One of the responsibilities during Ghaibat is that we regularly supplicate Allah to grant us the correct Marefat of Imam az-Zaman (aj). This is because gaining knowledge is not restricted to writing and reading. Ilm (knowledge) is a light and to whomsoever He desires he inculcates his heart with it. He guides whomsoever he wishes. Only those guided by Allah are actually guided.
In Al-Kafi it is narrated that Abu Baseer says that Imam Sadiq (as) explained the verse:
ومن يؤت الحكمة فقد أوتي خيراً
And those who are bestowed wisdom they indeed are bestowed with exceeding goodness.
‘(Wisdom) Means the obedience of Allah and (exceeding goodness means) Marefat of Imam (as)’1
In the same book it is narrated from Abu Baseer that he said: “Abu Ja’far (as) said to me: ‘Do you know your Imam?’ I said: ‘Yes, by Allah; before I came out from Kufa.’ He said: ‘Then this is sufficient for you.”2
In the same source, in a correct report it is mentioned that Abu Ja’far (as) said: “The apex of the thing, the height of it, the key to it, the gate to everything and the good pleasure of ar-Rahman, the Blessed, the Sublime, is obedience to the Imam after knowing him.”3
Abu Ayyub Khalid al-Kabuli said: ‘I asked Abu Ja’far (as) concerning the words of Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty:
فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالنُّورِ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْنَا
Therefore believe in Allah and His Messenger and in the Light which we have sent down. (Qur’an, Surah Taghabun 64:8)
He said: ‘O Abu Khalid! The Light, by Allah, is the Light of the Imams from the Household of Muhammad (S) till the Day of Resurrection. They, by Allah, are the Light which Allah has sent down, and they, by Allah, are the Light of Allah in the heavens and on the earth. By Allah, O Abi Khalid! The Light of the Imam in the hearts is more brilliant than the sun shining in the day. They, by Allah, are those who illuminate the hearts of the believers.
And Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty, veils their Light from whoever He wills; thus their hearts are darkened. By Allah, O Abu Khalid! No slave loves us and accepts our mastership until Allah purifies his heart. And Allah does not purify the heart of a slave until he submits to us, and is at peace with us. And when someone is at peace with us, Allah protects him from the terrible reckoning, and also makes him secure from the greater terror of the Day of Resurrection.’”4
Discussion and Explanation: Know that the most important obligatory duty after knowing Allah and the Messenger of Allah (S) is recognition of the Imam of the Time (aj) because this matter is a pillar of faith and one who dies without knowing the Imam of his time, dies the death of paganhood and Marifat of the Imam is the key to all the doors of goodness, success and divine mercy and the Almighty Allah has commanded His servants to obtain his recognition and Dua is one of the doors that the Almighty Allah has ordered us to approach Him. He says:
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ
Call upon Me, I will answer you. (Surah Ghafir 40:60)
وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ
And ask Allah of His grace. (Surah Nisa 4:32)
إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ
Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases. (Surah Qasas 28:56)
In Al-Kafi, through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Muhammad bin Hakim that he said: I asked His Eminence, Abi Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as): Whose creation is Marifat? He replied: It is from the creations of the Almighty Allah; people have no share in that creation.5
There are a large number of traditions and reports that illustrate this matter, so the people are obliged to supplicate the Almighty Allah to grant them perfect Marifat of the Imam of the Time (aj). Supplications recorded with regard to this also show that it is important to ask Allah, the Mighty and Sublime for recognition of the Imam as will be explained in the coming pages, Insha Allah. This is also not in contravention of traditions that encourage us to undertake study for gaining Marifat. It is just like the case of earning livelihood. We have been told to make efforts and also pray to Allah, because it is He that gives sustenance. People only have to make efforts and it is on Allah to bestow the livelihood. Allah, the High and the Mighty says:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا
And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways. (Surah Ankabut 29:69)
In the same way as agriculture and irrigation is the duty of men. Since you will be under his control and discretion. And be safe from troubles. Till the time you reach your aim and it is upon Allah, as it is beyond their power but it is their duty to supplicate and request the Almighty to get the aimed result. In the same way Marifat of the Imam is having means and causes that the Almighty Allah has created for people and it is in their capacity.
For example to ponder on the miracles and Akhlaq of His Eminence, and study of traditional reports of the Holy Imam (as) about the Imam of the Time (aj), his special qualities, prolongation of his Ghaibat and the duties of people during his Ghaibat.
Thus we are duty bound to study all these things in order to gain the recognition of the Imam of the Time (aj) but since Marifat is a creation of Allah, logic and Islamic texts dictate that we must pray to the Almighty Allah to bestow us this Marifat. Because if Allah opens a door of mercy there is no one who can close it and if Allah has closed a door no one could open it.6