This occultation from the people has taken place by the command of the Almighty. The Holy Prophet (S) and the Holy Imams (as) has prophesied the occurrence of this occultation.
In Kamaluddin it is narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) that he said:
“Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is same as mine and his patronymic is same as mine. He is most closely resembling me in manners and behavior. There is an occultation and perplexity for him, during which period, communities will deviate. Then he would reappear like a brilliant (shooting) star and fill up the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression.”1
It is also narrated from His Eminence that he said:
“Mahdi is from my progeny. There is an occultation and perplexity for him, during which period communities will deviate. He would bring the relics of the prophets. At that time he would fill up the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression.”2
His Eminence also said:
“Blessed be those who are fortunate to live in the time of Qaim of my Ahle Bayt. Those who would believe in him during his occultation and before his advent, who would love his friends and remain aloof from his enemies. Such people would be my closest ones and my friends on the Day of Judgment.”3
It is narrated from Amirul Momineen Ali (as) that he said to his son, Husain (as):
“Your ninth descendant, O Husain is the same one who would rise with the truth (Qaim bil Haqq) and the one who would expound the religion and spread justice.” Husain asked: O Amirul Momineen, would this actually come to pass? He replied: Yes, by the one who sent Muhammad with prophethood, and chose him over all the people; but it would be after occultation and confusion during which period none shall remain steadfast and firm in his faith except the sincere ones, who have the soul of certainty. They are the ones from whom Allah, the Mighty and Sublime has taken oath on our Wilayat and has guarded faith in their hearts and supported them through the Holy Spirit.”4
It is related from Asbagh bin Nubatah that he said:
“I went to Amirul Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) to find him engrossed in thoughts tapping with his fingers on the ground. I asked: O Amirul Momineen, are you vying for the caliphate? He replied: No, by Allah, neither I have any desire for it nor for any worldly matter at anytime. But I am thinking about the child who is the eleventh descendant in my progeny. He is the same Mahdi who would fill the earth with justice, just as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression. There is confusion and occultation for him during which communities would go astray and other communities would be guided. Then I said: O Amirul Momineen, would this really come to pass? He replied: Yes! Just as he has been created.”5
It is narrated from His Eminence that he said:
“For our Qaim there is an occultation, which shall be prolonged. As if I can see the Shias resembling quadrupeds searching for pasture but being unable to find it. Know that, whosoever from them remains firm on his religion and whose heart is not hardened due to the prolonging of the occultation, then he shall be with us in our rank on the Day of Judgment. Then he said: When our Qaim arises, he would not have the allegiance of anyone upon his neck, therefore his birth shall be secret and he himself shall be in occultation.”6
It is also narrated from His Eminence that when His Eminence, Qaim (aj) was mentioned in his presence he said:
“Indeed he shall go into occultation till the ignorant will say: For the Almighty Allah there is no need of Aale Muhammad.”7
It is narrated from His Eminence, Hasan bin Ali (as) that he said:
“There is none among us who did not have the allegiance of the tyrant ruler of his time around his neck, except for Qaim, behind whom the Spirit of Allah, Isa bin Maryam will pray. Indeed, Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime has kept his birth secret and his person unseen. When he reappears, he would not have the allegiance of anyone upon his neck.
He is the ninth descendant of my brother, Husain. He is the son of the best of the maidservants. The Almighty Allah will prolong his age during the occultation, then He would through His power, make him appear as a youthful man of less than forty years of age so that it may be known that the Almighty Allah is powerful over everything.”8
It is narrated from His Eminence, al-Husain bin Ali (as) that he said:
“The Mahdi of this nation is my ninth descendant. He would have an occultation and he is the one whose inheritance shall be divided while he is alive.”9
It is narrated from His Eminence, Ali bin al-Husain (as) that he said:
“There are two occultations for our Qaim, one of which shall be longer than the other. As for the first one, it would be for six days,10 or six months or six years.
And as for the second one it would be so long that most of those who have faith in this matter will turn back from their belief. Then they would not remain firm on this matter except those who have very strong faith and correct recognition, and in their hearts there is no discomfort from our decisions and those that submit to us, Ahle Bayt (as).”11
Regarding the verse:
فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ
“But nay! I swear by the stars. That run their course (and) hide themselves.” (Qur’an, Surah Takwir 81:15-16)
It is related from Imam Baqir (as) that he said:
“That is a child in the last period of time. He is the Mahdi from this progeny. And for him there shall be a confusion and occultation in which a group shall deviate and a group shall be guided.”12
In a tradition related from Ibne Abi Ya’fur it is mentioned from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said:
“Whosoever believes in the Imamate of my forefathers and descendants but denies the Mahdi from my descendants is just like one who has faith in all the prophets but denies Muhammad (S).” The narrator asked: “My master, from which of you has Mahdi descended?” He replied: “He is the fifth descendant of the seventh Imam himself. He would disappear from you and it is not lawful for you to pronounce his name.”13
Also from Imam Sadiq (as) it is narrated that he said:
“The most proximate servants of Allah and those with whom Allah is pleased are those who when the proof of Allah disappears from sight and they don’t know about his location, yet they continue to have faith that the Proof of Allah can never be invalid and day and night they continue to wait for him. And the wrath of Allah is on those of His enemies who when the proof of Allah disappears from sight, they fall into doubts and denial. He (Allah) knew that His special servants will never fall into doubts and if it were not so He would not have taken away His Proof from their sight even for a moment. And in this doubts and suspicions will reign supreme over the hearts of evil ones and such persons only become the leaders of mischief-mongers.”14
It is reported from His Eminence that he said:
“Occultation will happen for my sixth descendant and he is the twelfth of the Imams of guidance after the Holy Prophet (S), the first of whom is Ali Ibne Abi Talib and the last is the one who would rise with the truth (Qaim bil Haqq), the Remnant of Allah (Baqiyatullah) on the earth and the Master of the Age. By Allah, even if he remains in occultation as long as Nuh lived among his people, He will not end the world till he reappears. And he would fill up the earth with justice and equity just as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression.”15
It is narrated from Ali bin Ja’far from his brother, Moosa bin Ja’far (as) that he said:
“When the fifth descendant of the seventh Imam goes into occultation, for the sake of Allah protect your religion. None of you must let go of your religion. O son, occultation is necessary for the master of this affair. So much so that even those who say that it is a test from Allah, they would also turn away from him. And if in the knowledge of your forefathers there had been some other religion more correct and better than this, they would have followed that only.” I asked: “Master, tell us who is the fifth descendant of the seventh Imam?” He replied: “Son, your intellects are small, he cannot be accommodated in it. Your understanding is so restricted that you cannot bear it, but if you live till that time you will indeed find him.”16
It is related by Husain bin Khalid that he said:
Ali bin Moosa ar-Reza al-Murtuza (as) said:
“One who does not have piety does not have religion and whosoever does not have dissimulation (Taqayyah) does not have faith and indeed the most honored among you near Allah is the one most pious of you. His Eminence was asked: Till when does he have to observe Taqayyah? He replied: Till the day of the appointed hour and on that day is the reappearance of our (Ahle Bayt’s) Qaim. Thus whosoever abandons Taqayyah before his reappearance is not from us. It was asked: O son of Allah’s Messenger, from which of Ahle Bayt is the Qaim? He replied: He is my fourth descendant, the son of the best of the maidservants.
The Almighty Allah would, through him, purify the earth from every kind of oppression and remove every type of injustice from it. He is the one in whose birth the people would doubt and he is the one who would have an occultation before his reappearance. And when he arises, the earth shall be lit up with his effulgence. He would establish the scales of justice among the people so that no one may oppress the others. He is the one for whom the earth would warp itself and he would not throw a shadow.
And he is the one by whose name the caller would call out from the sky inviting people to the Imam which all the people of the earth would be able to hear. The caller would say: Know that the Proof of Allah has appeared near the House of Allah, so follow him as truth is with him, and that is the meaning of the statement of the Almighty Allah:
“If We please, We should send down upon them a sign from the heaven so that their necks should stoop to it.”17
It is narrated from Abdul Azeem Hasani that he said:
“I said to His Eminence, Muhammad bin Ali bin Moosa: We hope that you would be the Qaim of the Progeny of the House of Muhammad (S), who would fill the earth with justice and equity just as it would fraught with injustice and oppression. He replied: O Abal Qasim, none of us Imams are but Qaim by the command of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, and we are the guides towards the religion of Allah. But the Qaim through whom the Almighty Allah would purify the earth from the infidels and apostates and who would fill up the earth with justice and equity is the one whose birth shall remain concealed for the people and whose person would remain unseen by the people and pronouncing whose name would be unlawful.
His name and patronymic shall be the same as that of the Messenger of Allah (S) and he is the one for whom the earth would wrap itself and every hardship would become easy for him. His companions numbering same as the fighters of Badr would gather around him from far off places of the earth. And that is the meaning of the verse:
أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“Wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together; surely Allah has power over all things.” (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:148)
Thus when this number gathers around him, the Almighty Allah would reveal his matter. And when the number of his helpers reach 2000, he would, by the permission of Allah set out in pursuit of the enemies of Allah in order to please the Almighty.” Abdul Azeem says: I asked His Eminence: “My master, how would he know that the Almighty Allah is pleased with him?” He replied: “Allah would instill mercy into his heart. Thus when he enters Medina, he would bring out the Laat and Uzza and burn them up.”18
It is related from Ali bin Mahziyar that he said:
I wrote a letter to His Eminence, Abul Hasan of Askar, Imam Hadi (as) asking him about the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (aj). In reply he wrote: “When your Imam disappears from the land of the oppressors you must await for the reappearance.”19
It is narrated from Ahmad bin Ishaq bin al-Ashari that he said:
I went to Imam Hasan Askari (as) and wanted to inquire about his successor. His Eminence, preceded me in the matter and said as follows:
“O Ahmad bin Ishaq! The Almighty Allah has not left the earth without a Divine Proof since the creation of Adam (as) and would not leave it without a Divine Proof till the hour shall be established (Day of Judgment). Through the Divine Proof, calamities are repelled from the inhabitants of the Earth, rain falls and the bounties of the earth come out.”
After hearing these words Ahmad asked His Eminence: “Who is the Imam and Caliph after you?” Imam Hasan Askari arose from his seat and hurried inside his house and returned after a short while, in such a way that upon his neck on his shoulders sat a boy, whose face seemed to be like the full moon and it seemed that he was three years old. After that, His Eminence, Imam Hasan Askari (as) said:
“O Ahmad! If you were not having a special and exalted position before Allah and the Proof of Allah, I would not have shown this son of mine to you. His name and patronymic is the same as that of the Messenger of Allah (S). He would fill the earth with justice and equity, as it would be fraught with injustice and oppressions. O Ahmad! In this community his example is like that of Khizr and Dhulqarnain. By Allah! He will have an occultation and none shall be safe from destruction but one whom Allah has kept steadfast in the belief of his Imam and given the divine opportunity (Tawfeeq) to pray for his reappearance.”
Ahmad immediately asked, “Is there any sign or symbol so that it may satisfy my heart?”
Just then the boy, who looked like a full moon, began to speak and he said:
“I am the remnant of Allah on His earth and the revenge- taker from His enemies and do not demand proof after what is before you…”
After hearing these words of the Proof of Allah, Ahmad went out of the house of Imam Hasan Askari (as) in such a condition that his complete being was surrounded by joy. When again he came to Imam Hasan Askari (as) the next day he said: “O son of Allah’s Messenger! I was very much pleased with the favor you bestowed me that day. Thus what is the continuing practice of Khizr and Dhulqarnain?”
His Eminence, Imam Hasan Askari (as) said in reply, “Prolonged occultation.”
Ahmad at once said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger, would the occultation of the Promised Imam (as) be also prolonged?”
His Eminence, Imam (as) replied, “By my Lord! Yes, so much so, that even those who had accepted him, would turn away from their belief and none shall remain except one from whom Allah has taken the covenant of our guardianship and in whose hearts is rooted our love and those who support it with their hearts.
O Ahmad! This is the command of Allah and one of the divine secrets and one of the Unseen matters of Allah. So remember what I am telling you and keep it confidential and be of the thankful ones so that you may reside in the position of Illiyeen with us.”20
It is narrated from Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Muhammad al-Maktab that he said:
In the year Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali bin Muhammad as-Saymoori (q.s.) passed away I was in the City of Islam (Baghdad). Thus a few days before his demise I went to him and saw that he was showing a Tawqee to the people which read as follows:
“In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
O Ali bin Muhammad as-Saymoori, may Allah give good rewards to your brethren concerning you (i.e. on your death), for indeed you shall die after six days. So prepare your affairs, and do not appoint anyone to take your place after your death. For the second occultation has now occurred, and there can be no appearance until, after a long time when Allah gives His permission, hearts become hardened and the world is full of injustice. And someone shall come to my partisans (Shia) claiming that he has seen me; but beware of anyone claiming to have seen me before the rise of al-Sufyani and the outcry from the sky, for he shall be a slanderous liar.
And there is no strength and might except for Allah, the High and the Mighty.”
He says: “We took a copy of the Tawqee and left him and on the sixth day we again went to him to find him in throes of death. So we asked him: Who is your successor? He said in reply:
For Allah is the affair, He would attain it.
And he passed away, may Allah be pleased with him and those were the last words that I heard from him.”21
I say: These were some of the traditional reports of the Holy Imams (as) regarding the occultation of the hidden Imam (aj) through the chain of narrators which will come at the end of the book that are quoted from Shaykh Sadooq (Kamaluddin). Some matter has been mentioned in the foregone pages and some would come in the following.
Here is it necessary to mention a few points:
Point One: Causes of the occultation of His Eminence, they are of two types: The first are those that have not been told to us. And they shall be revealed to us after the reappearance. Shaykh Sadooq has through his own chain of narrators related from Abdullah bin al-Fadl al-Hashimi that he said:
I heard Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) say: “Certainly, there is a long occultation for the master of this affair which cannot be avoided, as during the period of occultation every falsehood seeking person shall fall into doubt.”
I asked: Why, may I be sacrificed on you? He replied: For the reason we have not been permitted to reveal.
I said: Then what is the wisdom behind his occultation? He replied: The same wisdom that was behind the occultation of divine proofs before him. Indeed the wisdom behind the occultation of His Eminence will not be known except after his reappearance just as the wisdom behind the actions of Khizr (as) of making a hole in the boat, killing the boy and repairing the wall were not clear to Prophet Moosa till the time of the parting of their ways.
O son of Fadl, this matter (of occultation) is a matter of Allah the Almighty and is one of the divine secrets from the unseen of God. And since we know that the Almighty Allah is All-Wise, we testify that all His actions and words are based on wisdom even though their causes may not be clear for us.”22
In the Tawqee of Hazrat Hujjat quoted in Ihtijaaj it is mentioned:
“And as for the reason for my occultation, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَسْأَلُوا عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ إِنْ تُبْدَ لَكُمْ تَسُؤْكُمْ
“O you who believe! do not put questions about things which if declared to you may trouble you.” (Qur’an, Surah Maidah 5:101)
None of my forefathers were free from having the allegiance of the tyrant ruler of his time around their necks, but when I reappear I shall not be having the allegiance of any tyrant around my neck.”23
Type two: They are the ones that the Holy Imam (as) have mentioned for us. Some of them are as follows:
1. Fear of being killed. As mentioned under the topic of the fear of His Eminence. It is also one of the reasons for his reappearance and armed uprising as mentioned in the tradition of Amirul Momineen Ali (as) when he said: ‘If he does not march out he would be eliminated.’ That is: It is incumbent upon him to rise up with the sword to defend himself because reappearance is more than rising up, campaign etc.
How often it is that the Imam is present but he does not rise up with the sword like all the other Imams except for His Eminence, Imam Husain (as), on the basis of this, if the uprising does not take place, the enemies would eliminate His Eminence like they had martyred his holy forefathers in the most cruel and oppressive manner.
2. It is that none of the tyrant rulers would have his allegiance on the neck of His Eminence, as this reason has been stated before in the Tawqee and it is also mentioned in the tradition of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (as).
وَلِيُمَحِّصَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَيَمْحَقَ الْكَافِرِينَ
“And that He may purge those who believe and deprive the unbelievers of blessings.” (Qur’an, Surah Aale Imran 3:141)
It is just as mentioned in the traditions of Imam Moosa bin Ja’far and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) quoted in the heading of the fear of His Eminence.
It is related from Imam Reza (as) that he said:
“By Allah, what you await is not going to happen till you are tested and the believer and the unbeliever are separated, till there does not remain among you but the best and the very best.”
It is narrated from Nomani though his own chain of reporters that Imam Sadiq (as) said:
During the tenure of Amirul Momineen Ali (as) the Euphrates was in floods, so His Eminence mounted along with two sons, Hasan and Husain. When they passed by the Thaqif area the bystanders said: Ali (as) has come to make the water recede. Amirul Momineen (as) said: “By Allah, I and these two sons of mine shall be martyred and the Almighty Allah would definitely send a man from my progeny in the last period of time to take revenge for us. And indeed he shall disappear from their view so that the deviant ones become known, so much so that a foolish person would say: the Almighty Allah has no need for Aale Muhammad.”24
4. The Practices of the divine prophets would be seen in His Eminence, as mentioned in the tradition of Sudair from Imam Sadiq (as) that: “There is an occultation for our Qaim, which shall be prolonged.” I asked: “Why, O son of Allah’s Messenger?” He replied: “Because the Almighty Allah wants that the practices of His prophets in their occultation should also occur on him. And O Sudair, his occultation must come to an end. The Almighty Allah says:
لَتَرْكَبُنَّ طَبَقًا عَنْ طَبَقٍ
“That you shall most certainly enter one state after another.” (Qur’an, Surah Inshiqaq 84:19)
It means: The Sunnats of those who have gone before you.”25
5. The promises of the Almighty Allah shall not be invalid. That is believers would be born in the progeny of disbelievers. As mentioned in the books ofIlalush Sharai and Kamaluddin from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) quoted by Ibne Abi Umair from someone who remembered him that he said:
I asked the sixth Imam: “Why did Amirul Momineen Ali (as) not fight against his opponents in the very beginning?” Imam (as) replied: “It was due to the verse of the Book of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime:
“…had they been widely separated one from another, We would surely have punished those who disbelieved from among them with a painful punishment.”
I again asked: “What is the meaning of ‘Tazayyul’?” He replied: “Believers who are kept as trusts in the loins of the disbelievers and in the same way is Qaim (aj) who would not reappear till the trusts of the Almighty Allah do not come out of the loins of the disbelievers. When they come out he would be victorious over the enemies of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime and he would kill them.”26
6. Our bad deeds, unlawful acts and sins that we commit prevent the reappearance of His Eminence by way of our punishment as Amirul Momineen Ali (as) says:
“And know that the earth does not remain devoid of the divine proof but the Almighty Allah due to the oppression, injustice and excess of the people on themselves, He would make them blind from seeing him.”27
In the Tawqee of Hazrat Hujjat (aj) to Shaykh Mufeed it is mentioned:
“If our Shias, may Allah help them in His obedience, has been loyal to the pledge taken from them, the bounty of our meeting them would not have been delayed. And the honor of meeting us would have perfected their recognition earlier. Thus the only things that keep us hidden from them are those same matters that reach us about them that do not please us and which we don’t expect from them.”28
Point Two: We should know that there are two occultations for His Eminence: One is the shorter or minor and the other is the longer or major. The period of the minor occultation extends from the time of the passing away of Imam Hasan Askari (as) upto the demise of as-Saymoori. Since His Eminence, Imam Hasan Askari (as) was martyred on the 8th of Rabi I in the year 260 A.H. and the demise of Saymoori occurred on the 15th Shaban 328 A.H. the total duration of the minor occultation comes to 68 years. However if we consider the beginning of occultation from the time of the birth of His Eminence, the period of minor occultation comes to 72 years because the Imam was born on the 15th Shaban 255 as mentioned in Kafi.
In the same book through the author’s own chain of narrators it is mentioned that:
When Zubairi was killed, an epistle was issued from His Eminence, Abu Muhammad [Imam Askari (as)] that this is the recompense of one who attributed falsehood to the Almighty Allah regarding the holy saints. He thought that he would kill me so that this progeny could be cut off. What an estimation of God’s power he had? And a son is born to His Eminence in the year 256 and his name is Mohamed.29
I say: This and the previous tradition could be reconciled by saying that the adverb is related to ‘he came out’. That is the Tawqee of 256 has come out or one should be based on solar calendar and the other on lunar, just as Allamah Majlisi has mentioned these two possibilities in Biharul Anwar.30
Point Three: No time limit is fixed for the Major occultation which began at the time of the demise of Saymoori. Rather the command of reappearance and the advent of the Holy Imam (aj) is reserved with the Almighty Allah alone. There are a large number of traditional reports that lend support to this matter. Among the traditions quoted in Biharul Anwar from the Ghaibat of Shaykh Tusi is the following:
It is narrated that His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) was asked whether a time was stipulated for the advent of Imam Mahdi (aj)? He replied:
“They have lied, they have lied, they have lied, who fix the time of reappearance.”31
It is narrated from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Imam Sadiq (as) that he said:
“One who fixes (predicts) the time of the reappearance, has lied. Neither have we fixed a time for it in the past nor would we do so the in the future.”32
In the book, al-Muhajja it is narrated from Mufaddal Ibne Umar that he said:
I asked Imam Sadiq (as): “Is there a time fixed for the reappearance of the Awaited Mahdi so that the people know about it?” He replied: “God forbid! That we fix (predict) a time for it.” I asked: “My master, what is the reason for it?” He replied: “Because it is the Hour regarding which the Almighty Allah says:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبِّي ۖ لَا يُجَلِّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَا إِلَّا هُوَ
“They ask you about the hour, when will be its taking place? Say: The knowledge of it is only with my Lord; none but He shall manifest it at its time…” (Surah Araaf 7:187) 33
In an authentic report of Muhammad bin Muslim it is related from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) that he said:
“Do not fear and be awed by anyone of the people who stipulates a time for you because we have never informed anyone of a particular time.”34
In the tradition of Muhammad bin Hanafiyyah it is there that once he asked Amirul Momineen (as): “Is there a time fixed for it (the government of Mahdi)?”
He replied: “Because the knowledge of Allah is dominant over the knowledge of the people. The Almighty Allah promised Moosa a fixed time of thirty nights, then He added another ten nights to it. Neither Moosa nor Bani Israel knew about those additional days and when the period of ten nights expired, Bani Israel said that Moosa had deceived them, therefore they worshipped the calf. However poverty and neediness increased among the people. And they did not accept each other and they denied. At that time they were in anticipation of divine command day and night.”35
In a correct report from Abu Hamza Thumali it is narrated that he said:
I said to His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as): “Ali (as) said: There will be trouble for seventy years and after the hardships there is peace. But seventy years have passed and we do not see peace?” Imam Baqir (as) said: “O Thabit, the Almighty Allah had fixed this period to be of seventy years but since Husain (as) was martyred the fury of the Almighty Allah increased towards the people of the earth and He delayed it to 140 years. We told you about it and you divulged it to others removing the veil over the secrecy. The Almighty Allah also delayed it further and He did not fix any other time for us because:
يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ ۖ وَعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ
“Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He pleases, and with Him is the basis of the Book.” (Qur’an, Surah Raad 13:39)
Abu Hamza said: I spoke about this matter to His Eminence, Sadiq (as) also and he said: “The meaning is in this way only.”36
It is narrated from Abu Baseer from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) that he said:
I said to His Eminence: “May I be sacrificed on you. When will the reappearance of Qaim (aj) take place?” He replied: “O Abu Muhammad, we are a family that never fixes a time and indeed Muhammad (S) said:
Those who fix the time have lied.
And those who prophesize the time, they have lied. O Aba Muhammad, there are five signs before the reappearance, the first is the call in the month of Ramadan, then the advent of Sufyani, the advent of Khorasani, the killing of Nafs-e-Zakiyya and the sinking of ground at Baida.”37
In the blessed epistle recorded in Biharul Anwar it is mentioned:
“As for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (aj) it is subject to the will of Allah and one who predicts a time for it, is a liar.”38
Point Four: It is that the Holy Imams (as) have informed about both the occultations:
In Biharul Anwar it is mentioned that the Holy Prophet (S) after enumerating the Holy Imams (as) said:
“After that the Imam from them would disappear from your view till the Almighty Allah wills. He would have two occultations one of which is longer than the other. The narrator says: Then the Holy Prophet (S) addressed us and speaking in a raised voice he said: Beware, when the seventh descendant of my fifth descendant goes into occultation. Ali (as) asked: O Messenger of Allah, what will be the situation during occultation? He replied: He would remain patient till the Almighty Allah permits him to reappear. Thus he would reappear from a village called Kar-a’h having my turban over his head and wearing my coat of mail. He would be having the Zulfiqar with him and a caller would be announcing: This is Mahdi, the Caliph of God; follow him.”39
It is reported from His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) that he said:
“Indeed the master of this affair would have two occultations…”40
In another tradition it is narrated from His Eminence that he said:
“There are two occultations for Qaim (aj) in one of which it would be said about him that he is dead, in which wilderness has he gone?”41
It is mentioned from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) that he told Hazim bin Habib:
“O Hazim, for the master of this affair there will be two occultations and he would reappear in the second of the two. And if someone comes to you and says that he has touched his grave, do not testify for him (accept him).”42
In another tradition His Eminence said:
“There are two occultations for Qaim (aj); one is short and the other long. In the first of them no one would know his whereabouts except his special followers in religion.”43
Point Five: It is that during the period of occultation His Eminence sees the people and the people also see him but they do not recognize him. Thus it is quoted in Biharul Anwar from Nomani through his own chain of reporters from Sudair Sairafee that he said:
I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) say: “In the master of this affair there is a similarity to Prophet Yusuf.” I asked: “It seems as if you are informing us about occultation and bewilderment?” He replied: “These accursed people resembling pigs, why do they deny this statement? Brothers of Yusuf were wise and intelligent persons, they came to Yusuf, talked with him, had a deal with him, and he was their brother, inspite of that until he introduced himself they did not recognize him. And when he said I am Yusuf, they recognized him. On the basis of this why does the confused Ummah deny that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime from time to time conceals His proof from them. Yusuf had the rulership of Egypt and the distance between him and his father was not more than of 18 days’ travel, if the Almighty Allah wanted He could have made his location known to his father.
Then how could this Ummah deny that the Almighty Allah can do with His proof what He did with Yusuf? While your oppressed master whose rights have been usurped, he comes and goes among them and he walks in their Bazaars and treads on their carpets and they cannot recognize him? Till the time that the Almighty Allah permits him to introduce himself as He allowed Yusuf. And when his brothers asked: Are you Yusuf? He replied: Yes, I am that same Yusuf.”44
It is narrated from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) that he said:
“The people will not find their Imam, then he would be present in the Hajj season with them and he would see them but they would not see him.”45
Point Six: It is that the occultation of His Eminence is not in contradiction to divine grace, which is making the Imam known. But it is with regard to the sinners who themselves are responsible for his occultation. As we have seen in the sixth cause – and as for the righteous there are two aspects:
1. It is that the Almighty Allah has bestowed them with so much intelligence and understanding that occultation for them is just like presence. As explained by Imam Zainul Abideen (as) in his saying to Abu Khalid Kabuli. We would mention this hadith in Part Eight, if Allah wills.
In the tradition of Muhammad bin Noman it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said:
“And indeed, the Almighty Allah knows that his true devotees would never fall into doubt and if He knew that they would fall into doubt He would not have concealed His Proof from them even for a second.”46
We have already quoted the above among traditions regarding the occultation of His Eminence.
In the hadith of Mufaddal it is narrated from His Eminence that he said:
“By Allah, our matter is more illuminated and clear than this Sun.”47
We shall mention it in Part Eight.
2. It is said that some righteous people are not prevented from seeing His Eminence. Just as it is indicated in the words of His Eminence himself in his epistle quoted by us in the sixth reason of occultation, as also the incident of Ali bin Mahziyar in which it is mentioned:
Then he said: “O Abal Hasan, what do you want?” I replied: “An Imam who is hidden and veiled from the world.” He said: “He is not hidden and veiled from you, but your bad deeds have concealed him from you.”48
This tradition is mentioned in Tabsiratul Waali and other books. If you want to study in further detail you may refer to these books. It shall be very beneficial for the widening your understanding and improving the condition. In addition to this, the best proof of this possibility is that it is an established fact that some righteous people in the past have been honored by the audience of His Eminence, may Allah bless him; relating whose accounts in detail is beyond the scope of this discussion.
Perhaps the Almighty Allah would give us the Tawfeeq to provide an exclusive section on this topic at the end of this book. But if you want to study this subject in detail you may refer to the books of An-Najmus Thaqib and Jannatul Maawa, both complied by the pious scholar, Haajj Mirza Husain Noori Tabarsi, may Allah be merciful on him.
Sayyid Murtuza, Alamul Huda, may Allah be pleased with him, says in the book, Al-Ghaibah:
If it is asked what is the difference between the fact that [the Imam (as)] exists, but he remains in occultation; and no one can meet him and no person gets any benefit from him and on the other hand he does not at all exist and according to terminology he is non-existent. And whether it is not allowable that he should remain in non-existence till the time Providence knows that it is the time for his coming into existence? Because just as you consider it lawful for him to be kept hidden till He knows the obedience and submission of the people for him and at that time He brings him out?
In reply it would be said: Firstly: We do not consider it lawful and possible as many of his devotees, followers and those who believe in his Imamate have had the honor of meeting him and they have benefited from him and those also who were not from his Shias and friends when they also visited him they also derived the same benefits. Because from the aspect that they had belief in the existence of His Eminence and they considered his obedience incumbent and necessary upon themselves therefore they compulsorily feared committing sins and those acts disliked by him, and they are fearful that he would punish and chastise them and make them pay for all such things and therefore they committed the least sins.
For example the great pious scholar, Sayyid Ali bin Tawus (q.s.) says to his son in the book, Kashful Muhajja:
“…the path to your Imam (as) is open for anyone whom Allah the Almighty considers deserving of the grace of His Eminence and for whomsoever Allah completes the favor upon him.”49
In other words were we to bring the statements of righteous scholars regarding this topic it would indeed prolong the book and subject the readers to unnecessary trouble.
If they doubt that: In the event that it is proved that meeting His Eminence is possible and it has actually happened then what about the epistle written to Saymoori, which has also been quoted in the foregone pages? How can one accept that it is possible to meet His Eminence when the epistle is clearly saying that those who claim to have met the Holy Imam (as) are liars?
I say: Our scholars have mentioned the reasons regarding that epistle, the most acceptable and likely explanation is mentioned by Allamah Majlisi inBiharul Anwar after quoting that epistle: Perhaps it is because someone may claim deputyship with meeting him in person as the ambassadors bring traditional reports from His Eminence to his Shias that contradict traditions we mentioned before and those which we will quote in future, and Allah knows best.50
We should know that remoteness is having two meanings:
1. Remoteness from the family and native land
2. Lack of friends and helpers
His Eminence – may our lives be sacrificed on him – is ‘remote’ in both senses. So O servants of Allah help him, O servants of Allah, assist him.
Matter brought in our discussion regarding the seclusion and self imposed isolation of His Eminence from the people also proves the first implication of the remoteness and that which is mentioned in the tradition of Imam Jawad (as) in which he said: “When this number, that is three hundred and sixty sincere persons gather for him, the Almighty Allah will reveal his affair…” proves the second connotation of ‘remoteness’.
Thus O intelligent man, be patient and see that how years and centuries passed and this required number has not gathered for His Eminence, which is the strongest proof of his remoteness.
The second argument on this matter is a tradition quoted in Biharul Anwar from Ghaibat Shaykh Tusi that: Nafs Zakiyya (the pure soul) is a young man from the Progeny of Muhammad (S), his name is Muhammad bin al-Hasan who would be killed without any crime and sin and when they slay him they shall neither have any excuse in the heavens nor would they have any friend in the earth.
At that time the Almighty Allah will send the Qaim of Aale Muhammad with a group that in the view of the people would be softer than antimony. When they come out the people will weep at their condition as they would think that they would very soon be eliminated at the hands of the enemies. However the Almighty Allah will conquer the easts and the wests of the earth for them. Know that they are the true believers. Know that the best of the Jihads shall be in the last period of time.”51
I say: The comparison of the companions of His Eminence to antimony is due to their paucity and that which proves this is that he said: “…they would think that very soon they would be eliminated at the hands of the enemies.” Also supporting this point is a tradition quoted in Biharul Anwar from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said:
“The companions of Mahdi (aj) shall be young people and there will be no aged persons among them except that they shall be as few as the quantity of antimony in the eyes or like salt in food – as salt is that ingredient of food used in least quantity.”
That which proves both the types of remoteness is the statement of Amirul Momineen (as) in a tradition narrated in Kamaluddin that he said:
“The master of this affair is that same wandering, homeless and lonely one.”52
In the same book it is narrated from Dawood bin Kathir Riqqi that he said:
I asked His Eminence, Abul Hasan Moosa bin Ja’far (as) about the master of this affair. He replied: “He would be that same wandering, lonely, remote and hidden from his family who would be the revenger for his father.”53
We have already mentioned some points in the discussion of the life of the earth by the presence of His Eminence and the revival of religion of Allah and the exaltation of Allah’s name by him that also prove this matter. And again we shall be presenting some more points in the topic of the slaying of the infidels.
In the book, al-Muhajja it is narrated from Zurarah that he said:
His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) said regarding the following verses of Qur’an:
وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً
“…and fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together…”
وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ
“…and religion should be only for Allah…”54
“The interpretation of these verses has not actualized till date. And when our Qaim arises those who are present in his time would understand the interpretation that has been done of these verses. And the religion of Muhammad (S) shall reach to every nook and corner of the earth. So much so that not a trace of polytheism shall remain on the earth just as the Almighty Allah has stated.”55
It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) in a tradition that he said:
“…and a man from you will go out in search of one to whom he could donate some money and give him the Zakat of his wealth, but he will not find anyone who would accept it from him. People shall be needless due to the sustenance that the Almighty Allah would bestow to them generously…”
The complete text of this traditional report shall be quoted under the alphabet ‘Noon’ (N) in the topic of Noor (effulgence).
- 1. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 286
- 2. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 287
- 3. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 286
- 4. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 304
- 5. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 298
- 6. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 303
- 7. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 303
- 8. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 316
- 9. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 317
- 10. Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) says: Six days, perhaps imply different conditions of His Eminence in the period of his occultation, just as for six days no one was informed about the birth of His Eminence except very special people from his close aides. After six months his other companions were informed and then after six years, after the passing away of his respected father (as), many people came to know about the matter of His Eminence. After that his special representatives appeared…
- 11. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 323
- 12. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 330
- 13. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 338
- 14. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 339
- 15. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 342
- 16. Kamaluddin; Vol. 1, Pg. 359
- 17. Surah Shuara 26:4: Kamaluddin; Vol. 2, Pg. 471
- 18. Kamaluddin; Vol. 2, Pg. 377
- 19. Kamaluddin; Vol. 2, Pg. 380
- 20. Kamaluddin; Vol. 2, Pg. 384
- 21. Kamaluddin; Vol. 2, Pg. 516
- 22. Ilalush Sharai, Vol. 1, Pg. 245
- 23. Al-Ihtijaaj, Vol. 2, Pg. 284
- 24. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 140
- 25. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 51, Pg. 142
- 26. Ilalush Sharai, Pg. 147
- 27. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 51, Pg. 113
- 28. Al-Ihtijaaj, Vol. 2, Pg. 325
- 29. Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 514
- 30. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 53, Pg. 177
- 31. Ghaibat Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 32. Ghaibat Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 33. Al-Muhajja, Pg. 750
- 34. Ghaibat Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 35. Ghaibat Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 36. Ghaibat Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 37. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 289
- 38. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 111
- 39. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 380
- 40. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 155
- 41. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 156
- 42. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 154
- 43. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 155
- 44. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 154
- 45. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 151
- 46. Kamaluddin, Pg. 339
- 47. Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 336
- 48. Tabsiratul Wali printed with Ghayat al-Maraam, Pg. 778
- 49. Kashful Muhajja, Pg. 154
- 50. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 151
- 51. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 217
- 52. Kamaluddin, Vol. 1, Pg. 303
- 53. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 361
- 54. Surah Anfaal 8:39 & Surah Taubah 9:36
- 55. Al-Muhajja, Pg. 734