Arranging for and being steadfast in praying for early reappearance of our Master of the Time (aj) fulfilling its conditions would be cause of its happening sooner.
The evidence of this is a tradition mentioned in Biharul Anwar and other books quoting from Ayyashi from Fazl bin Abi Qurrah that he said:
I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) say: “The Almighty Allah sent revelation to Ibrahim that a son would be born to him. He (Ibrahim) conveyed this to Lady Sarah. Sarah said: Would I give birth to a child, while I have become an old woman? Then the Almighty Allah revealed to Ibrahim that: She (Sarah) would give birth to a child and her children would be subject to divine punishment due to her doubt in My statement.”
Imam Sadiq (as) said: “When chastisement and calamities increased on Bani Israel, they lamented and supplicated in the court of the Almighty for forty days, then the Almighty Allah sent revelation to Moosa and Haroon to deliver Bani Israel and He advanced this by 170 years.”
(The narrator says): Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said:
“In the same way if you also do this, the Almighty Allah would definitely give us deliverance. But if you don’t, this matter would indeed reach its natural end.”1
You should know that some conclusions can be derived from this tradition:
Actions that are performed by a person – be they good or bad – its consequences affect his children and his grandchildren as Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) has mentioned in the interpretation of the following verse:
وَأَمَّا الْجِدَارُ فَكَانَ لِغُلَامَيْنِ يَتِيمَيْنِ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ وَكَانَ تَحْتَهُ كَنْزٌ لَهُمَا وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا فَأَرَادَ رَبُّكَ أَنْ يَبْلُغَا أَشُدَّهُمَا وَيَسْتَخْرِجَا كَنْزَهُمَا رَحْمَةً مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۚ
“And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father was a righteous man; so your Lord desired that they should attain their maturity and take out their treasure.” (Qur’an, Surah Kahf 18:82)
Imam says: “Those two orphans were separated by their real parents by seven generations.”
And this is due to the great wisdom that is hidden from us like numerous things that are not told to us though some of them are explained to us – in traditional reports of the Holy Infallibles (as).
If you say: Without any doubt, the reaching of good and bounties to the children of a person in fact reverts to him and it is a favor done to him due to the love and affection man has for his children and progeny. Rather, often it is seen that man, rather all living things consider good done to their offspring better than if it had been done to themselves, in their lifetime or after their death. In the same way it is mentioned in traditions that: The souls of the believers come to see their children. If they see them in comfort and peace they are pleased and if they see them in hardships, they are aggrieved by it. And other traditions also prove the subject of our discussion. But to punish or subject to hardships children for the offences of their ancestors is something that neither reason nor Qur’an agrees to.
Reason considers it injustice and injustice is a defect that Allah cannot be associated with. In the Holy Qur’an it is also mentioned:
وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ
“And no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another.” (Qur’an, Surah Anaam 6:164)
I say: When people are involved in hardships and calamities it is sometimes a penalty for their sins and mistakes and sometimes a means of elevating their status and increasing their rewards. Thus it is possible that the Almighty Allah may involve some people in calamities and hardships to serve as a penalty for the sins of their parents who on seeing that would become aggrieved and thus pay the penalty of their sins. While on the other hand it would be a kind of favor on those who are involved in calamities and hardships as through it their status would be elevated and their rewards in the hereafter would be increased. And this is in no way against justice and favor. Rather it is a sort of favor on man.
That which proves this meaning is the statement of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) in reply to Mufaddal bin Umar – who was a close confidant of the Imam – on his question about the benefits and merits of human senses and the disadvantages of their absence:
Then why some people do not have these organs that they get the disadvantages mentioned by you? Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said: It is for the admonition of the person lacking them and of the other people as well; that the monarch admonishes his subjects in such a way that such an admonition is hardly resented, rather it is appreciated as a stratagem and is eulogized.
People who are thus affected will be recompensed after death, provided they are grateful to Allah and they turn to Him, so munificently that all the troubles undergone by them due to the lack of such organs will appear trivial in comparison, so much so, that if after death they are allowed the choice to return to those troubles they would welcome the opportunity to earn higher recompense…
It can be answered in another way also: Allah, the Mighty and Sublime has for the exigency destined that there should be calamities and hardships, but He made the removal of those calamities and tragedies conditional and dependant on the performance of special acts by the parents or by that person himself and since that condition is not realized, divine destiny will continue.
On the basis of this, calamities that befall them as their recompense would not be as a result of the deeds of their parents that such a doubt may be applicable. Rather it is on the basis of some factual wisdoms present in every matter to some extent. I learnt about this aspect from a special friend of mine.
The second point that can be derived from the tradition is that Bada occurs in some destined matters. Numerous traditional reports also prove this, rather it is one of the fundamentals of religion of the Imamiyah and their opponents identify them to be the believers in Bada. However to discuss this matter in detail would be out of the scope of this book, therefore we shall, in very brief, see what traditions and scholars of our sect say about it:
I say: The meaning of Bada is that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime destines something, after that He changes it. This is possible according to reason and correct according to Islamic texts due to the universal and eternal power of the Almighty Allah. A large number of verses of the Holy Qur’an and traditions have been recorded that prove its validity and the reason that Sunnis oppose this belief is that according to them it would imply that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime was ignorant of the second matter and unaware of its wisdom, Allah is in higher exaltation than this.
Therefore in the refutation of this view there is a tradition of His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) that he said:
“There is no Bada in anything except that it had been in His knowledge before Bada occurs in it.” And it is this meaning that is conveyed by numerous traditional reports in Usool Kafi, Tawheed Sadooq and Biharul Anwar.2
And the investigation of the matter in such a way that veils of false notions are removed is in the following way: As mentioned in traditions all the occurrences are of two types: inevitable and conditional. Inevitable is one that its actualization – from the view of existence or non-existence – is not dependant on anything. Rather the Almighty Allah has destined and decreed it, and written it with the pen of determination. And conditional occurrences are ones whose existence or absence is related to some conditions that are only in the knowledge of Allah. Conditional occurrences are again of two types:
First type: It is that the Almighty Allah has told about it to His prophets, angels or saints that it is a conditional one.
Second type: It is when He has not mentioned about it, rather it is inevitable in their view while in the knowledge of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, it is conditional.
Bada in which we believe and for which traditional reports are recorded from the Infallible Imams also prove these two types and not in the first as we shall see that the Almighty Allah cannot be blamed for ignorance. The example of this matter is that suppose Allah, the Mighty and the High destines that a man will live for twenty years if he does not act nicely to his relatives. But if he is nice to them, he will have a lifespan of thirty years.
Here the Almighty Allah has decreed the life of that man to be twenty years but if he fulfills the specified conditions ten years will be increased in his life. Thus the increase of ten years in his life is Bada to the prior destined age of twenty years. And the Almighty Allah is also cognizant about it since the beginning but there is an important wisdom in making it conditional in this way. And the divine decree – that was dependant on conditions –is revealed when the conditions are fulfilled, while previously it was hidden from us.
And by this explanation we come to know the manner in which following different groups of traditions can be reconciled:
A group of those traditions prove that Bada did not occur in matters whose knowledge reached the prophets. Thus it is narrated in Usool Kafi from Fuzail bin Yasar that he said: I heard His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) say:
“Knowledge is of two types: knowledge that is safe with the Almighty Allah and which is not known to anyone else. And another knowledge that is taught to the angels and the prophets. Thus what Allah has taught His angels and prophets, comes to pass, and He will not falsify His angels and prophets. And the knowledge that is with Him only, He advances whatever He likes from it and postpones whatever He likes and makes firm what He likes.”3
And another group proves Bada in that which has reached the knowledge of the prophets and angels like in the case of Prophet Isa (as) regarding the bride who was being taken to her husband’s place and who did not die inspite of there being a prophecy about it. And the incident of the angel of death informing Prophet Dawood (as) about the death of the young man after seven days who sitting with him. But he did not die and the Almighty Allah increased his death by thirty years due to Prophet Dawood (as) being kind to him. And the Almighty Allah informed His Eminence, Nuh (as) a number of times about the destruction of his people, then it was postponed, and the Almighty Allah informed Prophet Yunus (as) about the day fixed for the catastrophe that was to befall his community. Then Allah accepted their repentance etc.
The reason these traditions can be reconciled is that: The purport of the previous report is that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime informed His prophet about the occurrence of that matter and told him that it was inevitable and not subject to change. For example traditions that have come regarding the advent of Sufyani, may Allah curse him, before the reappearance of His Eminence, Qaim (aj).
The purport of the second group is that Allah, the Mighty and the High informed His prophet about the happening but He did not specify whether it was inevitable or conditional, as apparently those seemed to be inevitable since their being conditional was not mentioned. Thus it is possible that Bada occurred in them because in the knowledge of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime it is a matter subject to certain conditions which He did not inform His prophet. Rather it was only known to Him and this also does not make Him blamable for lying or falsifying.
Shaykh Tusi (r.a.) has mentioned this reason for reconciling those traditions and Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) also has accepted the same view in his two books,Miraat al-Uqool and Biharul Anwar.
I say: There are some traditions also that prove the reconciliation of the mentioned traditions. Such as:
In Ihtijaaj it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said:
“If one verse had not been in the Book of Allah I would have informed about everything that happened in the past, that which will happen and is happening till the Judgment Day, the verse is as follows:
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) 4
In another traditional report from His Eminence, Imam Ali Reza (as) it is mentioned that he said: Abu Abdillah Sadiq, Abu Ja’far Baqir, Ali bin al-Husain, Husain bin Ali, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) have said: “If one verse had not been there in the Book of Allah we would have informed you about everything that is going to happen till the Judgment Day:
“Allah makes to pass away and establishes what He pleases.”5
By this explanation we come to the manner in which it is possible to reconcile two other types of traditional reports in which a group of traditions say:Bada will not happen in the inevitable matters – as we mentioned – and the same is mentioned in Biharul Anwar quoting from Ayyashi from Fuzail that he said:
I heard His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) say: “Of all things there are inevitable matters that are bound to happen. And there are some matters known only to Allah that are subject to some conditions. He advances whichever He likes from them and whichever He likes He erases and He causes to actualize whichever of them He likes. He has not informed anyone about the conditional matters and whatever the prophets have prophesied is bound to happen. Neither He falsifies Himself, nor His prophets or angels.”6
And the second group proves that Bada happens in inevitable matters also, like the tradition in Ghaibat of Shaykh Nomani through his own chain of narrators from Abu Hashim Dawood bin Qasim Ja’fari that he said:
I was in the company of His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali Reza (as) when discussion occurred about the Sufyani, that it is mentioned in traditions it is an inevitable matter. I asked His Eminence, Abu Ja’far (as): “Does Bada occur for the Almighty Allah in inevitable matters?” He replied: “Yes.” I said: “Then I fear that Bada may occur for the Almighty Allah in the matter of Qaim (aj) also.” He said: “Qaim is a promised matter and the Almighty Allah does not do anything against His promise.”7
Thus it can be concluded that since in the first kind of traditions the Almighty Allah informed about their inevitability thus any change in it would imply Allah falsifying Himself, His prophets or His angels. In the case of the second type, the Almighty Allah did not inform whether they were inevitable or conditional. Thus it has divine decree but as informing about a thing without stating that its actualization is dependant on inevitable, they are referred to as inevitable.
This tradition also indicates the same matter, where Imam Jawad (as) has mentioned the reason why Bada cannot occur in the matter of Qaim (aj) that: Qaim (aj) is a promise of Allah and the Almighty Allah does not do anything against His promise.
The conclusion is that: The purport of it being inevitable is that according to the apparent meaning of the tradition it is inevitable as nothing is mentioned about it being conditional so there is no harm if it is changed. And the meaning of being inevitable is in cases in which Bada will not occur as it has been clearly declared that they are inevitable and there is no change and alteration in them. As change in them would tantamount to falsifying Himself, his prophets and His angels. This matter was also inspired to me by Allah due to the blessings of my master, the Master of the Time (aj) and I have not seen anyone stating this point before.
A traditionist has reconciled this tradition and other traditional reports that prove that Bada will not occur in inevitable matters, in a way which is not free of doubt in my view. It would be better if I quote his words in full and then mention the doubt that arose in my humble view:
Muhaddith Noori – may Allah exalt his status – writes at the end of the eleventh chapter of his book, An-Najmus Thaqib:
Except for the reappearance and advent of Hazrat Hujjat bin al-Hasan bin Ali al-Mahdi (aj), whose age today is 1040 odd years, which is bound to happen and there will not be any change in it, but the other signs and portents preceding the reappearance and contemporary to it, all are subject to change and alteration and advancement and delay and replacement by something else, as has come in the traditions of Ahle Bayt of Infallibility (as).
Even those that are mentioned as inevitable, whether apparent implication of inevitable in those traditions is not that they can in no way be changed, and the apparent of all they have said is in this way only. Rather they imply (And Allah knows best): levels of emphasis in them, which would not have any contradiction in stages from manners does not exist in it. And that which supports this point is the statement that Shaykh Nomani has mentioned in his Ghaibat from Abu Hashim Dawood bin Qasim Ja’fari.
Then he has given the translation of that traditional report.
I say: This theory is susceptible to the following objections:
First: Concluding that all the signs and portents of the reappearance are subject to change goes against a large number of traditions, rather, Mutawatir, in which it is mentioned very clearly that some of them are inevitable and there will not be any change in them. One of such traditions is that narrated by Nomani from Abdul Malik bin Uyun that he said:
I was in the company of His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) when Qaim (aj) was mentioned. I said to His Eminence: “I hope this (reappearance) happens soon and that there is no rise of Sufyani also.” He said: “By Allah, it is inevitable and is bound to happen in any case.”8
Also Nomani through his own chain of narrators has narrated from Humran bin Uyun from His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) regarding the verse:
“Then He decreed a term; and there is a term named with Him.”
That he said:
They are two fixed terms, one is inevitable and the other conditional.” Humran asked His Eminence: “What is inevitable?” He replied: “It is something that has nothing to the contrary.” I asked: “What is conditional?” He replied: “It is something in which there is hidden divine wisdom.” Humran said: “I hope the decree of Sufyani is from the conditional matters.” Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) said: “No, by Allah, it is from the inevitable matters.”9
Again by Fuzail bin Yasar it is narrated from His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) that he said:
“Indeed, there are some inevitable matters and some conditional. Although Sufyani is an inevitable matter, it is bound to occur in any case.”10
In the same way through his own chain of narrators it is narrated from Khallad Saigh that His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) said:
“Sufyani; there is no remedy from it.”
Sadooq in Kamaluddin through his own chain of narrators has quoted from Abu Hamza Thumali that he said:
I asked His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as): Abu Ja’far (Imam Baqir a.s.) says: “The advent of Sufyani is inevitable.” He replied:
“Yes, and the conflict of Bani Abbas, the killing of the Pure Soul (Nafs-e-Zakiyya) and the advent of Qaim (aj) are (also) among the inevitable occurrences.”11
In Biharul Anwar it is mentioned from Qurbul Asnaad through the author’s own chain of narrators from Ali bin Asbat that he said:
I asked His Eminence, Abul Hasan Moosa bin Ja’far (as): May I be sacrificed on you, Thalaba bin Maimoon from Ali bin al-Mughaira from Zaid Ammi has told me that His Eminence, Ali bin al-Husain (as) said:
“Our Qaim would arise in one of the years to restore all the rights of the people.”
Imam Kazim (as) said: “Would Qaim arise without the advent of Sufyani? Indeed, the matter of Qaim (aj) is decreed as inevitable by Allah and Qaim would not have been except for Sufyani.” I said: “May I be sacrificed on you, is it this year?” He replied: “Whenever Allah wants.” I asked: “Would it be during my lifetime that he gains the rule?” He replied: “Allah does whatever He likes.”12
In Biharul Anwar it is narrated from Ghaibat of Shaykh Tusi through his own chain of narrators from Muhammad bin Muslim that he said:
I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) say: “After the Sufyani gets control over five provinces he would rule equal to the duration of pregnancy of a woman.” Then he said:
“I seek forgiveness of Allah, he would rule for the duration of pregnancy of a camel. And his matter is inevitable.”13
There are other traditions that clearly mention that Sufyani and other signs of reappearance are inevitable and there will not be any change or alteration in them. Thus to say that all the signs mentioned in traditions are subject to change and to interpret those traditional reports in another way is like doing Ijtihadcontrary to established texts.
Second: Change in all the signs would render their purpose void, and that is impossible for the Almighty Allah because the aim of the signs of reappearance is that people recognize their Hidden Imam and that they may not be misled by anyone who falsely claims to be the Imam. Thus if all those signs are changed and none of them occurs, the aim behind them will not be achieved, which is impossible for Allah. That which proves that the signs of reappearance are kept with the aim to enable people to recognize Imam Qaim (aj) – in addition to the dictates of reason and otherwise what is the use of appointing those signs – are numerous traditional reports. Such as:
Statement of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said:
“Keep still till the time the sky and the earth are at rest.”14
The statement of Imam Ali Reza (as) that:
“The purport of His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) that till the sky is stable means till the call is issued in the name of your master and that till the earth is stable means till it swallows the army (of Sufyani).”15
And… other such traditional reports are also recorded in Ghaibat Nomani, Kamaluddin and Biharul Anwar but we refrain from their mention as it would prolong the matter.
Third: Change in signs that have been declared to be inevitable would result in people getting deviated and falling into doubts – as is obvious – because you know they are to enable the identification of Qaim (aj).
If you say: This doubt can be answered by saying that this deviation would be temporary as the identification of the Imam is not restricted to only these signs and it is possible to recognize him by his personal qualities, miracles and evidences that cannot be furnished by anyone except the Holy Imam (as). And that which proves this is a tradition mentioned in Usool Kafi through his own chain of narrators from Mufaddal bin Umar that he said:
I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) say: “Indeed the master of this affair would have two occultations, in one of which he would return to his family; and in the other it will be said that: He is dead, he has gone to which wilderness? The narrator says: I asked: What should we do if this happens? He replied: If someone claims to be the Imam, ask him things that only the true Imam can reply.”16
Shaykh Nomani has narrated thus:
“If someone claims that, ask him about important matters that only someone like him can answer.”17
I say: Facility of identifying the Imam (as) through the above-mentioned manner would not be available for all the people of the world – like ladies and those who live in far off places – inspite of the fact that there are a large number of traditions that say that the reappearance of Qaim (aj) would be known to all the people of the world and the Almighty Allah has promised it. Thus if universally visible signs are not present, many a people would have no knowledge about the reappearance for a very long time till they are told about it.
Fourth: Change in signs that are declared to be inevitable would tantamount to falsifying Himself, His prophets and His angels and this is something that cannot be done by Allah as mentioned in traditions.
Fifth: Whatever we said about the changing of inevitable signs that it would be making their purpose void and their interpretation in another way is also such, since without any doubt the aim – that is Marefat of Imam – will be achieved through stating of clear indications so that all may be aware of them, and that those signs must actualize just as they are stated, so that whoever goes to perdition goes with awareness and knowingly, and all those who become alive, do so with a living proof.
Thus if the signs are mentioned in such a way that the people who know the language understand something from them which is not in their apparent meaning, it does not intend anything except putting people in ignorance and deviation. Rather it is something that reason considers despicable.
Although it is possible that the scholastic theologian may intend something other than apparent connotation by the requirement that he should mention his aim to those who are addressed or he should bring a clear style so that they must not have any hesitation in understanding his aim.
However between this matter and the matter of understanding, all the signs of reappearance that are reported – even those that are clearly mentioned to be inevitable, from the aspect that there is no clear method contrary to their apparent meaning – to subject them to acceptance of interpretation given by them is having a difference from the earth to the sky! Rather, if it happens again, it would be a great opportunity for the deviated people and those who deviate, so that all the traditions of Infallibles (as) regarding the signs of reappearance will be interpreted by them in any way they like. May Allah keep us and all the believers safe from all deviations.
Sixth: Applying the inevitable to that which has a sort of emphasis and to take it away from its real meaning in such a way that is mentioned in the statements of this respected scholar, is not having any proofs to support it, since if any evidence existed it would have been mentioned. It is for this that we proceed with our discussion so that it should not be that someone studying our book falls into a doubt which can cause deviation.
Points that are derived from the mentioned tradition are: The reappearance of our master, the Master of the Time (aj) is a matter subject to advancement and delay as a result of some factors and among the factors that can advance it is the effort of believers to pray for early reappearance. We have already mentioned some proofs about this in the chapter of Letter ‘gh’ in Part Four of this book.
Often it is that someone who is not from the academic field he seeks distance regarding this and he is surprised at the effects of arranging Dua for early reappearance and victory and it comes to his mind that if it had been such, reappearance would have already taken place since the people of faith have prayed for this matter in every age and in every place.
However it is unlikely because it is not improbable that for the reappearance of His Eminence in the knowledge of the Almighty Allah there are two times and one is earlier than the other, and the reappearance of His Eminence would take place at the earlier time is connected to efforts of the believers in praying for his early reappearance. And this is the meaning that the matter of the reappearance of His Eminence is a matter subject to Bada, that is, it can be advanced or delayed.
And the traditional reports recorded from the Purified Imams (as) prove this matter as is known by all knowing people. And that earlier time has not yet arrived, on the basis of this, the denial of the effect of prayer would be a baseless argument as the Holy Qur’an has clearly proved it. And also the possibility of advancement in reappearance is proved by the traditions of the Family of Infallibility.
- 1. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 131
- 2. Kafi; Vol. 1, Pg. 148; Tawheed, Sadooq, Pg. 334
- 3. Kafi; Vol. 1, Pg. 147
- 4. Ihtijaaj, Vol. 1, Pg. 384
- 5. Qurb al-Asnaad, Pg. 155
- 6. Al-Ayyashi, Vol. 2, Pg. 217
- 7. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 162
- 8. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 161
- 9. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 161
- 10. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 161
- 11. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 652
- 12. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 182
- 13. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 215
- 14. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 25
- 15. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 25
- 16. Kafi; Vol. 1, Pg. 340
- 17. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 90