutely hopeless of the reappearance of Hazrat Qaem (a.s.) is definitely haraam. The belief in the reappearance of Imam (a.s.) is a necessity of Shia Imamiya faith. To despair of Imam Mahdi's (a.s.) reappearance is to deny the Prophethood of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

1.Suppose on the basis of ones personal opinion or conjecture one has lost all hopes that reappearance will occur within fifty years. This hopelessness is also haraam, because a study of traditions shows that we are supposed to await for the reappearance of Imam (a.s.) day and night.

2.To lose hope that the time of reappearance and advent of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is near. This type of hopelessness is also haraam. It is haraam because the time of reappearance is kept confidential so that believers expect it every moment. Any kind of hopelessness is not compatible with Intezar (awaiting).

6. Expressing an eagerness to see him

This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Imam's (a.s.) followers. There is no doubt regarding its praiseworthiness and preference. Numerous traditions and supplications mention this quality. How beautifully it is expressed in a couplet:

The heart burns and tears flow in the eagerness to see you. The desire to see is burning us and the tears of separation are going to drown us.

Have you ever seen a drowning man in flames?

An ardent desire to see Imam (a.s.) is a meritorious deed because it is one of the necessary requirements of love and friendship. How can there be love when we are not eager to see our beloved?

7. Relating the Praiseworthy Qualities of Imam (a.s.)

To remember Imam (a.s.) through the mention of his Fazael (special qualities). Proof for this is based on the general traditions that recommend the narration of the Fazael of other Purified Imams (a.s.).

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have remarked, "It is the duty of a group of heavenly angels to look at two or three people who are discussing the fazael of Aale Muhammad (a.s.). One of the angels says, 'Look at them! In spite of the fact that they are so few in number and in spite of having so many enemies they are still discussing the fazael of Aale Muhammad (a.s.).' The other group of angels says,

"That is Allah's grace, He grants it to whom He pleases, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace." (Surah Juma 62:4)

(Rawdatul Kafi Vol. 8 Pg. 334)

8. Grief of a Believer due to Imam's Separation

One of the duties of a believer is to be sorrowful in the separation of Imam (a.s.). It is a sign of ones attachment to Imam (a.s.). In the poetic collection of Imam (a.s.) the following couplets are mentioned on the subject of 'true friendship':

One of its signs is that it makes one seem like a sick person due to the eagerness to meet his beloved. One of its signs is that he is so much attached to his beloved that he dreads anything that will make him busy (in other things).

One of its proof is that he laughs among the people in such a way that his heart is full of grief like a mother who has lost her grown up son.

This is one of the signs of the believers. In fact it is one of the most praiseworthy quality and numerous ahadith emphasize its significance. Here we quote one of such sayings narrated from Imam Reza (a.s.). He says, "How devastated would be the believing women and men when the Imam will be hidden from them?"


9. To be Present in Assemblies where the Fazael and Manaqeb of Imam (a.s.) are Discussed

Another important duty of a believer is to participate in gatherings specially associated with Imam (a.s.) or where people discuss matters connected to Imam (a.s.). In addition of being a necessary sign of love it is also the implication of Allah's words: 'March towards good deeds'. A tradition of Imam Reza (a.s.) also confirms this, "One who sits in an assembly where our affair is being enlivened (our fazael are discussed), his heart will not die on the day the hearts of people die (Qiyamat)."

(Beharul Anwar Vol. 44 H. No. 1)

10. To organize gatherings where the Fazael of Imam (a.s.) shall be discussed

The next important duty is to organize programmes where the fazael of Imam (a.s.) are narrated. Where people will pray for Imam (a.s.). Even if one has to work very hard to organize such gatherings it is highly recommended, because it is the propagation of the religion of Allah, it is the promotion of the word of Allah, it is a help in goodness in piety and it is a help to the signs of Allah and the friends of Allah. Although all the previously quoted traditions prove this duty yet we shall quote a hadith of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) on this juncture, "Meet each other because it enlivens your hearts and causes the remembrance of our affair (Wilayat), and our traditions will promote love amongst you. That if you take them you are successful and achieve salvation and if you leave them you shall be misguided and fall into perdition. Act on these traditions and I guarantee your salvation."

11-12. Composing and Reciting poems in Imam's Praise

One of the duties of Shias in Ghaibat is to compose poetry or couplets in praise of Imam (a.s.) and recite these poems etc. These two activities are ways to help Imam (a.s.). A tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is recorded in the chapter of Almegar in the book Wasaelush Shia. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, "Allah makes a house in Paradise for one who composes a couplet about us."

(Wasaelush Shia Vol. 10 Pg. 467)

13. To Stand up with Respect at the Mention of Imam's name

Whenever one utters the name or title of Imam (a.s.) one should stand up in respect, as had been the practice of the Twelver Shias. The textual proof can be cited from the report regarding Imam Sadiq (a.s.) as quoted in the book Najmus Saaqib. The report says that one day the name of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) was mentioned in assembly of Imam Sadiq (a.s.). When the name was uttered, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) stood up in respect.

(Beharul Anwar Vol. 44 Pg. 278)

That standing up in respect is recommended (Mustahab) is proved from this above tradition, but there are some occasions when it is obligatory to do so. For example, when the name of Imam (a.s.) is uttered and all the people stand up. Anyone who continues to sit without any valid excuse has disrespected Imam (a.s.). And there is no doubt that disrespect towards Imam (a.s.) is haraam.

14-15-16. Due to the sorrow of Imam's separation one should weep, make others weep and make a sorrowful expression

It is the duty of every momin to weep in the separation of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) and help others in weeping for the same. We must mourn the difficulties that befall Imam (a.s.). It is a duty of the Shias in Occultation of Imam (a.s.). Imam Reza (a.s.) said, "One who remembers our calamities and weep on them or makes others weep, on the day of Judgement he shall be with us in our category. One who is reminded of our sorrows and weeps or makes other people weep, his eyes shall not weep on the day (Qiyamat) when all the eyes shall be weeping."

(Muntakhabul Athar)

In the same book Imam Sadiq (a.s.) is quoted, "One who remembers us or our mention is made before him and a tear equal to a mosquitoe's wing appears in his eyes, the Almighty Allah forgives his sins even if they are equal to the foam of the sea." (Beharul Anwar Vol. 44 Pg. 248)

17.To Pray to Allah that He bestows us with the Marefat (Recognition) of Imam (a.s.)

One of the responsibilities during Ghaibat is that we regularly supplicate Allah to grant us the correct Marefat of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.). This is because gaining knowledge is not restricted to writing and reading. Ilm (knowledge) is a light and to whomsoever He desires he inculcates his heart with it. He guides whomsoever he wishes. Only those guided by Allah are actually guided.

Abu Baseer says that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) explained the ayat: "And those who are bestowed wisdom they indeed are bestowed with exceeding goodness" - '(Wisdom) Means the obedience of Allah and (exceeding goodness means) Marefat of Imam (a.s.)'

(Al-Kafi Vol. 1 Pg. 185)

18. Always Pray for Imam (a.s.)

To pray for the well being of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) is an important duty of the Shia Ithna Asharis. Various traditions have been recorded emphasizing this duty. The great scholar Shaykh Kulaini in Al-Kafi, Numani in his book Ghaibat and Shaykh Tusi in Ghaibat state that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, 'This youth will have Ghaibat before the advent of Qiyamat." "Why?" asked the narrator.

"For the fear of his life", replied the Imam (a.s.) pointing towards his belly. Then said, "O Zurarah! He is the awaited one (Muntazar), one whose birth will be doubted. Some will even say that his father departed from the world without leaving any heir. Others will say that he was not yet born when his father expired. Some will say that he was born two years prior to the martyrdom of his father. He is that same Awaited one. But the Almighty shall test the Shias. Immediately after this begins the period of doubts of the deviated people. O Zurarah! If you are alive in such a time, recite the following Dua.

Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem

Allaahumma a'rrefni nafsaka fa innaka illam to-a'rrefni nafsaka lam a'-ref nabiyyeka. Allaahumma a'rrefni rasoolaka fa innaka illam to-a'rrefni rasoolka lam a'-ref hujjataka. Allaahumma a'rrefni hujjataka fa innaka illam to-a'rrefni hujjataka zallalto a'n deeni.

Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.

Translation: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. O Allah! Grant me Your recognition, for if I do not recognize You I will not recognize your Messenger. O Allah grant me the recognition of Your Prophet. For if I do not recognize Your Messenger, I will not recognize Your Hujjat (Proof). O Allah! Grant me the recognition of Your Hujjat. For if I don't recognize Your Hujjat I will deviate from my religion. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad.

19. Steadfastness in Praying for Imam (a.s.)

We have been commanded to recite this Dua regularly. Shayikh Sadooq narrates from Abdullah bin Sinan who says that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said, "After this a time of such doubt will befall you that you will be without the visible signs and a guiding Imam. And no one shall be able to achieve salvation from this except those who recite

"Dua-e-Ghareeq." (Supplication of the drowning man).

The narrator asked what this Dua was? Imam (a.s.) replied,

Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem

Yaa Allaaho yaa rahmaano yaa raheem yaa muqallebal quloob thabbit a'laa deenek.

Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

O Allah! O Beneficent! O Merciful.O One who changes the hearts (of people) Give me steadfastness upon Your religion.

O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad.

After repeating 'Muqallebal Quloob' the narrator added the word, 'Wal absaar' (and the vision). When Imam (a.s.) heard this, he said, "Indeed Allah is the One Who changes the hearts and vision, but you recite the Dua as I have said."

(Kamaluddin Vol. 2 Pg. 351)

20. Reciting Supplications During the Period of Ghaibat

It is a dua mentioned by Sayyid Ibne Tawoos in Muhajjud Dawaat and it is to be recited during the occultation of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). The narrator asked Imam (a.s.) what the Shias are supposed to do in the Ghaibat of Imam (a.s.)?

Imam (a.s.) replied, "In addition to reciting duas you must await for the reappearance." "What should we pray?" asked the narrator. Imam (a.s.) replied:

Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem

Allaahumma anta a'rraftani nafsaka wa a'rraftani rasoolaka wa a'rraftani malaaekataa wa a'rraftani nabiyyaka wa a'rraftani walayata amreka: Allaahumma laa aakhezo illa maa a'ataita wa laa awqaa illa maa waqaita allaahumma laa tagheetani a'n manazela awliyaka wa la tozegh qalbi ba'da iz hadaitani Allaahumma ehdeni le wilayateh man faraza taa-atahu.

Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

O Allah! You have bestowed Your recognition (Marefat) to me and bestowed the recognition of Your Messenger, and the angels and made me recognize Your Prophet and made me recognize the guardians of Your affair. O Allah! I will not take anything except that You bestow. And except for You I have no protector. O Allah! Do not distance me from the grades of Your friends and do not neglect me from the grades of Your friends and do not neglect my heart after having guided it. O Allah. Guide me towards the Wilayat of one who obedience is made incumbent on me.

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