Ghayba (Occultation)

The Occultation ( غيبة‎ ghayba) in Shia Islam refers to a belief that the messianic figure, or Mahdi, who in Shi'i thought is an infallible male descendant of Prophet Muhammad, was born but disappeared, and will one day return and fill the world with justice and peace.


Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 2 weeks ago

Part of the responsibility of a leader is to know what is happening to his people. This is especially true for a divine leader (prophet, Imam). 

Not all human beings have the qualities necessary to be good leaders. Some people have the social, intellectual, and emotional capacity, foresight, initiative, wisdom, and planning and communication skills to be great leaders. Most people do not. But that is ok, because we only need a handful of great leaders. 

So, bearing this burden might be very difficult for the average person. However, the Imam is not an average person. Allah would not give the Imam this responsibility if he did not have the ability to bear it, as Allah says in the Qur'an that He does not burden with something beyond their capability. Because the Imam is at the highest level of spiritual perfection (as well as intellectual and emotional perfection), he has the capacity to handle many things that regular people cannot. Also, when people are truly at a high level of faith and have a deep and sincere connection with God, this enables them to bear things that other people cannot.

Still, of course, we should try our best to give the Imam a good report about our deeds and circumstances, and try to work as hard as we can to improve things around us!


1. Imam Al-Mahdi ( AS) during his major occultation meets , teaches, and helps people , but people do not recognize him during the meeting but very few of the very pious believers who have a high degree in faith and know him.

2. Pious believers never claim nor disclose meeting Imam Al-Mahdi (AS). Pious believers know that Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) must be away from the enemies, so they do not disclose any information about him.

3. Those who claim in public that they met Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) or brought a message from him, can never be trusted.

4. Hundreds of very pious Ulama and believers have met Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) in hundreds of occasions. Many books were compiled in this subject by great scholars like Al-Muhaddith al-Noori in his book Dar Assalam and others.

5. We pray in Du'a al-'Ahd دعاء العهد to be granted seeing the face of our Imam Al-Mahdi (AS): اللهم أرني الطلعة الرشيدة والغُرّة الحميدة واكحل ناظري بنظرة مني إليه.

This means that seeing him during the major occultation is possible for certain very pious persons.



Zeinab Donati, Zeinab Donati has been studying books about various Islamic subjects for more than 19 years. She is deeply interested in history and politics as well as social issues in particular those pertaining... Answer updated 10 months ago

Assalamu aleykum,

Thanks for your question.

There are many interesting and well-written books about Imam Mahdi (aj).

I recommend the following ones:

Al-Imam al-Mahdi, The Just Leader of Humanity

An Inquiry Concerning Al-Mahdi

The Promised Savior: An inquiry into the imamate of Imam Mahdi (as) from the viewpoint of Muslim thinkers

The Occultation of the Twelfth Imam (A Historical Background)

That is just one small portion of texts concerning Imam Mahdi (aj) that can be found at, there is a whole section dedicated to him (aj):

Hope this is helpful inshaAllah.


Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 10 months ago

Every community needs a perfect leadership to guide them to the right and avoid them from the wrong.

Allah The Glorious Has ordered people to follow the prophets then their successors. The last successor of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) is Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) who is at present under occultation by order of Allah (SWT) because of certain circumstances. Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) himself ordered the followers of Ahlul Bayt (AS) to follow during his occultation the most learned pious Ulama. (Wasaa'il al-Shia, Volume 27, Page 131.

Some persons misunderstand the meaning of Taqleed and ask about its validity . We invite them to think :

1. Is it possible for any Muslim to claim that Allah, The Most Glorious wants to leave the Ummah with out guide during the occultation of the Infallible Imam ?

2. Who is the best to guide the Ummah better than the most learned about the teachings of Ahlul Bayt (AS) with piousness?

3. Who can guide the Ummah to Islamic rules on new issues during the occultation better that the most learned and pious, who are the Maraaje' of Taqleed?

No community can remain protected from deviation if they do not follow a pious leadership and there is no leadership in the whole world more pious than our Maraaje' of Taqleed who have the maximum knowledge about Islam and highest level of piousness.



Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 11 months ago

​​​​​No. This claim is untrue.

All our scholars accepted every message from Imam Al-Mahdi ( AS) which came through authentic source like the four emissaries.