Our discussion on the duty for awaiting for the reappearance of Imam az-Zaman (aj) consists of a number of arguments and for each argument there are numerous supporting traditions. We have divided this topic into following:
Issue No. 1: Excellence of awaiting and the reward of the awaiter and the awaiting of the Holy Prophet (S) and the Imams regarding this:
Sufficient as an example is the statement of Imam Sajjad (as) in his supplication on the day of Arafah, in which he has prayed for those who await for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (aj); after which he prayed for Imam Mahdi (aj) also. In addition to this, there are many traditions that prove the excellence of Intezar.
1. There is a tradition of Imam Sadiq (as) in Kamaluddin: “One of you who dies awaiting for Imam Mahdi (aj) dies as if he was with him in his tent.”
2. It is narrated from Abul Hasan Imam Reza (as) that he said: “How good is patience and awaiting for the reappearance! Have you not heard Allah, the Mighty and Sublime say?
وَارْتَقِبُوا إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ رَقِيبٌ
And watch, surely I too am watching with you. (Qur’an, Surah Hud 11:93)
فَانْتَظِرُوا إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الْمُنْتَظِرِينَ
Wait then, I too with you will be of those who wait. (Qurah Surah Araaf 7:71)
Thus you must be patient because there is deliverance after despair and those before you were more patient than you.”1
3. In Basairud Darajat it is narrated through the author’s own chain of narrators from His Eminence, Imam Abu Abdullah Sadiq (as) that he said: Amirul Momineen (as) was traveling to Siffeen, and in order to cross the river Euphrates he reached a mountain near the Siffeen area when it was the time for Maghrib prayer. He waited for some moments and then performed the Wudhu and recited the Azaan.
When he concluded the Azaan the mountain split and a white head and a face emerged from the mountain and said: Peace be on you, O Amirul Momineen and the mercy and blessings of the Almighty Allah. Welcome, O successor of the Holy Prophet (S) and the leader of the bright faced ones. And the most valuable thing that has reached the people. O one who has achieved the divine rewards of the Siddiqeen!
O chief of the successors! Amirul Momineen (as) said: Peace be on you too, O my brother Shamoon, the successor of Isa bin Maryam, the holy spirit, how are you? He replied: I am fine, may Allah have mercy on you. I am awaiting for His Eminence, the spirit of Allah who will come down from the sky, and I don’t know of anyone who has undergone such hardships in the way of Allah as you have and one who would be eligible for more divine rewards tomorrow [in Qiyamat] and one having the most exalted status except you…2
I say: The aspect of presenting this traditional report is that it shows that His Eminence, Shamoon is awaiting for this reappearance.
And indeed to emulate the holy personalities and to follow them is something that the Almighty Allah likes very much and in addition to all that has been recorded about the excellence of Intezar (awaiting).
4. In Kamaluddin, it is narrated from Abi Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) from his forefathers from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said: “One who awaits for the reappearance of our Qaim is like one who rolls in his blood in the path of Allah.”3
5. It is also narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: “Fortunate are the Shias of our Qaim who during the period of his occultation wait for his reappearance and who obey him during the period of his reappearance. They are Awliya of Allah for whom there shall be neither fear nor grief.”4
6. It is narrated from Imam Sajjad (as) that he said: “Awaiting for the reappearance is the best worship act.”5
7. It is narrated that Abi Khalid Kabuli said: “I came to my master, Ali bin Husain Zainul Abideen (as) and said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, tell me about those personalities whose obedience and love Allah has made incumbent on His servants and that after the Messenger of Allah (S) they should follow them. The Imam said: O Kankar, The ones whom Allah has made as Ulil Amr (vested with authority) are Amirul Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) and after him, Imam Hasan (as), then Imam Husain (as), sons of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) till this position came to me. After that the Imam fell silent.
I said: My chief, it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (as) that the earth shall never be devoid of Proof of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime upon His creatures. So who is the Imam and Divine Proof after you? He replied: My son, Muhammad and in Taurat his name is Baqir (splitter) and he will expound knowledge. He will be the Divine Proof after me. And after him his son, Ja’far who will be famous among the folks of the heavens as Sadiq.
I said: My chief, why is he named Sadiq (truthful) while all of you are truthful? He replied: My father narrated to me from his father that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: When my great grandson, Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain bin Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) is born, name him Sadiq. One of his fifth descendants will be named Ja’far, who will falsely claim Imamate and attribute falsehood to the Almighty Allah. He would be Ja’far Kazzab in the view of Allah. He will claim something he is not worthy of. He will oppose his father and be jealous of his brother.
Taking undue advantage of the occultation of Divine Proof he will try to expose the secret of Allah. After that Imam Ali Ibne Husain (as) cried much and then said: “As if I can see Ja’far Kazzab helping the tyrant of the time to search for the Wali of Allah. He will try to spy on him and not knowing about the birth of Imam Qaim, he will become the executor of his father’s estate and will desire that were he to gain upper hand on the Qaim he will eliminate him; and will be greedy for his inheritance, till he usurps it wrongfully.” Abu Khalid says: I said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, is it a prediction? He replied: No, rather by Allah, it is written in the book in our possession that mentions the calamities that shall befall us after the Messenger of Allah (S). Abu Khalid says:
I asked: O son of Allah’s Messenger, what will happen after that? He replied: After that there will be a long occultation of the Wali of Allah and the twelfth successor of the Messenger of Allah (S). O Abu Khalid, during this period of occultation, those who believe in his Imamate and who await for his reappearance, they shall be better than the people of all times because Allah, the Mighty and Sublime would bestow them intelligence, understanding and recognition and for them occultation would be same as presence. Their status shall be like that of the holy warriors who fought under the command of the Messenger of Allah (S). It is they who are sincere and our true Shias. They shall call the people to the religion of Allah openly and secretly.6
8. In the Ghaibah of Shaykh Tusi it is narrated from Ghaibah of Fadl bin Shazan through the author’s own chain of narrators from Mufaddal bin Umar that he said: We discussed His Eminence, Qaim (aj) and about one of our co-religionists who dies awaiting for him. He Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) said: When the Qaim arises, they will come to the believer in the grave and he would be told: Indeed, your master has reappeared, so if you want you can join him and if you want you can remain in the honor given to you by Allah.7
9. In Kamaluddin, the author has narrated though his own chain of narrators that: Saqr bin Abi Dulf said: I heard Aba Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali ar-Reza (as) say: “The Imam after me is my son, Ali. His command is command of his father and his statement is statement of his father and his obedience is obedience of his father.
Then the Imam fell silent. Then he said: The Imam after him will be his son, Hasan. His command is command of his father and his statement is statement of his father and his obedience is obedience of his father. After this Imam (as) became silent. The narrator asked: ‘O son of Allah’s Messenger, who will be the Imam after Hasan?’ Imam (as) started weeping profusely and said: ‘After him, his son Qaim (aj) will be the Imam’. He will be in Ghaibat and pious and sincere people will await his reappearance while those in doubt will deny him and will ridicule his remembrance (Zikr). Those who will hasten will be destroyed and those who submit will be successful.”8
10. It is narrated from Ali bin Mahziyar that he said: I wrote to Abil Hasan of Askar (Imam Hadi a.s.) and asked him about the reappearance. In reply he wrote: “When your Imam disappears from the land of the oppressors you must await for the reappearance.”
11. In Usool Kafi it is narrated from Abu Baseer that he said: I asked His Eminence, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as): May I be sacrificed on you, when will the reappearance be? He replied: O Abu Baseer, you are also of those who desire the world. One who knows this matter, for him is Faraj because of his awaiting.9
I say: Apparently, since ‘Faraj’ means to support the Imam and fight Jihad alongside him, Imam Sadiq (as) has said that this aim is achieved for the Shias because they are the awaiters of Faraj and he pointed out that it is necessary and appropriate that by Faraj he implies this great matter and not achieving of selfish desires and carnal pleasures – as most people are having this behavior – and that which supports this would be mentioned in Issue Four.
12. In Biharul Anwar it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said: Await for the reappearance and do not despair of the mercy of Allah, indeed the deed liked best by Allah, the Mighty and Sublime is to await for the reappearance.10
13. It is also narrated from His Eminence, that he said: One who acts on our command will tomorrow [in Qiyamat] be with us in Khazeeratul Quds [loftiest station in Paradise] and one who awaits for our kingdom is like one who rolls in his blood on the path of Allah.11
14. It is narrated from Faid bin al-Mukhtar from His Eminence, Abi Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: Whoever from among you dies waiting for reappearance is like one who has been with His Eminence, the Qaim (aj) in his tent. Then he paused for a moment and then said: Rather he is like one who fights in the service of His Eminence. Then he said: By Allah, he is like one who is martyred in the company of the Holy Prophet (S).12
15. His Eminence, Abi Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) narrates from his forefathers from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said: The best worship act for a person is to await for the Faraj (relief) from the Almighty Allah.
16. In Kafi, it is narrated through correct chain of narrators from Abdullah bin Mughira that he said: Muhammad bin Abdullah asked His Eminence, Imam Ali Reza (as) and I heard that he said: My father narrated to me from his family from his forefathers that a man asked an Imam: There is a place of Rabat in my area which is known as Qazwin and there is an enemy who calls it Dailam, is Jihad or Rabat obligatory on us? His Eminence replied: It is obligatory on you to perform the Hajj of this House (Holy Kaaba). The questioner repeated his question. His Eminence again said: It is obligatory on you to perform the Hajj of this House. Is one of you not satisfied that he remains in his house and that he should spend on his family from his labor wait for our matter?
Thus if he lives till that time he would be like one has participated in the Battle of Badr alongside the Messenger of Allah (S) and if he dies awaiting for our kingdom, he would be like one who is present with our Qaim (aj) in his tent – and he joined his two fingers – and I don’t say that they are like these two fingers (one of which is bigger than the other). Abu Hasan Imam Ali Reza (as) said: It is right.13
I say: This traditional report does not contradict those reports which state that Marabata is recommended even in the period of occultation, because apparently the questioner was asking about the reward of Marabata and Jihad, then Imam (as) mentioned Hajj and awaiting, which implied that the reward of Jihad, Rabat and Hajj, all would be given to him, while if he performs only Marabata he will not get the reward of Hajj. That which supports this matter is what the Imam said: It is obligatory on you to perform the Hajj of this House. And he didn’t say: Don’t perform Marabata or that it is not allowed, or that it is not permissible etc. and the Almighty Allah knows best.14
17. In Tafseer Nomani, it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: O Abul Hasan, it befits the Almighty to send the deviated people to Paradise, by which he meant: Those who during the time of mischief stand up in following an Imam whose location is secret and who is unseen by the people. Thus they accept his Imamate and remain attached to him and await for his reappearance. They are so certain that no doubt comes to them. 15
They are patient and submissive and they are lost only because they have not seen their Imam. That which supports this is the saying that the Almighty Allah hides the eye of the sun, which he has appointed as a sign of prayer time, from the people. He gives them more time to pray, till they come to know that the sun has set. In the same way is the person who is awaiting for the advent of Imam (as), as he has accepted his Imamate and all the duties are obligatory on him he accepts with all his penalties. And he does not consider them beyond the scope of duties. Thus he is patient and the Ghaibat of the Imam will not harm his faith.
18. In Kamaluddin, it is narrated from Muhammad bin Noman that he said: Abi Abdullah (as) said to me: “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.”16
19. It is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) regarding the following verse:
الم . ٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ . الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ
Alif Lam Mim. This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil). Those who believe in the unseen. (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:1-2)
That he said: ‘Those who guard against evil’ are the Shias of Ali (as) and ‘unseen’ is the unseen Hujjat and that which proves this is the statement of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime:
فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا الْغَيْبُ لِلَّهِ فَانْتَظِرُوا إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الْمُنْتَظِرِينَ
And they say: Why is not a sign sent to him from his Lord? Say: The unseen is only for Allah; therefore wait- surely I too, with you am of those who wait. (Qur’an, Surah Yunus 10:20)
20. In Usool Kafi, through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) that he said: He has not suffered any loss, one who dies waiting for our kingdom; he does not die in the tent of His Eminence, Mahdi (aj) with his soldiers.17
21. In the tradition of Ammar Sabati, which we shall mention later, Insha Allah, it is mentioned that Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) said: Indeed, by Allah, O Ammar, none of you dies on our Wilayat (waiting for the reappearance) but that he is rewarded by Allah with reward equal to many of the martyrs of Badr and Uhad; thus congratulations to you.18
22. In the same book, it is narrated from Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) that he said in a tradition: And know that one who awaits for the reappearance earns the reward of one who fasts in the days and prays all nights. Thus one who lives till the time of the advent of our Qaim and joins his forces, and eliminates his enemies, earns the reward of twenty martyrs; one who is martyred in the company of our Qaim, earns the reward of twenty-five martyrs.19
23. In Majmaul Bayan, it is narrated from Harith bin Mughaira that he said: I was in the company of Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) when he said: One who recognizes this matter and awaits for it considering it good, is like one who by Allah, fights Jihad alongside the Qaim of Aale Muhammad. Then he said: Rather, by Allah, one who fights Jihad in the service of the Messenger of Allah (S). Then he said the third time: By Allah, he is like one who is martyred in the tent of the Messenger of Allah (S).20
24. In Tafseer Burhan, it is narrated from Hasan bin Hamza from his father Abu Hamza [Thumali] that he said: I asked Abi Abdullah Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as): May I be sacrificed on you, I have reached old age, my bones have gone weak and my death has come near and I fear that I would die before the coming of your kingdom. The Imam said: O Abu Hamza, one who brings faith in us and testifies to our sayings, and sits in anticipation of our rule, is like one who is killed under the banner of the Qaim (aj)’ rather by Allah, he is like one who is martyred under the banner of the Messenger of Allah (S).21
25. In Kamaluddin, it is narrated from, Mufaddal bin Umar that he said: I heard as-Sadiq Ja’far bin Muhammad say: “One who dies awaiting for the reappearance is like one who is with the Qaim in his tent, rather he is like one who fights the holy war under the command of the Messenger of Allah (S).”22
26. In Tafseer Burhan, through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Masad that he said: I was in the company of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) when a very old man taking the support of a walking stick, came there, saluted and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) replied to him. The man said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, give me your hand so that I may kiss it. So His Eminence gave his hand and he kissed it, then he began to weep. His Eminence, Sadiq (as) asked: O elderly man, why do you weep? He replied: May I be sacrificed on you, O son of Allah’s Messenger, I have waited a hundred years for the advent of your Qaim, saying it would be this month, this year even though I have reached old age and my bones have weakened and my death has come near and I have not yet seen that which I hope for you. I have seen you all being killed and rendered homeless while your enemies scaled heights of power, so why should I not weep?
The eyes of His Eminence, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) filled with tears and he said: O elderly one, if Allah keeps you alive till you see our Qaim, you will have a great status and if your death comes, on Judgment Day you will be raised with important trusts of Muhammad (S) and we are his important trusts as indeed His Eminence said: I leave behind among you two weighty things, so remain attached to them and you will never go astray, they are the book of Allah and my progeny my Ahle Bayt. The elderly man said: Now that I have heard this report I have got peace of mind. Then the Imam Sadiq (as) said: O elderly one, know that our Qaim will be born from the loins of Hasan Askari and Hasan will be born to Ali and Ali from Muhammad, and Muhammad from Ali and Ali from my son, Musa and Musa is my son; we are twelve and all of us are pure and infallible…23
27. In Rauda Kafi, it is narrated through the author’s own chain of narrators from Ishaq bin Ammar that he said: Narrated to me one of our associates from Hakam bin Utaibah that he said: When I was in the company of Imam Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) the house was full of people; at that time an old man arrived supporting himself with a walking stick and standing at the door said: Peace be on you, O son of Allah’s Messenger and the mercy and blessings of Allah. Then he fell silent. He Abu Ja’far Imam Baqir (as) said: And peace be on you and the mercy and blessings of Allah. Then the old man faced the audience and said: Peace be on you all. They all replied to his salutation.
The man turned to Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) and said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, may I be sacrificed on you, allow me a place near you because I love you and love those who love you. By Allah, My love for you and for those who love you is not for material benefits. I am inimical to your enemies and aloof from them. By Allah, my enmity of them and aloofness from them is not due to personal hatred between us. By Allah, I follow your commands and prohibition and anticipate your rule. So tell me, may I be sacrificed on you, how do you think my end would be?
His Eminence, Imam Baqir (as) said: To me. To me! And he made the old man sit on his side. Then he said: O elderly one, a man also came to my father Ali bin Husain (as) and posed a question like you. My father told him: If you die you will go and meet the Messenger of Allah (S), Ali, Hasan, Husain and Ali bin Husain and your heart will be cooled and your eye will be refreshed and you will see salvation with the two scribe angels before you when the time of your death comes – and he pointed to his throat – and if you remain alive you will see what will refresh your eyes and you will be with us in the lofty Paradise. The man asked: How do you say that, O Abu Ja’far?
His Eminence, Baqir (as) repeated his statement. The old man said: Allah is the greatest, O Abu Ja’far, if I die I will go and meet the Messenger of Allah (S), Ali, Hasan, Husain and Ali bin Husain and my heart will be cooled and my eye will be refreshed and I will see salvation with the two scribe angels welcoming me when my life comes here – and he pointed to his throat – and if I remain alive I will see what will refresh my eyes and I will be with you in the lofty Paradise. Then the old man wept and wailed much and fell to the ground. Seeing him in this condition, all the people present there also began to weep.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) wiped off his tears; he raised his head and said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, give me your hand, may I be sacrificed on you. The Imam gave his hand. He kissed the Imam’s hand and put it to his eyes and face; then he moved the cloth from his stomach and chest and rubbed it there also. Then he arose and said: Peace be on you. Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) looked at him and he departed from there. The Imam addressed the audience and said: One who likes to look at an inmate of Paradise should look at this man. Hakam bin Utaibah said: I have not seen so much weeping and wailing in any gathering as I saw in that gathering.24
A tradition of Al-Kafi narrated from Ismail Jofi is sufficient to prove this point. Imam (aj) said to a person who came to him with a piece of paper, “This is letter of a debater who has posed a question to the correct faith.” The newcomer said, “May Allah have mercy on you, you guessed correctly.” Imam (aj) said, “Confess to the creed that there is no deity except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger. And testify to the veracity of all that is revealed by Allah. Imbibe the Wilayat of our household, have enmity towards our enemies, submit to our command, cultivate piety and humility and await for our Qaim. There is a great kingdom in our fate. When Allah wills He will establish it.”25
In the same book it is narrated from Abul Jarood that he said: I asked Abu Ja’far Baqir (as): O son of Allah’s Messenger, do you know my devotion and love towards yourself? He replied: Yes. I said: I have asked you about some thing, so please reply to me, because I am blind and I walk very less and I cannot come to meet you whenever I like. The Imam said: Repeat your question. I said: Tell me about your faith so that I may also follow it.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) said: Though you have asked in short, the question is very important. By Allah, I will tell you about the faith of my forefathers and me; it is: To testify that there is no one worthy of worship, except the Almighty Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and to accept all that has come from Allah, and to believe in our Wilayat and to be aloof from our enemies and to accept our command and to await for our Qaim and to do what we command and keep away from that which we prohibit.26
In Ghaibat Nomani it is narrated through the author’s own chain of narrators from Abu Baseer that he related from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: “Shall I not tell you that which Allah does not accept any deed from the people except with it? The narrator said, “Yes, please do.” He said: “Witnessing that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, submitting to the orders of Allah, believing in the guardianship of the infallible imams, submitting to them especially, and disavowing their enemies, piety, sincerity of faith and waiting for al-Qaim (aj).
There will be a state for us, Ahle Bayt. Allah achieves that when He wills. Whoever likes to be one of al-Qaim’s companions has to wait while being pious and acting morally. If that one dies before the advent of al-Qaim (aj), he will be rewarded as if he has accompanied al-Qaim (aj). Try your best (in being pious) and wait. How lucky you are, O you the mercified group!”27
I say: It is possible that the words, “to them especially” are the Imam’s and it is also possible that they are Abu Baseer’s. And since it implies such a Wilayat that one should consider the Imam as his leader in all matters and that it is obligatory to follow him in all instances, His Eminence said: Wilayat is obligatory of one whom Allah has specially bestowed with Imamate and infallibility and not all who are related to the Holy Prophet (S). In the same way it is obligatory to be inimical to the enemies of Imam (as) even though they be from the progeny of the Messenger of Allah (S) or others.
That which proves that awaiting for the reappearance is an obligatory duty, is the traditional report that Shaykh Sadooq has mentioned in Kamaluddin through his own chain of narrators from Abdul Azeem Hasani that he said: I came to my chief, Muhammad bin Ali bin Musa bin Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain Ibne Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) and wanted to ask him regarding the Qaim, that whether he is the Mahdi or someone else. The Imam began the conversation and said: “O Abal Qasim, the Qaim is from us and he is the Mahdi. It is obligatory to wait for him in his occultation and to obey him in his appearance. He is the third from my descendants…”28
In the same book, through two chains of narrators, it is narrated from Abi Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) 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. These doubts will reign supreme over the hearts of evil ones.”29
Awaiting is a psychological condition of the person who is waiting for someone. The opposite of Intezar is usually expressed as despair etc. Thus the more hopeful you are for the arrival of a particular person, the more particular you shall be in making arrangements to receive him. And as the time of his arrival nears, you become more expectant and eager for him. So much so, that one ultimately starts spending sleepless nights. The more a person is attached to the one whom he is expecting, the more severe and painful his wait shall be. Therefore those who are waiting for their Imam (as) their waiting is proportionate to their love for him.
On the basis of this a believer who awaits for the reappearance of our master, the more difficult is the Intezar, the more he will try to practice piety and train his self, give up the bad traits so that he may be rewarded with seeing the Imam of the Time (aj).
Therefore the Holy Imam (as) have emphasized this matter in many traditions. Rather the traditional report of Abu Baseer says that you can achieve the status of true Intezar only if you are pious and keep away from sins. Thus Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said: One who wants to be a companion of the Qaim, should await for him and in the condition of awaiting, he should be pious and perform righteous deeds; in case he dies and the Qaim reappears after that, his reward is same as that of one who lives till the time of His Eminence.
And without any doubt as difficult is the Intezar, as much its practitioner will be rewarded by Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. May the Almighty Allah make us sincere awaiters of our master, the leader of the time (aj).
The reply to this question is based on two prefaces:
First Preface: Divine commands are of three types:
One: Acts of worship where we know that intention of seeking Allah’s proximity is necessary, e.g. Prayers.
Two: The action which is not a direct act of worship. Like the cleaning of ones dress from Najasat (impurity). Here our intention is just to complete a particular job.
Three: Some acts about whom it is not known whether they are to be included in worship acts for Allah. In the first two types the command is crystal clear and as for the last type, if a person performs that particular act with the intention of seeking Allah’s nearness he would be rewarded for it and if he performs it without the said intention he will not qualify for any rewards.
However, he shall not be liable for any punishment either. And the difference between these lawful acts, which one can perform with the intention of Allah, is that here an absolute command is related to it. Whereas in case of permissible acts there is no absolute command for them. Since the obligation is that they are lawful, rather, from this aspect the command with relation to them is clear, that they are with relation to a obligatory command.
Second Preface: To follow any command with the intention of Allah’s obedience, whatever may be the cause. That is, for the love of Allah, for thanking Allah, for obtaining His nearness, desire for divine rewards, fear of divine chastisement. As there are various grades of this;30 each is higher than the other and each has its own method. And the condition of intention is must for all as mentioned in the following verse of Qur’an:
فَاعْبُدِ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصاً لَّهُ الدِّينَ..
Therefore serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience.. (Qur’an, Surah Zumar 39:2)
Among the authentic traditions in this regard is one quoted in Usool Kafi from Imam Zainul Abideen (as) that he said: No deed is correct without an intention.31 And also, in Wasail, through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam Musa Kazim (as) from his forefathers from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said: Indeed, deeds are related to intentions and each will get according to his intention. One who participated in a battle for the sake of getting divine rewards will be rewarded by Allah, the Mighty and Sublime and one how goes for getting booty will get only that.32
In the same book it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: Allah, the Mighty and Sublime said: I am the best partner. If one performs a deed taking a partner other than Me, I won’t accept it, except from one who does it solely for Me.33
Other traditions on the subject have also been collected by the scholars of traditions – may Allah have mercy on them. Now that you have understood this, you should also know that, that which is nearest to the view is that the awaiting that has been ordered in traditional reports is of three types as follows:
First: It is that the awaiter means one who obeys the Almighty Allah whether his aim is obedience, hope or anticipation of reward that is promised in traditions or some other motive.
Second: That his motive in awaiting is to obey a command so that he may be rewarded in material way or in the hereafter, however the aim of reward is secondary and subservient to the aim of obedience. (it means that the actual aim in Intezar is obedience and following it the aim is for rewards).
These two types enable one to obtain all rewards that are mentioned in traditional reports and it is appropriate that a believer should choose the first type which is the best of all that we have explained.
Third: It is that Intezar could imply eligibility for reward and spiritual or worldly benefits from the aspect that he knows that he would have the necessities of life, a long life span, a wide sustenance and many bounties and not have any grief and sorrow in the period of reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) because he only wanted this and didn’t have obedience of the Almighty Allah in view.
Fourth: The converse of type two (that is he only aimed to get the reward for awaiting and always did not want to obey the command of Almighty Allah).
The apparent meaning is that he will not get the two types of eligibility of reward that is promised in these traditions, because eligibility is the reward of worship and is related to the aim of obedience as you have seen in the explanation of the traditional report. And the supposition is that the command should not change with aim of servitude, thus awaiting for him will not be worship.
And just as he will not become eligible for reward in the same way he will also not be eligible for punishment, because I don’t know if the exigency of awaiting is found only in doing it with the intention of proximity, rather the apparent study of traditional reports shows that it denotes not being despaired of the Imam’s advent. Therefore Amirul Momineen (as) in a tradition that we quoted in the first point said: “Be an awaiter of the Faraj and do not despair of divine mercy…” and the apparent import of Imam’s statement, “do not despair”, is explanation of first stage of Intezar.
This is also indicated in the saying of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) to Abu Baseer that, “O Abu Baseer, are you of those who want the world…and in this way he has objected to him and meant to ask if he was such that he wanted worldly benefits from Intezar?
It shows that if one is doing Intezar for gaining only worldly benefits, it is not deserving of punishment. This matter can also be compared to many deeds, like visiting a believer, visiting a sick person, attending a funeral, fulfilling the needs of brother in faith etc. all of them are such that if a person performs them not with intention of servitude to the Almighty, he would be deserving of punishment. Thus the eligibility of all of them is related to the intention of servitude. So think upon this.
If it is said: It is possible to think that the aim of proximity is obligatory in Intezar, and its opposite is illegal, as mentioned in a tradition in Tohaful Uqool, in which Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) has said to Mufaddal bin Umar: People are of three types with regard to us: A group is having love for us and is awaiting for the reappearance of our Qaim as long as they enjoy their world and they say it and they learn our statements by heart and they are deficient in keeping up with our character; these the ones that the Almighty Allah will gather towards the Fire…
I will say: This is a quality of the hypocrites to verbally express loyalty to the family of infallibility and deny it from the heart. That is the meaning of the Imam’s words: “and they say it” as is clear. On the basis of this the implication is that: These people are hypocrites and only verbally express our love so that when the Qaim arises they can get their worldly benefits although their actions do not match their words and this proves that they are hypocrites. And their final destination is Hell. It is the same people who are mentioned in traditional reports that regarding them His Eminence, the Qaim will order that they be eliminated while they would be standing on one side, and Allah knows best.
Type One: To be absolutely hopeless of the reappearance of Hazrat Qaim (aj) is definitely haraam. The belief in the reappearance of Imam (as) is a necessity of Shia Imamiya faith. Rather there is a great possibility that it is a fundamental of Islam because traditional reports regarding this matter have come down from the Holy Prophet (S) to the extent of Tawatur, through Shia as well as Sunni channels.
Rather the Sunni scholars are unanimous on this point and they only differ regarding the fact whether the Mahdi has taken birth already or he will be born in the future. On the basis of this, complete denial of the Mahdi will tantamount to denial of the Holy Prophet (S). That which proves this is the statement of Ibne Abil Hadid that Allamah Majlisi has quoted in Biharul Anwar that he said: All Muslim denominations agree that the world and religious laws will not end but after the advent of Mahdi (aj).34
Type Two: Hopelessness from the advent of the Qaim (aj) in the appointed period due to some notions; like one says: His Eminence, the Qaim (aj) will not reappear for another 50 years and the requirement of this notion is not to await for the reappearance for another 50 years, whereas according to traditions we are supposed to await for the reappearance, day and night. Thus this type of hopelessness is also unlawful because apparent command is obligatory and omitting an obligatory thing is Haraam.
As for traditions that prove this matter, we have mentioned some of them above and also the traditional report of Hammad bin Uthman in Iqbal, quoting from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: Await for reappearance of your master, day and night, as the Almighty Allah is doing something every day and one work does not prevent Him from doing another, as we mentioned in Part Six.35
Also in Biharul Anwar it is narrated from Mufaddal bin Umar from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) 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…36
For example: In the same way it is mentioned in Biharul Anwar quoting from Qummi from his father from Muhammad bin Fudail from his father from Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) that he asked the Imam: May I be sacrificed on you, thus when would this happen? Imam (as) replied: We have not been informed about any fixed time for this.
But you should know that when we tell you something and that is fulfilled, you should say: Allah and His Messenger told the truth. And if that is not fulfilled, you should still say: Allah and His Messenger told the truth. In this way you will be rewarded twice. Then he said: But when hunger and poverty increases and people will deny each other, at that time you should await for the reappearance day and night. The narrator asked: What does, “people will deny each other” means? The Imam said: When a person approaches other the former will not meet him cheerfully, like he used to do previously and neither would he talk to him with the same courtesy as he used to do before.37
I say: The implication of ‘waiting for reappearance day and night’ means that at any possible moment the promised reappearance of the Imam may happen. Therefore it is necessary to continue to wait as without any doubt the Imam can appear on any day in any year by the order of the Almighty Allah, therefore it is obligatory on all to be in anticipation of the Imam’s reappearance.
For example according to traditional reports it is prohibited to fix a time for reappearance and we would quote them from this aspect only, because the demand of negating the reappearance in a particular time frame of years and months is itself an act of fixing the time. By the passing of the same time period and it is haraam in view of the sayings of the Imam. And that which supports this are different types of traditions related from the Holy Imams (as).
For example: There are traditions that prove that the time of reappearance of His Eminence (aj) is among the tentative matters, and it is possible that it may be sooner or later, depending on the exigency of the Almighty Allah as our master, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) has mentioned in a tradition to Hammad bin Uthman that we have narrated above and other traditional reports mentioned above also prove the same.
For example: There are traditions which advise armed readiness and Marabata all the time since if one follows these instructions he can never be hopeless of reappearance as mentioned in other traditional reports.
For example: That which is mentioned through the author’s own chain of narrators in Usool Kafi, that Yaqteen tells his son, Ali bin Yaqteen: How is it that, that which was told regarding our kingdom (Bani Abbas) has been fulfilled, and that which was mentioned about your true kingdom has not been fulfilled?
Ali said: What had been said to you and what had been said to us were from the same source but the time of your matter came and it occurred as it had been said to you whereas the time of our matter did not come yet so we justified that by hopes and wishes. If it was said to us that this matter would occur after two hundred or three hundred years, our hearts would be hard and then most people would apostize but they said to us that it would be so near in order to attract the hearts of people and to make them feel that deliverance was about to come.38
In Biharul Anwar quoting from Ghaibat Nomani and Ghaibat Tusi a similar type of report is mentioned,39 and in Ilalush Sharai, through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Ali bin Yaqteen that: I asked Imam Musa Kazim (as): How is it that the prophecies regarding you have not been fulfilled while all the prophecies regarding your enemies have been fulfilled? He replied: What was prophesied regarding our enemies was true, thus what was mentioned was fulfilled; but since you were eager for it, it has been mentioned to you.
Also, in Ghaibat Nomani it is narrated from Abu Marhaf that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said: The Mahazeer will be destroyed. I asked: What is Mahazeer? He replied: Those who make haste will perish and those nearest to Allah will be saved…40
In the same book it is narrated from Abu Ja’far Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) that he said: “Those who make haste will perish and ‘those who consider it near’ will be saved…”41 Since apparently ‘those who consider it near’ means the believers who expect the reappearance to be very soon and they are always waiting. That which supports this matter is a statement of Dua Ahad narrated by Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as): “They (the disbelievers) consider it to be distant while we consider it to be near…”42
Another reason for keeping the time of reappearance of His Eminence, confidential is that believers may await for it all the time and every year as indicated in the traditional report of Ibne Yaqteen.
Moreover, there is a traditional report that says that the reappearance of His Eminence (aj) is like the ‘hour’ whose timing is known to only the Almighty Allah as mentioned before.
Also, there are traditional reports that show that the reappearance of His Eminence (aj) would come all of a sudden, like the statement of His Eminence in the epistle mentioned in Ihtijaj that he wrote: Indeed, our reappearance would be sudden, and then repentance of anyone would be of no use…43 and a tradition of the Prophet: Mahdi is from us, the Almighty Allah will reform his affairs in a single night. Another tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) says: “he would appear like a shooting star.” It is also narrated from Imam Reza (as) that the Messenger of Allah (S) was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (S), when is the Qaim from your progeny going to rise?’ He said, ‘His example is like the example of the Hour:
None but He shall manifest it at its time. It will be momentous in the heavens and the earth. It will not come on you but suddenly.44
In Usool Kafi it is narrated from Imam Ali Reza (as) that he said: “When your knowledge [leader] disappears from amongst you, prepare yourselves for the release from [your] suffering [appearing] beneath your feet [i.e., from among yourselves].”45
I say: Apparently the words of His Eminence: ‘beneath your feet’ imply abruptness, on the basis of this it is obligatory to expect relief at every possible moment.
If it is said: If this reappearance of His Eminence (aj) is sudden then does it not contradict traditional reports that abound in stating that the Imam’s advent will be preceded by many signs, like the coming out of Sufyani, call from the sky and killing of Nafse Zakiyyah etc?
I will say:
Firstly; awaiting, which is necessary for the reappearance is in fact awaiting for itself, thus when you indeed know that the reappearance of His Eminence will occur after some signs are seen, it is nothing but that the awaiter awaits for these signs, because those signs are signs of the reappearance of His Eminence Qaim (aj).
In short, the awaiting that is emphasized in traditions is awaiting for the reappearance of our master, even though it is having signs and portents as is clear for the intelligent persons, and to explain further we can present an example: If an important personality promises you that he would visit your house in any day next week, will you not start to gather means of refreshments and decoration right from the start of the week?
Will you not await for him and expect him since then? Such that all those who come to you will be honored, so that you will not counted as a bad host. While you know that when he really comes there would be signs and these signs are not separate from himself. So the awaiter is one who awaits for all the necessary requirements.
Secondly; the apparent meaning of numerous traditions that are narrated from the Holy Imams (as), is that: All those signs will appear the same year, thus it is obligatory that the believer should be prepared for the reappearance all the year, as it is possible that the advent will take place that year, rather the traditional reports imply that all those happenings will occur very close to each other.
Regarding Sufyani, it is narrated in Biharul Anwar from Imam Zainul Abideen (as) in the description of signs of reappearance that: Before his advent, a man will appear whose name is Auf Salmi, in the land of Jazira, who will stay in Tikrit and will be killed in the Masjid of Damascus; after that will appear Shuaib bin Salih from Samarqand; at that time will appear the accursed Sufyani from the valley of Yabis, and he would be from the progeny of Utba bin Abu Sufyan; and when Sufyani appears, the Mahdi will go into concealment, after that he will appear again.46
I say: It can be concluded from this traditional report that the advent of His Eminence Qaim (aj) is contemporary with the rise of Sufyani or very close to that and it does not contradict the numerous traditions that the rule of Sufyani will last for eight months and when it is mentioned that the Sufyani will appear before the advent of the Qaim, it implies that advent when the Qaim will appear openly in Kaaba and his appearance to one and all because traditions state that before this complete reappearance the Qaim will have a number of advents as mentioned before also.
With regard to the killing Nafse Zakiyyah it is narrated from Abi Abdullah as-Sadiq (as) that he said: “There will be only a gap of fifteen days between the rising of the Qaim of Aale Muhammad and the killing of the Pure Soul (Nafse Zakiyyah).”47
Type Three: Despair of seeing the reappearance in near future; that is one denies that the reappearance will happen soon, as is the condition of some people of our times, those who base their beliefs on probabilities and notions and that which proves such a type of hopelessness unlawful is same that which prove the second type as haraam because it is clearly mentioned in traditions that a believer should expect the advent to occur any time and in any year, even though there may be other reasons also and only the Almighty Allah is aware of all facts.
- 1. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 645, Chapter 55, Tr. No. 5
- 2. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 280, Tr. No. 16
- 3. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 645, Chapter 55, Tr. No. 6
- 4. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 357, Chapter 33, Tr. No. 54
- 5. Kamaluddin, Vol. 1, Pg. 320, Chapter 31, Tr. No. 2
- 6. Kamaluddin, Vol. 1, Pg. 319
- 7. Al-Ghaibah, Pg. 276
- 8. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 378, Chapter 36, Tr. No. 3
- 9. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1 Pg. 371
- 10. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 123, Chapter 22, Tr. No. 7
- 11. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 123, Chapter 22, Tr. No. 7
- 12. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 126 Tr. No. 18
- 13. Furu Kafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 22, Tr. No. 2
- 14. Perhaps the Imam meant that Jihad is not lawful except with the Imam’s permission, and this depends on reappearance of the Imam.
- 15. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 339, Chapter 33, Tr. No. 17
- 16. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 340, Chapter 33, Tr. No. 20
- 17. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1 Pg. 372, Tr. No. 6
- 18. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1 Pg. 334, Tr. No. 2
- 19. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2 Pg. 222, Tr. No. 4
- 20. Majma al-Bayan, Vol. 9, Pg. 238
- 21. Al-Burhan; Sayyid Hashim Bahrani; Vol. 4, Pg. 293
- 22. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 338, Tr. No. 11
- 23. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 36, Pg. 408, Tr. No. 17; Kifayatul Athar, Pg. 35
- 24. Raudatul Kafi; Pg. 76, Tr. No. 30
- 25. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 22, Tr. No. 13
- 26. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 21, Tr. No. 10
- 27. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 133
- 28. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 377, Chapter 36, Tr. No. 1
- 29. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 339, Chapter 33, Tr. No. 16
- 30. Surah Isra 17:2
- 31. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 84, Chapter of Niyyat, Tr. No. 1
- 32. Wasailush Shia, Vol. 1, Pg. 34, Tr. No. 10
- 33. Wasailush Shia, Vol. 1, Pg. 44, Chapter 8, Tr. No. 9
- 34. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 51, Pg. 114, Tr. No. 10
- 35. Iqbal, Pg. 201
- 36. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 145, Tr. No. 67
- 37. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 185, Signs of Reappearance, Tr. No. 9
- 38. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 369, Tr. No. 6
- 39. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 111, Chapter 21, Tr. No. 18
- 40. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 103
- 41. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 104
- 42. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 102, Pg. 112
- 43. Al-Ihtijaaj, Shaykh Tabarsi, Vol. 2, Pg. 324
- 44. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 373
- 45. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 341, Chapter of Ghaibat, Tr. No. 24
- 46. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 213
- 47. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 649