Another responsibility which the true believers must fulfill is to renew their pledge of allegiance to Imam al-Zaman (ajtf).
According to the narrations, it is best that this act is done after every obligatory Salat or at least once a day and if this is not possible, then at least once a week.
The meaning of pledging allegiance to the Imam is that the person obligates himself to help the Imam. While fulfilling this promise, one must not show any remorse or regret if one needs to help the Imam with his life or wealth.
One of the first times this sort of pledge was taken was during the speech of Ghadir when the Prophet commanded the entire nation to make a pledge of allegiance to all the infallible A`immah.
This pledge of allegiance is actually one of the necessary acts of true faith and in essence, a true believer will never have faith until he realizes and comprehends this pledge of allegiance and stays firm on it after making it.
The following conditions must be observed in this pledge of allegiance:
1. A person making the allegiance must have the intention in his heart to obey the Imam and must promise that he will help him. In addition, a person must not show remorse if he has to give up his life or wealth to maintain this pact.
2. The pledge of allegiance, intention to help the Imam and initiating this firm covenant must be done verbally.
Of course, when the advent of the Imam takes place and when his government is established, the pledge of allegiance for these two issues will be done physically with the Imam by a shaking of hands.
It should be noted that the realization of this pledge of allegiance in which a person will place his hand in the hand of the person whom he is pledging to is obligatory and this can only take place when the person whom the allegiance is being made to is one of the Infallibles or one of their directly appointed representatives. Thus, it is not permissible to make this kind of pledge to anyone else!
Obviously, during the period of occultation, the fulfillment of this form of allegiance in which a person places his hand in the hand of Imam al-Zaman (ajtf) or his specific representative is not possible since according to the traditions, the Imam is hidden from the view of the people and thus, this form of the responsibility is limited to the time when he makes his advent.
During the period of the occultation, no one has been designated by the Imam to accept the pledge of allegiance, thus this form of allegiance cannot be performed with any person and it is actually forbidden even if the person to whom the pledge is being made is a scholar.
In addition, even if the scholar was a Faqihi Jami’ al-Shara`it (Wali al-’Amr al-Muslimin), still it is not permissible to make such a pledge of allegiance to him.
Therefore, there is no proof of the permissibility of this form of pledge of allegiance during the time of the occultation. Rather, the traditions have actually forbidden this and we all know that in issues of the religion, such as this pact of allegiance, are all contingent upon what the religious commandments specify and the permissibility of these particular acts rest on the legislation of the Islamic laws.
Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) has said:
يَا مُفَضَّلُ! كُلُّ بَيْعَةٍ قَبْلَ ظُهُورِ الْقَائِمِ فَبَيْعَتُهُ كُفْرٌ وَ نِفَاقٌ وَ خَدِيعَةٌ لَعَنَ اللٌّهُ الْـمُبَايِعَ لَهَا وَ الْـمُبَايَعَ لَهُ
“O’Mufaďďal! Every pledge of allegiance that takes place before the advent of al-Qa`im (ajtf) is disbelief, hypocrisy and deception. May the curse of Allah be upon a person who makes such a pledge of allegiance and the one who accepts this pledge of allegiance?”1
Without doubt, the meaning of bay’ah in this tradition is the hand to hand bay’ah and not all forms of pledging allegiance since in other traditions, some forms of the bay’ah have not been completely forbidden. Therefore, during the period of the occultation, the bay’ah (pledging loyalty) which is done without giving one’s hand is not a problem and is actually one of the signs of true faith and has been emphasized.
According to the traditions, during the period of the occulation of Imam al-Zaman (ajtf), we are permitted to pledge our allegiance to the general representatives of the Imam. Thus, we can pledge ourselves to a scholar who fulfills the conditions of being followed especially the Wali al-Faqih who is the guardian of the Muslim community.
This bay’ah is done with the thought in mind that paying allegiance to him is due to the fact that he is a scholar who fulfills all of the conditions of being followed, is the Wali al-Faqih and that the pledge of allegiance to him is actually a pledge to Imam al-Zaman (ajtf), and the pledge of allegiance to the Imam is actually the pledge of allegiance to Allah.
There are many ways in which we can make the bay’ah to Imam al-Zaman (ajtf) as have been narrated by the infallible A`immah, one them is Du’a al-’Ahd.2
The scholars3 have stated that these supplications are recommended to be recited every day after Salatul Fajr. Rather, it should be recited after every obligatory Salat, if possible. In addition, due to there being some proof in the traditions, it is recommended that this pledge of allegiance should be repeated every Jumu’ah (Friday).
It has also been recommended rather it is essential that Du’a of ‘Ahd which has been narrated from Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Baqir (as) should be recited at least once during a person’s lifetime.
Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Baqir (as) has said: “Whosoever among our friends and followers reads this supplication once in their life, it will be written on the parchment of worship of Allah (that he recited this prayer) and his name will be mentioned in the book of al-Qa`im (may Allah hasten his glorious advent).
Then, when al-Qa`im (ajtf) makes his advent, the name of the person who read this supplication and his father’s name will be announced. In addition, the parchment which contains the names of the worshippers of Allah will be given to him and it will be said that: ‘Take this writing which contains the transcript of the promise which you made to us in the world.”
Imam Muhammad b. ‘Ali al-Baqir (as) then said: “This is the truth which Allah, the Noble and Grand stated when he said the following:
إِلاَّ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ عِنْدَ الرَّحْمٌنِ عَهْداً
“...except the one who has taken a covenant with the Most Merciful.”4
As well, while in a state of ritual purity, the following supplication should be recited:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيٖمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
أَللّٰهُمَّ يَا إِلٰهَ الآلِـهَةِ يَا وَاحِدُ يَا أَحَدُ يَا آخِرَ الآخِرِينَ يَا قَاهِرَ الْقَاهِرِينَ يَا عَلِيُّ يَا عَظِيمُ أَنْتَ الْعَلِيُّ الأَعْلى عَلَوْتَ فَوْقَ كُلِّ عُلُوٍّ. هٰـذَا يَا سَيِّدِي عَهْدِي وَ أَنْتَ مُنْجِزُ وَعْدِي
“O’ Allah: O’ the God of all gods! O’ the One! O’ the One and Only! O’ the Last of the last! O’ the most Omnipotent one over the powerful ones! O’ the High! O’the All great. You are verily the High, the Most High. You have been High over all zeniths. This is, O’ master, my pledge; and you shall certainly fulfill your promise to me.
فَصَلِّ يَا مَوْلاَيَ وَعْدِي وَ أَنْـجِزْ وَعْدِي آمَنْتُ بِكَ وَ أَسْأَلُكَ بِـحِجَابِكَ الْعَرَبِيِّ وَ بِـحِجَابِكَ الْعَجَمِيِّ وَ بِـحِجَابِكَ الْعِبْرَانِيِّ وَ بِـحِجَابِكَ الْسُرْيَانِيِّ وَ بِـحِجَابِكَ الرُّومِيِّ وَ بِـحِجَابِكَ الْـهِنْدِيِّ وَ أَثْبَتِ مَعْرِفَتِكَ بِالْعِنَايَةِ الأُوْلـىٰ فَإِنَّكَ أَنْتَ اللهُ لاَ تُرَىٰ وَ أَنْتَ بِالْـمَنْظَرِ الأَعْلىٰ
So, O’ my Master, (please do) admit my pledge and fulfill your promise to me. I believe in you and I pray to you in the Name of Your ‘Arab Veil, Your non-’Arab Veil, Your Hebrew Veil, Your Syriac Veil, Your Roman Veil, and Your Indian Veil. And I admit my recognition of You on account of the earlier care (of You over me), for You are verily Allah Who cannot be seen while You are in the most elevated view.
وَ أَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيْكَ بِرَسُولِكَ الْـمُنْذِرِ وَ بِعَلِيٍّ أَمِيرِ الْـمُؤْمِنِينَ صَلَوَاتُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ الْـهَادِي وَ بِالْـحَسَنِ السَّيِّدِ وَ بِالْـحُسَينِ الشَّهِيدِ سِبْطَي نَبِيِّكَ وَ بِفَاطِمَةَ الْبَتُولِ وَ بِعَلِيِّ بْنِ الْـحُسَينِ زَيْنِ الْعَابِدِينَ ذِي الثَّفِنَاتِ وَ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ الْبَاقِرِ عَنْ عِلْمِكَ وَ بِـجَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الصَّادِقِ الَّذِي صَدَقَ بِـمِيثَاقِكَ وَ بِـمِيعَادِكَ وَ بِـمُوسىٰ بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ الْـحَصُورِ الْقَائِمِ بِعَهْدِكَ وَ بِعَلِيِّ بْنِ مُوسىٰ الرِّضَا الرَّاضِيٖ بِـحُكْمِكَ وَ بِـمُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ الْـحَبْرِ الْفَاضِلِ الْـمُرْتَضىٰ فِي الْـمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ بِعَلِيِّ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الأَمِينِ الْـمُؤْتَـمَنِ هَادِيٖ الْـمُسْتَرْشِدِينَ وَ بِالْـحَسَنِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ الطَّاهِرِ الزَّكِيِّ خِزَانَةِ الْوَصِيِّينَ وَ أَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيْكَ بِالإِمَامِ الْقَائِمِ الْعَدْلِ الْـمُنْتَظَرِ الْـمَهْدِيِّ إِمَامِنَا وَ ابْنِ إِمَامِنَا صَلَوَاتُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
And I seek nearness to You through Your Messenger, the warner; and through ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, the guide, Allah’s blessings be upon him and through al-Hasan, the master, and al-Husayn, the martyr, the two grandsons of Your Prophet, and through Fatimah, the immaculate and through ‘Ali b. al-Husayn the Adornment of the Worshippers and the one with a callus on his forehead (due to incessant worshipping) and through Muhammad b. ‘Ali, who split (the profundities of) Your knowledge.
And through Ja’far b. Muhammad, the truthful who fulfilled his covenant and promise to you and through Musa b. Ja’far, the chaste one who undertook his oath to You and through ‘Ali b. Musa, the one who was pleased with Your judgement and through Muhammad b. ‘Ali, the well-versed and the virtuous who is accepted by the believers and through ‘Ali b. Muhammad, the honest, the trusted, and the guide of those who seek true guidance.
And through al-Hasan b. ‘Ali, the pure, the infallible, and the treasure of the successors. And I seek nearness to You through the Imam (of the age), the director of justice, the awaited, the well-guided, our leader and the son of our leader may Allah’s blessings be upon all of them.
يَا مَنْ جَلَّ فَعَظُمَ وَ هُوَ أَهْلُ ذٰلِكَ فَعَفَىٰ وَ رَحِمَ، يَا مَنْ قَدَرَ فَلَطُفَ، أَشْكُو إِلَيْكَ ضَعْفِي وَ مَا قَصُرَ عَنْهُ عَمَلِي مِنْ تَوْحِيدِكَ وَ كُنْهِ مَعْرِفَتِكَ وَ أَتَوَجَّهُ إِلَيْكَ بِالتَّسْمِيَةِ الْبَيْضَاءِ وَ بِالْوَحْدَانِيَّةِ الْكُبْرىٰ الَّتِي قَصُرَ عَنْهَا مَنْ أَدْبَرَ وَ تَوَلَّـىٰ وَ آمَنْتُ بِـحِجَابِكَ الأَعْظَمِ وَ بِكَلِمَاتِكَ التَّامَةِ الْعُلْيَا الَّتِي خَلَقْتَ مِنْهَا دَارَ الْبَلاَءِ وَ أَحْلَلْتَ مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ جَنَّةَ الْـمَأْوَىٰ آمَنْتُ بِالسَّابِقِينَ وَ الصِّدِّيقِينَ أَصْحَابِ الْيَمِينِ مِنَ الْـمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ الَّذِينَ خَلَـطُوا عَمَلاً صَالِحاً وَ آخَرَ سَيِّئاً أَلاَّ تُوَلِّيَنِي غَيْرَهُمْ وَ لاَ تُفَرِّقْ بَيْنِي وَ بَيْنَهُمْ غَدًّا إِذَا قَدَّمْتَ الرِّضَا بِفَصْلِ الْقَضَاءِ آمَنْتُ بِسِرِّهِمْ وَ عَلاَنِيَتِهِمْ وَ خَوَاتِيمِ أَعْمَالِـهِمْ فَإِنَّكَ تَـخْتِمُ عَلَيْهَا إِذَا شِئْتَ يَا مَنْ أَتْـحَفَنِي بِالإِقْرَارِ بِالْوَحْدَانِيَّةِ وَ حَبَانِي بِـمَعْرِفَةِ الرَّبُوبِيَّةِ وَ خَلَّصَنِي مِنَ الشَّكِّ وَ الْعَمَىٰ رَضِيْتُ بِكَ رَبًّا وَ بِالأَصْفِيَاءِ حُجَجًا وَ بِالْـمَحْجُوبِينَ أَنْبِيَاءَ وَ بِالرُّسُلِ أَدِلاَّءَ وَ بِالْـمُتَّقِينَ أُمَرَآءَ وَ سَامِعاً لَكَ مُطِيعاً
O’ He who is Most Elevated and Most Magnificent, and He is deserving of this and has thus pardoned and treated mercifully! O’ He Who ordains decrees with compassion: I complain before you about my weakness and about the inadequacy of my actions as regards to my confession of Your Oneness and the essence of my recognition of you.
And I turn my face towards you, (praying to You) by the white nomination and the great monotheism that have not been realized by those who fled and turned away from You. And I believe in your greatest veil and Your perfect, exalted words from which You have created the abode of trial and through which You shall allow him whom You wish to enter the abode of Paradise.
I believe in the “foremost” and the truthful, the companions of the right hand, among the believers and those who have mixed a righteous act with another evil one (for which they sought forgiveness): (I pray to You by all of these) that You do not allow me to follow anyone other than these ones (i.e. the Imams) and that You do not exclude me from their group tomorrow when You will stipulate (Your) pleasure as the criterion of Your judgement.
I believe in their secret and public teachings, and the sealing of their deeds, for you decide the sealing of anyone’s deeds if you will. O’ You Who have honoured me by the confession of Your Oneness, bestowed upon me with the recognition of Your Lordship, and deprived me of doubt and blind-heartedness: I admit You as my Lord, and admit the Pure Ones as the intermediaries to You, and admit the Veiled Ones as Prophets, and admit the Messengers as guides (to You), and admit the Pious Ones as leaders, and pledge myself as always listening to and obeying You.”