Philosophy Of Ghaybah 4/14 - Mission & Methodology of Liberation

A'uzubillahi minash shaytanir rajeem. Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil 'aalameen, Al-Hamdulillahil ladhee hadaanaa lihaadha wa maa kunna linahtadiya law laaa ann hadaana Allah, wassalaato wassalamo 'ala ashrafil anbiyai wal mursaleen, khaatimin nabiyeen, sayedinil mumajjad, basheerinil musaddaq, al-mustafal amjad mahmudil ahmad, abil Qasimi Muhammad [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

Wa 'ala ahli bayti at-tayyibeen at-tahireen al-ma'sumeen wa la'natullahi 'ala al-dhalimeen minal-awwaleena wal akhireen. Amma baad, faqad qal Allahu subhana wa ta'ala fi Kitabih il-Majeed wa Furqanih il-Hameed wa qawluh ul-haqq, Bismillahir Rahmanin Raheem, "Wa lammaa jaaa'ahum Kitaabum min 'indil laahi musaddiqul limaa ma'ahum, wa kaanoo min qablu yastaftihoona 'alal ladheena kafaroo falammaa jaaa'ahum maa 'arafu kafaru bih; fala 'natul laahi 'alal kaafireen"(2:89). Aamanallah billah. Sadaqa Allahu al-Ali ul-Adheem. Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa 'ala aali Muhammad - [Allahumma Salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

Awaited saviour of humanity, Imam Al-Mahdalayhi assalam, my respected teachers, elders, brothers and sisters, salam 'alaikum jamee'un wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Our discussion is the series looking at the philosophy of the ghayba of the Awaited Saviour of humanity, the master and Lord of our age, Imam Al-Mahdi, ajjarallahu ta'ala farajahush shareef [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

Our discussions up to now have been focused around this primary verse from Suratul Baqarah, verse number eighty nine, in which Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala gives us the example of the Jews of Medina and the way in which they rejected the Holy Prophet of Islam Rasul Allah Muhammad, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says 'maa 'arafoo kafaroo bih', - and their rejection was based on not having true ma'rifa of their Prophet and so they rejected and belied him.

And so our course and discourse is Inshallah to have a greater ma'rifa of the Imam of our time and to spend time in understanding who he is, his personality, his mission and methodology. And so, in the previous nights, we have tried to understand and discussed the beginning reasons for the ghayba, and we looked at the theology of the ghayba and said that the reasons for the ghayba, according to our narrations, is fourfold. The first is because the Imam ,alayhi assalam, is protecting his life. The second is he's not going to take any allegiance from anyone else. The third in regards to the sins of the Shi'a, the fourth in regards to the test of the Shi'a, the test of the Shi'a and the sins of the Shi'a.

We stated that because the Imam is a global figure, because the Imam is a global entity, therefore, we must understand him in light of the entire world. We cannot just limit our understanding of the Imam to considering him solely within the Shi'a limitations and to understand him only within the Shi'a limitation is a contradiction within itself - for the Imam is the Imam of the entire world. He represents everybody. He represents every faith. He represents every corner of this world. Every culture will want to adopt him as their Imam. And as such, because he is a global figure, we must understand him in light of that and not confine him to just the concept of being an Imam only for the Shi'a.

Based upon that, what that does is it gives us a framework of thought that, when we read these traditions, we understand the traditions in light of the framework of thought. The thought is the Imam is a global figure. And therefore, even though the text says it is a test upon the Shi'a and it is the sins of the Shi'a that delay the Imam's coming, we think that the Imam's occultation is also a test upon the world at large. And so by virtue, it will also be that the sin of a non-Shi'a may also impact the delay in the coming of the Imam, alayhi assalam.

And so what we did yesterday, we brought the discussion forward and we began to try to understand the Imam in light of the challenges of the world that he would face, should he come, for example, this coming Friday. It is a real world. And therefore, the Imam is going to be presented with the real challenges of this world and we gave one, just to give us a flavor of the time of challenges that the Imam, alayhi assalam, faces beyond just the Shi'a limitation of the thought process.

And we gave that story of Guadalupe, the city on the northern borders of Mexico, that at the end of 2010, was left without a single police officer. Because every police officer had either been killed or kidnapped not to be found or had left by virtue of the level of crime and drug lords and drug cartels that were prevalent within the city. When the Imam, alayhi assalam, comes, his responsibility is to liberate not just the Shi'a from the tribulations of their own land, but all of the world and the tribulations that every community has.

Here we pick up and we continue and just try to understand this a little more concisely and then move into our discussion for the rest of this evening. I would like us to do a mental exercise to help us understand the grandeur of this great Imam, alayhi assalam, of our time and the reality of the mission that he has at hand. I want you to think in this way with me, I did this exercise as a mental exercise at Heathrow Airport and being in Terminal one, just taking a snapshot of the people in front of me.

You walk through security and security isn't easy nowadays for some of us, but as you go past security and you get into the waiting lounge and you're there in duty free. Just take a snapshot, you know, you get the TV remote control and you press pause what's in front of you, just paused on the screen. And so in my own mind, what I wanted to do was press pause in front of the hundreds, maybe even thousands of people just milling around and getting on with their day before they go into the gate and eventually fly to their destinations.

What will you see in front of you? Think about it in terms of your own day to day life when you go to work or school or university and just take a snapshot of part of your day and the diversity of the people in front of you. What will you have? You will have religious and areligious, political and apolitical. You will have people interested in sports, people interested in politics and economy. You will have people that will be very charitable and some will be very arrogant. There will be children and elders. There will be people from across all the continents of the world. There will be a vastness, a beautiful plurality of people in front of you, all with different interests, all with different experiences in life, all of them of various different types of personalities. Now think here for a second that when you take your snapshot of your own day and the variety of people that you will encounter in your day to day, do you or I, when I was taking my personal snapshot in Terminal one, do you or I have the ability to guide and to liberate all of those people that you normally see in your day to day basis?

I see these thousand people in front of me and the diversity of them. Do I have the ability if I was to spend my entire life just sitting with that one thousand people preaching, debating, discussing, trying to arrange their lives in a way in which was better, would I impact them in any way? Would I be able to guide those people in any way, shape or form? And I imagine the reality of the answer is I can't. I probably would be rejected because my way of thinking, my way of seeing this world, my approach to my God and my book of Qur'an will be vastly different to every other one of those thousand people that were directly in front of me.

Now, imagine in your own lives, if you were to be true to yourself and ask, could you guide those hundred people that you come across in a day? We wouldn't have; we might not be able to otherwise we would have done it already. All of them would be here in the Imambargah now listening to the majlis. But they're not. Now, think about that, how a human being has such little impact potentially on another, yet you will find within history people who have such great impact on other human beings and can bring them to the fore of their own humanity and completion. We are not talking about a thousand people. We are talking about seven billion people in this world that must be liberated.

Now, even further than that, when you think about the diversity of people: I was reading a few days ago and there was a small article and it said that in the world today, there are 19 recognized major religions in this world, 19. And a study was done on broadly looking at the various sects, the various madhhabs within each of these various religions, and the study said that there are four thousand two hundred different sects existing in the world.

Just think about that for a moment. The diversity of thought that there is in this world, and that's only religion. What about the atheist? What about the agnostic? This Imam, alayhi assalam, we believe, will liberate all and he will have that mammoth task in front of him at all levels of humanity, who could do that? Can I do it? Not even with my thousand people. Can Barack Obama bring justice to this world? No he can't. Can David Cameron bring justice to this world? No, he can't. Can his eminence Ayatollah al-udhma Ali Sistani, Daama tawfeeqahu, bring justice to the entire world? He can't.

There is only one individual, and what a task that man has and the reality of this task at hand. Now, when you see the Imam in that light, you begin to realize how much of a diverse world this is, the level of challenge that he really has. There are 60 million people today that are without homes just by virtue of being refugees. He has to manage the world's resources justly, equitably. He has to manage the world's media outlets justly and equitably. He has to create an education system, a political system, an economic system that brings the world on par with each other. Look at the diversity within this world. You have people in the slums of India and they bathe themselves with the sewage water. That is how poor they are in this world. Then you have a person in New York whose apartment is twenty five million dollars. Look at the disparity in this world.

This is an individual that is responsible for all seven and a half billion people of. Imagine this one man, what he has to accomplish. And here we ask, how does he do it? How does an individual manage to accomplish such a great and vast task on behalf of the entirety of humanity? Our first supposition was he is a global entity, and so because our supposition is he is global, we do not see him in light of the limitations of the Shi'a only. The second supposition in order to understand correctly the Awaited Saviour is a narration that we quoted in the first night, which comes to us from our sixth Imam, Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq, salawatullah wasalamun alayh [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

The narration states, 'Al-Mahdi yasna'u kama san'a Rasul Allah,' - sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]. Al-Mahdi acts just as Rasul Allah acted. This is a very important narration. Because it gives us a framework to work within. If I truly want to understand any of the A'imma, salmullah alaihim ajma'een, I must understand them in light of Qur'an and Rasul Allah. They are reflections of that methodology. They come to implement the methodology of Rasul Allah in accordance with their time and in accordance with the challenges at hand. Let me give you a very simple explanation.

Our fourth Imam Zainul Abideen, salawatullah wa salamuhu alayh, [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad] provided for you and I the giant text, the great text that we have, Sahifa al-Sajjadiya. And in there is the beauty of the supplications. Does that mean that Rasul Allah didn't know those words, that he was incapable of expressing du'a to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala in those ways? Of course not. It means that Rasul Allah was the archetype of those ad'iya, of that du'a. The fourth Imam expressed it in accordance with his own time and was able to give that because of the time in which he lived in. But if you go back to the way in which Rasul Allah communicated with his Lord, you will see the beauty in the archetype of Sahifa al-Sajjaidiya there.When the Imam, alayhi assalam, comes and he has to liberate China or the States or Britain or Iraq and so on and so forth, he is not going to bring a different methodology. He is going to be presenting Rasul Allah in accordance with his own time. And so one must go back into Rasul Allah, his life, his methodology, his mission in order to truly understand and juxtapose Rasul Allah side by side with the Awaited Savior of our time.

Here, we want to divide this into two and we will bring this over into tomorrow night's discussion as well. The first aspect is to ask ourselves and to comprehensively understand the mission of Rasul Allah; what it is he was trying to accomplish. And then juxtapose that with the Awaited Saviour. Then we will look at three things in regards to Rasul Allah and his methodology of how we accomplished his mission. We want to understand what did he do prior to announcing his prophethood, number one. Why? Because then we will understand what Mahdi, salamullah alayh, is doing prior to his Zuhoor.

Number two, we want to understand the way in which Rasul Allah liberated Mecca. Because it was distinct within itself. And when we understand the challenges that Mecca particularly had and the way in which Rasul Allah liberated the people of Mecca, I will look to see if the world or parts of the world today are similar, have a similarity to the conventions within Mecca, and then try to understand how Mahdi, salamullah alayh, will liberate the parts of the world that are equivalent to the Meccan community of then.

Number three, how did Rasul Allah liberate the people of Madina? Because it was its own unique, separate community. The challenges of Madina were not the same as the challenges of Mecca. And therefore, again, if we correctly understand the way in which Rasul Allah liberated Madina, we will juxtapose that with the similarities of the world that we find today.

So number one, the first question we want to understand is what is the mission, truly of Rasul Allah Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wasallam [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]. We always find recourse to every question that we have by virtue of looking where? In the Holy Qur'an. The first point is to look at how the Qur'an describes this situation before moving into narrations. And so we ask to the Qur'an: what do you tell us about the challenges, the mission itself, the overriding mission of the Holy Prophet of Islam? There are many different verses. We will start with one and then we will expand upon it, InshaAllah.

In Suratul Hijr, Chapter number 15 of the Holy Quran, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala describes the people of the Lut, alayhi assalaam's time and also gives this as a distinguishing feature for the people of Mecca as well.

He says, لَعَمۡرُكَ اِنَّهُمۡ لَفِىۡ سَكۡرَتِهِمۡ يَعۡمَهُوۡنَ 'La'amruka innahum lafee sakratihim ya'mahoon'(15:72), 'I take an oath by you, oh, Muhammad, surely these people are wondering blindly in their intoxication'. This is a verse that describes the Meccan community.

Now, look at the verse and look at the way in which Allah, Subhanahu wa ta 'aala, is saying such a powerful verse to describe the underpinnings of the social society of Mecca. 'La'amruka' - here, this is an oath that Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, is taking by the existence, by the life of Rasul Allah himself. We find many times within the Holy Quran, Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, takes oaths by things, doesn't He? 'Wal 'Asr', 'wash shamsi wa dhuhaha', 'wal qamari idha talaha'. What is the purpose of an oath? How does Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, use these oaths? The purpose of an oath in the Holy Qur'an is to weight the value of what Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, wants to tell you next, within the next part of the verse.

Let me give you a simple example. God forbid, if my house was burning down and you were there and you saw it and you call me and you say, 'Ja'far, your house is burning down'. In order for you to ensure I understand the importance of what you're telling me, that it's not a joke that you really want to emphasize and stress that you're being serious, you might take an oath. You would say, 'I swear by God your house is burning down. Come down quickly'. Now, you wouldn't take an oath by something, you know, pointless; you wouldn't say, 'I swear by that banana, your house is burning down'. It wouldn't make sense, would it? Say what? Sorry. Hang up the phone. Right?

But by virtue of the weight of God's name that you've invoked, I know how serious the situation is. 'I swear on the Qur'an, you have to come down'. Here, Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, speaking in our language, does the same thing. He takes an oath to emphasize the importance of what He is about to tell you. 'La'amruka' - I take an oath by your own life, Ya Muhammad. Not any ordinary individual, Rasul Allah, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

It's one thing, taking an oath by the sun, isn't it, 'wash shamsi wa duha ha'. Imagine when you take an oath by the life of Rasul Allah himself. The only reason the sun is in existence is because of Rasul Allah. Now, look at this verse: 'La'amruka' - I take an oath by your existence Ya Rasul Allah, 'innahum lafee sakratihim ya'mahoon,' - these people of Mecca, they are wandering blindly in their intoxication.

This is a damning statement, isn't it, from Allah, Subhanahu wa ta'ala? It is really a statement to describe the way in which their social society is. Here, it doesn't mean, literally, that they're drinking alcohol. Yes, this was prevalent within the community. It means that they are wandering blindly in the things that intoxicate their soul, intoxicate their minds, blind them from truth. They are wandering blindly in their intoxications. What kind of intoxications were they living in?

Many different types. Look at the community of Mecca and the specific challenges that Rasul Allah had to come to liberate them from: they were a community that used to bury their daughters alive.

'Wa ida al-maw'oodatu su'ilat ; Bi ayyi zambin qutilat'(81:8-9), "on the Day of Judgment, those pagan girls buried alive will have the opportunity to ask for what reason was I buried?" They used to treat women as property; that when your father died, you would inherit your mother as if she was property. This was the community of Mecca.They used to go to war with each other over the slightest of things, for generation after generation, to the extent that eventually they forgot what the original war was about.

There's a verse in the Quran that is unbelievable when describing the Meccan community. Quran says twice: 'Laa taakuloo amwaalakum bainakum bilbaatili'(2:188 & 4:29), "do not eat up your wealth amongst each other in falsities". What is this verse about? Our sixth Imam, alayhi assalam, comments and says the reason for this verse, the reason why Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala described this event was that in that community in Mecca, they used to gamble with each other a lot.

OK, gambling, of course, is a horrid sin, terrible addiction. But why reveal a verse about it? What specifically did Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala wish to convey to us about the plight of the Meccan community and which community Rasul Allah had to liberate? This verse was about what? When they used to gamble and one lost in the gamble and the debt, instead of paying off the debt with money or selling off their property or their camels in order to pay off the debt, do you know how they used to pay off the debt? They would give away their own family members to pay off the debt. Can you imagine a community more morally bereft, devoid of morals, that when you lose a gamble instead of selling your property, you would give away your own family members? I know some of us have difficult family members, yes? Please don't get any ideas. Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, critiqued this. If you have a difficult father in law or a difficult mother in law, you cannot give them away.

This was the community. Can you imagine what this community was like, that Rasul Allah had to come to? How do you liberate a community like this, that their practices are so dark and evil? This was the mission that Rasul Allah had. After spending time with the Meccan community and eventually the Madinan community, and after 23 years or maybe even less, liberating these communities Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala describes another verse in the Quran - this time not lambasting them, describing the evil traits of this community; He now gives to us a slightly different verse, praising this very same Hejazan community.

In Sura Aali Imran, Allah,Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says, كُنۡتُمۡ خَيۡرَ اُمَّةٍ اُخۡرِجَتۡ لِلنَّاسِ 'Kuntum khaira ummatin ukhrijat linnaasi'(3:110), "that you are the best of people heralded for humanity". Subhana Allah. Look at the trajectory of growth under the auspices of a man like Rasul Allah. At one point the Qur'an lambasts the Hejazan community by saying, 'La'amruka innahum lafee sakratihim ya'mahoon'(15:72), "surely you are wandering blindly in your own intoxications". Only a few years later in the presence of Rasul Allah, Allah, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, reveals another verse saying, 'Kuntum khaira ummatin ukhrijat linnaasi'(3:110) - you are the best of people heralded for mankind. What a transformation within the space of twenty three years.

There's a story that describes how changed this Hejazan community had become under the time of Rasul Allah. This narration is about a battle, a small skirmish that took place. Now you may know within the history there was a certain style of battle that the Arab community used to engage in. The first thing was that the champions of both sides would come and have one on one wars. This is why so often when we champion Ali ibn abi Talib, salawatullah wa salamuhu alayh [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad] because he was champion of the army of Islam.

Now another practice that the Arabs had amongst themselves was that they would have waterboys. That when a soldier had been struck down and was in the last gasps of his life, the waterboy was allowed to enter the battlefield and quench the thirst of the dying soldier. He was protected. There was no killing for that young boy to come and enter the battlefield. This was his job to help in those last moments - quench the thirst of the soldier that was departing this world.

And so now this community that has been taken on this spiritual journey by Rasul Allah, that is now becoming human, that is now becoming a liberated society, is engaged in a battle. It is said that on the battlefield, as the war raged, members of the Muslim army were struck down. They were lying there having fallen on the battlefield. There was one there, there was another one there, and another one there. The waterboy's responsibility was what? To go and give water to the departing soul. He runs to the first man who is lying on that burning battlefield and he gives to him that mashk, that flask to give him a drink in his final moments. The man says, 'Not I, Not I. Don't give me the water, go to my Muslim brother and give him water, for I see he is also lying on the battlefield'. The waterboy runs from the first man to the second man. He comes and gives the flask to the second man. The second man says, 'Not I, not I. I saw another one of my companions having been struck down. He is my Muslim brother. Go and give him water instead of me.' And he runs to the third man. He comes and gives the flask to the third man. The third man says the same thing. 'Not I, not I. There is another one I have seen, go and give water to him first.' He's pointing to the first one that the water boy did run to. The third one he leaves, he runs back to the first. What does he find? The first one had died thirsty without having his thirst quenched. He runs to the second, the second has passed. He runs to the third, the third has died.

Look at this. Yesterday when Rasul Allah started, this was a community that they hated each other so much that they used to go to war with each other as rival tribes. Rasul Allah had brought this community together, black and white, poor and rich, noble and less so, and none of them disputed. And what they were all for the sake of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, to the extent that I'm even willing to die thirsty for the sake of my Muslim brothers. 'Kuntum khaira ummatin ukhrijat linnaasi' (3:110) 'you've become the best of people heralded for mankind'. Rasul Allah brought a community from down here to up here.

Now, see what the Qur'an says about the mission of the Awaited Savior of humanity. Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, said, the Meccan people were wandering blindly in their intoxications. Eventually, he brings them to a pedestal whereby Allah will praise them by saying, you are the best of people heralded for mankind. Elsewhere in the Quran, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala - prophesies the mission of the Awaited Savior by saying وَاَشۡرَقَتِ الۡاَرۡضُ بِنُوۡرِ رَبِّهَا 'Wa ashraqatil ardhu binoori Rabbihaa' (39:69), 'that the entire world will glisten with the 'Noor' (light) of its Lord'.

Not just Arabia will glisten with the best of people for humanity, not just now the so-called Muslim world that is supposed to be glistening with the best of the people in humanity, the entire world will glisten with the 'noor' of its Lord. Every one in seven billion people, they will be brought to a pedestal where their life is flourishing for the sake of goodness; that they are living in a world whereby they are removing that disparity, they are working for the sake of each other. If that is the way in which Rasul Allah managed to get three people on the battlefield to live and to work and to die for each other, can you imagine how Imam al-Mahdi, ajjarallahu ta'ala farajahush shareef [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad] would do? 'Wa ashraqatil ardu binoori Rabbihaa' - 'the entire world will glisten with the noor of its Lord'(39:69).

This verse, according to our commentators, is solely revealed for the time of our Imam, alayhi assalam. Look at the trajectory of the growth from a people wandering blindly to a world that is flourishing in its humanity? This is the mission that the Awaited Savior has to accomplish. How does he do this? As we stated, the hadeeth says 'Al-Madhi yasna'u kama san'a Rasul Allah,' al-Mahdi acts just as Rasul Allah acted. And so we said we're going to divide that 'how' into three.

First is what did a Rasul Allah do prior to his announcement and then juxtapose that with the Awaited Saviour. We will look at Mecca and we will look at Madina. Now, time permitting, the way we will do it Inshallah is this: we will describe Rasul Allah in all three ways and tomorrow we will come back to that and then describe that and juxtapose that with the Awaited Saviour.

Inshallah tonight, for the remaining time, we will start by analyzing and discussing what it is that the Holy Prophet of Islam did prior to his announcement. This answer comes to us from His Eminence Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani, may Allah grant him the longest of lives in the Book called 'The Message'. The Message is available in English for all of us to read. It is available in book form or available on the Internet for you to be able to download or to read, if you type it in InshaAllah. His Eminence Ayatullah Subhani says that Rasul Allah did primarily two things in terms of his own preparation for his responsibility as the Prophet of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.

He would spend much time ascending Ghaar Hira (Mount Hira) and observing his community that he would have to come and liberate. Now, there's no denial of this, we know from the stories of Lady Khadija - salamullah alaiha, whose wafaat we will commemorate InshaAllah in a few nights time, that she would often twice a day at least go up that mountain and down that mountain, up that mountain and down that mountain with food and drink to come and serve Rasul Allah - what a wonderful example she sets for us.

Now, if you have been to Mecca, may Allah take us all this year and every year Inshallah. When you go, if you have the opportunity, try to go to Ghaar Hira. We believe as Shi'a of Ahlul Bayt, history is very important. We do not knock down history. We do not bulldoze history.

The Qur'an says قُلۡ سِيۡرُوۡا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ ثُمَّ انْظُرُوۡا كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ , 'Qul seeroo fil ardhi,' - travel inthe world, 'thumman zuroo kaifa kaana 'aaqibatul mukadhdhibeen' (6:11), - 'observe the ending and the ways of the people who are the beliers of truth and those people who are righteous'. Look and observe history, do it, partake in it. So now, Inshallah if you've been you will go on Ghaa Hira and you will sit in the place of Revelation itself, place where Quran descended to the heart of Rasul Allah, and as you sit there over Ghaar Hira, you will look down and you will see Mecca today, but you will also begin to imagine the Mecca of fourteen hundred years ago. What must it have been like? How must we have seen the Kaaba, not the monstrosity that they create today with those towers and the fake spirituality that they tried to impose, but the realest Mecca, the heart and essence of being under the Arsh of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.

Now, here, when Rasul Allah was there and he was observing this, Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani says something most interesting and most beautiful. Now you have to understand it in its context. So hear the words and then understand it for the reality of what it is. Ayatullah Subhani says Rasul Allah was doing two things. The first was he was reflecting on the universe itself. Creation, he was reflecting on the sun, the stars, the moon, the universe in its entirety. The second thing he was reflecting on was the community that he had to come to and the community he had to liberate. He had to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

What was their social order? Who were the leaders? Why was the community entangled in the way in which it was for so many years? Where did this start? Who might be my allies? How might I begin the path of liberating? How will they respond to me when I begin my path of liberation, whom it will be that will be my strength and my enemies. How do I go about this mission tangibly? He was learning that mission.

Now hear these words: it doesn't mean that he was learning in the sense that he was ignorant. No, no, we can never attribute that to Rasul Allah; we can never say that he was ignorant and didn't know. But his responsibility to his own soul, to his own Lord, to his challenge was to reflect and to understand his own community for the time in which he lived in. Do we not find the Qur'an tells every Muslim 'afalaa yatadabbaroonal quran,' - 'do you not reflect on the Qur'an?' (47:24). Was that exclusive for us but ignores Rasul Allah?

No, Allah ta'ala told Rasul Allah 'Reflect' as well, ponder as well. How often we read in those traditions that the Commander of the faithful would be pondering upon that world. He would walk in the graveyards and ponder and ask, 'O people of the graves, where are you today? Did you find the promise of your Lord to be true?' He would walk and he would stand over the wells and he would complain and lament about how other human beings could not understand his ponderings and what he had within his heart.

To the extent that he would have to speak to the wells itself. The narrations tell us that as he would speak to the wells, the wells would bubble up. Maybe in response to the words that were used. Imagine the reflections of Rasul Allah on his own community. He would try to understand the challenge of his time and how he was to liberate that community that he would come to. It is very interesting here to say that he must understand his community because here, theologically, in our aqaa'id we have two ways of understanding this issue.

We can place Rasul Allah as a robot and say that he is like a superhero and say that he is like those heroes, you know, the superheroes that we see in these Marvel comics. Or we can say that he is a human being, endowed with the utmost spirituality of Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala, the most perfect, purest intellect to have ever been created. And therefore, he used that intellect to understand his community perfectly. What did he do? He understood, he watched, observed his community and thought about how he would liberate them.

And these aren't my words, this is Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani saying he reflected over his own community and how he would liberate. That means he was primarily a human being, and he says this within the Qur'an: 'ana basharun mithlokum'(18:110), 'I'm a human being like you'. I'm not going to zap people like a superhero and convert you to Islam. I have to understand you do have human tendencies, how you react and respond to my words, to the Qur'an, to my challenge on you intellectually.

The Qur'an described Rasul Allah يَاۡكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمۡشِىۡ فِى الۡاَسۡوَاقِ 'Ya'kulut ta'aama wa yamshee fil aswaaq'(25:7), 'he eats like us and he walks in the marketplaces like us'. I ask you a simple question. What then is Mahdi, salamullah alayh ,doing now in this period of ghayba? You know, I set you homework every night. Guess what the homework is? it's this, Think about this. What is the Awaited Savior of humanity doing before his Zuhoor, before his appearance? Am I going to limit Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi assalam, and say: all he does is go between one ziyarah place and another ziyarah place? On Tuesday night he's here and then all of a sudden he goes and then on a Thursday night, he's here and he spends the entirety of his time in sajda. Is that all I'm going to limit the Imam of my time to doing these last 1200 years?

What was Rasul Allah doing for 40 years before his announcement? He was walking with his community. He was speaking to his community. He was partaking in learning, observing, thinking, challenging those notions. The difference is Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi assalam, is in ghayba. He will not be able to do these things at an apparent level. He cannot be known as al-Sadiq and al-Ameen amongst his own community for he is in ghayba. So I ask you, what is he doing right now with this community at large?

Rasul Allah was observing the Meccan community. Mahdi, salamullah alayh, is for seven and a half billion people. I ask you, what is he doing right now, tonight? Think about that question for yourself, because here you begin to liberate the way in which you and I perceive Imam al-Mahdi, alayhi assalam. Then we'll not box him in and confine him to being this person, that all I do is think he's going to come and he's an abstract concept in the future. I'm thinking about him now in the present in this world today. What's he doing? And InshaAllah we will continue this discussion tomorrow.

Furthermore, we will, InshaAllah, discuss what happened in Mecca and specifically how Rasul Allah liberated a community that was so tarnished in the ways in which they lived. And InshaAllah try to juxtapose that with the way in which the Imam of our time Imam al-Mahdi, ajjalallahu ta'ala farajja shareef, does as well [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]

Please raise your hands. Let us join each other in dua – we ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala sincerely to hasten the reappearance of the Awaited Saviour; to allow us to be alongside him at all times in our life and in our death; if we are to pass away from this world before his coming, to raise us from our graves so that we may partake in the victory of Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad.

We ask you Ya Allah! There are many people around the world going through such desperate times, those people in a state of war and oppression, poverty, homelessness, disease and natural disaster, Ya Allah, grant them all safety, security and victory for the sake of Muhammad and Aali Muhammad. We ask you Ya Allah! In this month of Ramadhan, we have many sins that encompass our heart, help us to fast better so that we can become true servants of Imam, alayhi assalam and in the final moments of our life, we die in the love of Muhammad and Aali Muhammad - wassalamu alaykum jamee'an wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

May I ask you to conclude this discussion with three loud salawaats in honor of the Awaited Savior, the master and Lord of our age, Imam al-Mahdi ajjalallahu ta'ala farajahush shareef [Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, Allahumma salli alaa Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]