Another responsibility is to prepare for the advent of the Imam and we must perform those actions which should be carried out during the period of awaiting the Imam.
It is clear that if a person is awaiting something to come about or waiting for a friend to arrive, one will prepare himself accordingly. Thus, one who is awaiting Imam al-Mahdi (ajtf) must prepare himself to meet the Imam and be ready to accept the Imam and follow his commands and this cannot be accomplished except through purification of the soul, guiding others and following the appropriate people (the scholars of the faith).
During this period, one must also strive to attain the praiseworthy ethical traits which cannot be achieved except through piety, reaching the level of wara’ (a stage even higher than taqwa in which even the mubah acts are not performed) and in striving to follow all of the commandments of Allah.1
Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) has said:
مَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الْقَائِمِ فَلْيَنْتَظِرْ وَ لْيَعْمَلْ بِالْوَرَعِ وَ مَحَاسِنَ الأَخْلاَقِ وَ هُوَ مُنْتَظِرٌ
“A person who would like to be among the companions of al-Qa`im (ajtf) should be in a state of waiting and perform all of his actions with piety and with the most beautiful etiquette and only then, will one be counted as being in a state of waiting.”2
- 1. Of course there are people who, in regards to this issue, do not possess the correct understanding and belief and thus have been misguided from the truth and have not considered that this preparation and purification of the soul and seeking guidance and enlightenment from others as being something necessary and some have actually outright denied this requirement!
- 2. al-Ghaybah of Nu’mani, pg. 200, no. 16