وَيَقُولُونَ لَوْلَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْهِ آيَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا الْغَيْبُ لِلَّهِ فَانْتَظِرُوا إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الْمُنْتَظِرِينَ
“Say: The unseen is only for Allah; therefore wait – surely I too, with you am of those who wait.” (20:Surah Yunus 10)
Almost twelve centuries have now passed from the sorrowful occultation of the Imam of the age (a.t.f.s.). Undoubtedly, this prolonged period shall continue until his advent. As certified by Imam Ridha (a.s.), the story of reappearance is like the story of the Day of Judgement since nobody save Allah is aware of its timing.1
Besides, it’s an onerous affair for the inhabitants of the earth and heavens that would not occur but all at once. Thus, inquiring into the timing of Imam’s advent is a futile task while awaiting his advent is our duty. Imam Javad (a.s.) says:
“Verily, the Qaem from us is the very Mahdi; that which is obligatory during his occultation is to await his coming and during his advent to obey his commands.”2
Awaiting (Entezar) means to have hope and expectation by heart of Imam’s advent, which springs from recognition and faith in his advent. Such an act carries numerous spiritual rewards and values.3 Like other forms of worship, awaiting (Entezar) enjoys practical qualitative dimensions such that our divine leaders have laid great emphasis and reckoned its observance as a duty and responsibility for the people during the period of occultation.
The writings that you have at hand are a selection of those very divine duties and responsibilities, which we have compiled for recalling and reminding ourselves about them. Of course, numerous scholars and researchers have expressed this matter very beautifully and eloquently, thus leaving behind invaluable effects to their credit.
We hope every one of us ponders upon the duties that we have before the Imam of the age (a.s.) and by acting upon them we attract his holy grace and favour and have a share, though a little, in preparing the ground for Imam’s advent.
Ali Akbar Thalafi,
28 Jamadi al-Thani 1417