The confirmation of Mahdism of the twelfth Imam starts from this period as the last leader of the Muslims. Ever since the Shias came to know that the Imam’s appearance was not definite in the near future they took him to be their Mahdi.
We should correct him. He was the twelfth Imam known to all and acknowledged by all. It was not a condition that he should go into hiding in order to become Imam. For an Imam, disappearance or hiding is not a necessary condition. But that he was the Mahdi promised by the Prophet (S) was a thing not certain. Of course, it is a common thing to have an existence of doubt in the minds. Every issue in accordance with its magnitude is shaded by doubt or there are some whose business is to create doubts.
Therefore, this should not be denied that the short period of the Imam’s absence and the beginning of the long period have been covered by doubts. The scholars should pay heed in this respect to furnish the facts so as to obviate the doubts and present the subject in the minds in a clear picture.