Divine wisdom has kept the time of the reappearance of Imam (as) a secret because its effect is connected to Allah. As mentioned in the supplication of Imam (as) related by Shaykh Amri: “O Allah! You know the time of Your Wali’s reform (reappearance) without being taught. So issue the command that he may reappear lifting the curtain of Ghaibat. Bestow me the Taufeeq of patience with regard to Intezar. So that I do not prefer advancement while you had postponed it. And that I do not incline towards delay on matters that You expedite. And that I do not prefer the exposing of all things that You have hidden. And that I do not strive to find the things You have concealed. And that I do not oppose You regarding the decrees of the universe whose hidden wisdom is known to you.”
In the book of Husain bin Hamadan through the author’s own chain of narrators it is mentioned from Mufaddal bin Umar that he said: I asked Imam Sadiq (as) regarding the verse:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبِّي ۖ لَا يُجَلِّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَا إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ ثَقُلَتْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ لَا تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلَّا بَغْتَةً ۗ يَسْأَلُونَكَ كَأَنَّكَ حَفِيٌّ عَنْهَا ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
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; it will be momentous in the heavens and the earth; it will not come on you but of a sudden. They ask you as if you were solicitous about it. Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not know. (Qur’an, Surah Araaf 7:187)
And the verse:
فَهَلْ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَّا السَّاعَةَ أَنْ تَأْتِيَهُمْ بَغْتَةً ۖ فَقَدْ جَاءَ أَشْرَاطُهَا ۚ فَأَنَّىٰ لَهُمْ إِذَا جَاءَتْهُمْ ذِكْرَاهُمْ
Do they then wait for aught but the hour that it should come to them all of a sudden? Now indeed the tokens of it have (already) come, but how shall they have their reminder when it comes on them? (Qur’an, Surah Muhammad 47:18-19)
And the verse:
اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ
The hour drew nigh and the moon did rend asunder. (Qur’an, Surah Qamar 54:1)
And the verse:
وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ السَّاعَةَ قَرِيبٌ.
يَسْتَعْجِلُ بِهَا الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهَا ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مُشْفِقُونَ مِنْهَا وَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهَا الْحَقُّ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُمَارُونَ فِي السَّاعَةِ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ بَعِيدٍ
And what shall make you know that haply the hour be nigh? Those who do not believe in it would hasten it on, and those who believe are in fear from it, and they know that it is the truth. Now most surely those who dispute obstinately concerning the hour are in a great error. (Qur’an, Surah Shura 42:17-18)
Mufaddal asked the meaning of ‘dispute’ in the above. Imam (as) said, “They say when was Qaim born? Who has seen him? Where he is at present?
Where shall he be in the future? And when shall he reappear? All these acts All these acts of impatience with Divine affairs are due to doubts with regard to the Divine decrees. They have suffered loss in the world and the hereafter and the infidels have evil consequences.” Mufaddal asked Imam (as) whether he would not appoint a time for it? Imam (as) said, “O Mufaddal! Never predict a time for all this because one who does it has claimed partnership in the knowledge of Allah and he has falsely claimed that Allah has informed about His secrets.”
Muhammad Ibne Muslim is quoted in Ghaibat Nomani that Imam Sadiq (as) said, “O Muhammad! If anyone quotes us with regard to the prediction of the time (of reappearance), falsify him at once because we do not inform anyone of the appointed hour.”1
It is narrated from Abu Bakr Hadhrami that he said: I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: Indeed, we do not fix a time for this.2
It is narrated by Abu Baseer that he said to Imam Sadiq (as): “May I be sacrificed on you, when will al-Qaim appear?” He said, “O Abu Muhammad, we, Ahle Bayt, do not time. Prophet Muhammad (S) has said: May Allah damn the diviners. O Abu Muhammad, before this matter there will be five signs: a call (from the heavens) in Ramadan, the rising of as-Sufyani, the rising of al-Khurasani, killing of Nafs Zakiyyah and the sinking of the desert. Before the appearance of al-Qaim there must be two plagues: the white plague and the red plague.” I asked: What are they? He said, “The white plague is a torrential death and the red plague is killing by the sword. Al-Qaim does not appear until his name will be called out from the heavens in the twenty-third night of Ramadan, which will be a night of Friday.” I said: What will be called out? He said, “The caller will call out the name of al- Qaim and the name of his father and will say: ‘So and so the son of so and so is the Qaim of Muhammad’s progeny. You are to listen to him and to obey him.’ Every alive thing of the creatures will hear the call. The sleepers will wake up and get out to courtyards and the virgins will get out of their veils. Then al-Qaim will appear after hearing the call. It will be the call of Jibraeel (as).”3
In Al-Kafi and Ghaibat Nomani it is narrated through the author’s own chain of narrators that Muzhim said to Imam Sadiq (as): “May I be sacrificed on you, please tell me when this matter, which we are waiting for, occurs?” Abu Abdillah as-Sadiq (as) said, “O Muzhim, the diviners often tell false things, the hasteners perish and only the submissive believers are saved.”4
It is narrated through both the chains of narrators that Abu Baseer asked Abu Abdillah as-Sadiq (as) about al-Qaim (aj) and he said: “The diviners tell lies. We, Ahle Bayt, do not time.”5
In Ghaibat Nomani, it is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: “Allah does not consent save to reverse the timing of the diviners.”6
Fudail bin Yasar is reported to have said: “I asked Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (as): “Is there a fixed time for reappearance?” He said: “The diviners lie, the time- fixers lie.”7
In Al-Kafi it is quoted from Ahmad that he said: “Allah does not consent save to reverse the timing of the diviners.”8
Through his own chain of narrators, from Abu Baseer it is mentioned that he said: I asked Abu Abdillah as-Sadiq (as) about al-Qaim (aj) and he said: “The diviners tell lies. We, Ahle Bayt, do not time. Allah does not consent save to reverse the timing of the diviners.”
In Ghaibat Shaykh Tusi through his own chain of narrators, it is mentioned that Fadl bin Shazan said: I asked Imam Baqir (as): “Is there a fixed time for reappearance?” He said: “The time-fixers have lied, they have lied, they have lied.”9
Through his own chain of narrators, it is quoted from His Eminence, Abi Abdillah Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: “The time-fixers have lied. We have not fixed the time before and we shall not fix it in future.”10
Through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Abdur Rahman bin Kathir that he said: I was in the assembly of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) when Muhzim Asadi arrived and said: May I be sacrificed on you, tell me about that which you are waiting for; that when it would come to pass; so that I can await for it. His Eminence (aj) replied: The time-fixers have lied and the haste-makers were destroyed and the submitters were saved. And they come toward us.11 And through a correct chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: Reject without fear, one who fixes a time for it, as I have not mentioned any time.212
In Ihtijaj of Shaykh Tabarsi it is narrated from Muhammad bin Yaqoob Kulaini from Ishaq bin Yaqoob that he said: I requested Muhammad bin Uthman Amari (r.a.) to write a letter to the Imam of the Time (as) asking him some questions that were difficult for me. So an epistle was received from Imam (as) as follows: … As for Faraj, it is in the hand of Almighty and the time-fixers have lied.13
Shaykh Tusi has narrated it from a group of his teachers from Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Quluwahy and Abu Ghalib Razi etc., from Muhammad bin Yaqoob Kulaini from Ishaq bin Yaqoob.14
I say: We have not found the biography of Ishaq bin Yaqoob in books of Rijaal, but it is sufficient for his veracity that Shaykh Kulaini has narrated from him in addition to other contexts.
Explanation: From all that we have mentioned so far, it becomes clear that it is one of the most important duties not fix a time for reappearance. Here it would be appropriate to mention some issues:
Issue One: It is possible for one to imagine that there is contradiction between the above and the traditional report quoted by the three Shaykhs15 from Abu Hamza Thumali through their chains of narrators. Abu Hamza Thumali says: I said to His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Imam Baqir (as): His Eminence Ali (as) has said: There is trouble for seventy years and his saying: There is relief after the trouble. Now seventy years have passed and we have yet to get relief? His Eminence Abu Ja’far (as) said: O Thabit, the Almighty Allah had fixed a period of seventy years for this matter, but when Imam Husain (as) was martyred the divine anger increased on the people and He delayed it by 140 years; then we told you about it and you exposed it; so the Almighty Allah postponed it further and did not inform us of the time. And the Almighty Allah erases what He likes and writes what He likes and with Him is the source of the book.16 Abu Hamza says: I asked the same thing from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) and he told me it was right.
haykh Tusi, through his own chain of narrators has narrated from Fadl bin Shazan from Abu Baseer that he said to His Eminence: Has the time of it approached, so that we can rest assured? He said: Yes, but you exposed it and the Almighty Allah has increased it.17 Through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: I knew about its time, but the Almighty Allah postponed it and He will do what He wants with my descendants.18
Nomani through the author’s own chain of narrators has narrated from Ishaq bin Ammar from Sudair Sarafi that he said: I heard Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) say: A time was fixed for reappearance and it was in 140 A.H. but you mentioned it and became dispersed; Allah, the Mighty and Sublime also postponed it.19 In the same book in another tradition it is narrated that he said: His Eminence, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said: O Abu Ishaq, this matter has been postponed for the second time.20
The author of this book, those who hold fast to the firm rope of Allah, that is the Wilayat of the Holy Imams (as), Muhammad Taqi Musawi Isfahani may God forgive him, says: There is no contradiction between this tradition and those mentioned before because there is no clarification that it is referring to the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (aj) because the year 70 A.H. and 140 A.H. was before the birth of the Imam of the Time (aj) and the third tradition that we have mentioned is the proof.
The Almighty Allah says:
ذَٰلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُمْ بِمَا كَفَرُوا ۖ وَهَلْ نُجَازِي إِلَّا الْكَفُورَ
This We requited them with because they disbelieved; and We do not punish any but the ungrateful. (Qur’an, Surah Saba 34:17)
And as for traditions which we promised to mention:
For example: In the 10th volume of Biharul Anwar quoting from Kitabun Nawadir of Ali bin Asbath it is narrated from Thalaba bin Maimoon from Hasan bin Ziyad Attar that he said: I asked His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) the meaning of the following verse:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ
Have you not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands, and keep up prayer. (Qur’an, Surah Nisa 4:77)
He said: It was revealed with regard to Hasan bin Ali (as); the Almighty Allah commanded him to refrain from fighting a battle. The narrators said: [I asked regarding]: Fighting is enjoined on you.
The Imam (as) said: It was revealed with regard to Husain bin Ali (as); the Almighty Allah commanded him and people to fight alongside him.21
I say: All the three persons who constitute the chain of narrators of this tradition are reliable; and they all are Shia imamites, as scholars have clarified, thus the tradition is within limits of correctness, and in the same way, it has come in traditions that we have not mentioned for the sake of brevity. And from what we have explained, it becomes clear that we cannot accept the meaning of these traditions and that we should follow the traditions that clearly prohibit the timing of the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) as some scholars have done because they know that each of these five traditions is such that it is not clearly mentioned in them that they are with regard to the timing of the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj).
Rather in the second and third traditions there is no mention of ‘Faraj’ also because more than this nothing is clear from them except that the Imams know of the timing and not that they should have informed others. Additionally, its explanation according to some scholars is opposed to the tradition of the Holy Imams (as) that: “We are the family that never tells about the time.” And also: “We didn’t fix a time in the past and we will not do it in the future also.” And also: “We don’t fix a time for anyone,” etc. On the basis of this, these traditions are not in need of explanation and justification.
If it is said: It is possible that it may contradict what is mentioned in Biharul Anwar and Burhan from Ayyashi from Abi Lubaid Makhzumi from Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) that he said: O Aba Lubaid, indeed, there is a lot of knowledge in the Huruf Muqattiat, the Almighty Allah revealed:
“Alif Lam Mim. This Book…”
Allah commanded him to refrain from fighting a battle. The narrators said: [I asked regarding]:
Thus arrived His Eminence, Muhammad till his Noor became apparent and his words left an imprint on their hearts. And His Eminence was born when 103 years had passed in the 7 century. Then he said: This matter is mentioned by the Almighty Allah in Huruf Muqattiat when you count them without repeating, and no Huruf Muqattiat passed but that a Bani Hashim appeared. Then he said: Alif is one, Laam is thirty, Meem is forty and Saad is ninety and their total is 161. Then took place the uprising of Imam Husain (as). When it will reach to the end, the son of Abbas will arise in ALMS’ and after he passes away, our Qaim will rise in ALR, so understand them and keep it concealed from those who don’t deserve it.22
In Biharul Anwar and Sharh Arbaeen of Majlisi the second, it is quoted from Al-Mahtazar of Hasan bin Sulaiman, student of Shahid Awwal (r.a.) that he said: There is a report that a tradition was found in the writing of Imam Hasan Askari (as) that he had written: “Walking in the footsteps of prophethood and Wilayat, we have reached the high peaks of realities.” Till he said: “A spring of the water of life will burst forth for them at a time when they would have burnt in the flames of calamities and years equal to ALM, T’H and T’S will have passed.”23
In reply we say: These two traditional reports are not able to contradict the tradition that we have quoted before, from the aspect of chain as well as from the aspect of proof. Because the first tradition is Mursal till Khatheema bin Abdur Rahman who has narrated from Abu Lubaid, and Khatheema is not mentioned in books of Rijaal and as regards Abu Lubaid also they have neither praised not criticized him. On the basis of this, from the aspect of Sanad, the tradition is weak and it cannot be relied upon.
As for the second tradition, in addition to the fact that it is Mursal, in fact it is a report and not a narration. From this aspect these two traditional reports are from the ambiguous traditions whose knowledge should be left to the Imams (as). Moreover, in the second tradition the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) is not mentioned and Allah knows, what is the meaning of the spring of the water of life?
And in the first tradition it is not clarified that ‘our Qaim’ refers to the Imam of the Time (aj), because the word is used in many traditions to mean anyone who stands up in defense of the Holy Imams (as) as mentioned in traditions: For example, Nomani has narrated through his chain of narrators that Imam Sadiq (as) said: Amirul Momineen (as) informed of some things that would happen after him until the appearance of the Qaim.
Al-Husain (as) asked him: “O Amirul Momineen, when does Allah clear the world from the unjust people?” Amirul Momineen (as) said: “Allah does not clear the world from the unjust until the sacred blood is shed.” He mentioned the story of the Umayyads and the Abbasids in a long tradition. Then he said: “When al-Qaim rises in Khorasan, defeats Kufa and the two nations, passes the island of Bani Kawan, and another revolter from us rises in Jeelan, who will be supported by the people of Aabir and Daylaman, then the banner of the Turks will rise in different countries to support my son (al-Qaim). Then some things will happen here and there. Basra will be destroyed and the emir of the emirs will rule in Egypt.”
He told a long story and then said: “When armies get ready, different leaders rise, revolters rebel and unbelievers perish, then the expected Qaim and the unknown Imam will appear with honor and virtue. O Husain, he is your descendant, who has no like at all. He will appear between the two corners (of the Kaaba) in ragged clothes. He will rule over all the people and will clear the world of every evil. Blessed is he, who lives until his (al-Qaim’s) age and enjoys his rule.”24
Issue Two: From what we have mentioned so far it becomes clear that the time of reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) is a divine secret which Allah has kept away from the people while Himself He is aware of it; as is the Holy Prophet (S) and his successors; but what we have derived from their sayings is as follows:
Aspect One: It is that people cannot bear that knowledge and they will not be patient enough to conceal it. This is derived from the two reports of Abu Hamza and Abu Baseer quoted previously: Believer have different levels, some of them are unable to bear them due to the weakness of their faith and these cannot be entrusted with the knowledge.
They are such that when some secrets are mentioned to them they fall into doubts due to lack of strength as mentioned in levels of faith. If one who can bear two parts is given three, he will break just as an egg breaks on a stone.
Also, it is narrated that: If Abu Zar knew what is in the heart of Salman, he would kill him. And other traditions…and some believers are such that their faith is strong and their certainty is fast, and they can keep secrets and no doubt haunts them, but they don’t have the capability to bear them for a long time. Suppose they are told that Hazrat Hujjat (as) will not appear for another thousand years, they would have died of sorrow or they might have fallen into sickness and hardships.
On the basis of this it required that the time of reappearance should be concealed from these believers also. There are some whose faith is the strongest but they also don’t have patience to keep it confidential, and if they are told a secret they would have exposed it.
Thus the exigency lies in that such a thing must be concealed from them also. It is perhaps from this aspect that in Basair it is mentioned through the author’s own chain of narrators that Abul Samit said: I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) say: Some of our traditions are such that neither the proximate angel, nor the messenger prophet or the believer man can bear. I (the narrator) asked: Then who bears them? He replied: We bear them.25
In the same book in another tradition from His Eminence (aj) it is mentioned: Indeed, our traditions are difficult, serious, convincing, clear and sharp-witted. That neither the proximate angel, nor the messenger prophet or the believer man can bear. I (the narrator) asked: Then who bears them, may I be sacrificed on you? He replied: Anyone we like, O Aba Samit. Abu Samit says: I thought that the Almighty Allah has a servant who is superior to these three groups.26
In Kafi it is narrated from some of our associates that: I wrote to His Eminence, Abul Hasan al-Askar (Imam Hadi): May I be sacrificed on you, what is the meaning of the saying of Imam Sadiq (as) that: Indeed, our traditions are [difficult, and serious], that neither the proximate angel, nor the messenger prophet or the believer man whose heart Allah has tested, can bear.
The Imam replied: The meaning of the saying of Imam Sadiq (as) that: that neither the proximate angel, nor the messenger prophet or the believer man whose heart Allah has tested, can bear, is that no angel will bear it except that he will convey it to another angel, and no prophet will bear it except that he will pass it on to another and no believer will bear it except that he will convey it to another believer. This is the meaning of the Imam’s saying.227
Aspect Two: It is that divine exigency demands that the believer should be in anticipation of the reappearance of the Imam in every time period as mentioned in the following verse of Qur’an:
The unseen is only for Allah; therefore wait- surely I too, with you am of those who wait.28
There are numerous traditions to this effect that we quoted in the discussion of Intezar. Thus if they knew about the time of reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) it would be against the purpose and before the time of reappearance they would despair of it. And this would cause many purposes to remain unachieved; therefore, the time of reappearance of His Eminence (aj) is concealed from them. Its reason is explained in the tradition of Ali bin Yaqteen in Kafi when he asked about it from Imam Musa Kazim (as).
Imam (as) said: The Shias are being trained in that hope for two hundred years. And Yaqteen said to his son, Ali! 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 are 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 become hard and then most people would apostatize 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.29
Explanation: Regarding the Imam’s statement that the Shias are trained in it for two hundred years, it is most probably that since Shias fell into deep sorrow as a result of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) the Imams (as) gave them hope of reappearance and victory of Imam Mahdi (aj) and this period had stretched to two hundred years till that time.
Another explanation is also mentioned regarding this traditional report. It is that it is talking of the time since the Besat of the Holy Prophet (S), though it is farfetched. Some scholars have said: The believer were having a difficult time at the time of Besat in the same way as after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S) and during the time of Amirul Momineen (as), Hasan and Husain (as) and each of them assured the people regarding the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj), and Allah knows best.
Aspect Three: The reason of concealing the time of reappearance from people is one of the demands of Ghaibat: Test and examination of people; and same is the case of keeping secret the knowledge of reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) and if it is not so, the test of people would not be complete and the haste makers will not be distinguished from others as mentioned in numerous traditions.
In Ghaibat Nomani it is narrated from Ibne Abi Yafur that he said: “I asked Imam Sadiq (as): “May I be sacrificed on you, how many Arabs will be there with al-Qaim?” He said, “Very few.” I said, “By Allah, those who talk about this matter among the Arabs, are too many.” He said, “People must be tried, sifted and purified. Much many people will be thrown away from the sieve.”30 In another tradition the same thing is narrated from Abu Baseer. In the same book, it is reported from Imam Hasan or Husain Ibne Ali (as) that he said: “The matter that you are expecting will not occur until a time comes that you disavow each other, spit at the face of each other, declare unbelief against each other and curse each other.” I (the narrator) said to him, “There will be goodness in that time!” He said, “All the goodness will be in that time. Our Qaim will rise up and do away with all of that.” 31
In another report it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said: “O Malik bin Dhamra, how about you when the Shias disagree like this?” He interlaced the fingers of his two hands. I (the narrator) said: O Amirul Momineen, there will be no goodness then.” He said, “O Malik, all the goodness will be then! At that time our Qaim will appear…32
It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: “By Allah, you are going to be broken up like glass but glass is remade and it returns as before. By Allah, you are going to be broken like the breaking of pottery but pottery is never remade as before. By Allah, you are going to be sifted, to be clarified and to be purified until none of you remains save the least. (He shrank his hand).”33
It is narrated from Imam Ali Ibne Musa Ja’far (as) that he said: “By Allah, that which you look forward to, will not be until you are tested and clarified and until none of you will remain save the least and the least.”34
Imam Baqir (as) is reported to have said: “What are you talking about? Never! Never! That, which you look forward to, will not be until you are tested. Never! That, which you look forward to, will not be until you are clarified. Never! That, which you look forward to, will not be until you are sifted. That, which you look forward to, will not be except after despair. That, which you look forward to, will not be until he, who is to be wretched,becomes wretched and he, who is to be happy, becomes happy.”35
A similar tradition is mentioned by Muhammad bin Yaqoob Kulaini through his own chain of narrators and what we have stated so far is enough for the people of guidance.
Aspect Four: Keeping the timing secret is a favor to believers in the time of occultation of His Eminence (aj). As mentioned in the previous traditions it is a matter that can be advanced as well as delayed due to some reasons that are concealed from the people. If it is delayed may people would fall into doubt that the promise of the Almighty Allah is not true. Our master, Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) has mentioned this reason in a traditional report mentioned in Kafi etc. from Fudail bin Yasar that he said: I asked His Eminence (aj): Is there a time for this? He replied: The time-fixers have lied. They have lied, they have lied. Indeed, when Musa (as) left at the invitation of his Lord, he promised his people that he would be gone for thirty days, but when the Almighty Allah increased them by ten days, the people said: The promise that Musa made is invalid…And they did what they did. Thus when we narrate something to you and it happens in the same way, you must say: The Almighty Allah has said the truth. And when we narrate something to you and something opposed to that happens, you must say: The Almighty Allah has said the truth. And you will get twice the reward.36
I say: It is possible that they would get two times the reward; once for their faith and the second time for their patience; and there are other possibilities also, and Allah knows best.
Note: The occurrence of Bada is that people come to know of the destiny of a thing which had been concealed from them due to divine exigency and Allah knows what must be hidden from them and what must be revealed. The meaning of Bada is doubtful for the Ahle Sunnah, therefore they have denied it and said it is due to ignorance of Almighty Allah as mentioned in twenty-first duty under part five, which may be referred once again.
Conclusion and Explanation: It is that from the first three aspects that we have derived from the sayings of Masoomeen (as) is concealing the time of reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) in an absolute way; that is they have not informed about the exact time of reappearance as it is one of the hidden wisdoms and exigency that demands concealment as is obvious to all who are experts in this field and who are conversant with the traditions of the Holy Imams (as).
As for the fourth aspect: It is only like concealing the changed time of reappearance from the people, because if they were aware of the exact time, divine wisdom demands that the time of reappearance must be delayed further and more people fall into doubts and be haunted with bewilderment as it happened in the case of Bani Israel.
If it is said: Then how people were informed about some Badi-i matters and then due to exigency something else happened? As seen in the incident of the young man whose death was foretold by Prophet Dawood (as), the woman whose death was foretold by Prophet Isa (as), the Jew whose death was foretold by our Prophet (S) and he did not die and the time of reappearance and relief that was foretold at a time and it did not occur then; did this all not put the people into doubts and bewilderment?
In reply we say: It was from the aspect of divine proofs who being among the people informed them about the Bada and postponement of the request of the people while during Ghaibat the people are deprived from meeting the Imam and asking him questions. On the basis of this, whatever is told with regard to reappearance in the changed time, it was postponed due to divine exigency. And Imam and proofs are also not present among them, who can remove their doubts and bewilderment, who can mention to them the wisdom behind them and its truth; thus they will continue in the valley of deviation and doubts. That is why they are not told of the true time of reappearance as it is best for them in order to guard them from deviation.
If it is said: Since the believers have faith in the truthfulness of the Holy Imams (as) and they believe that there is divine will and change in fate, they will never fall into doubts and bewilderment whether the Imam is present with them or is in occultation.
In reply we say: This condition and position of the believers is complete as faith is deep rooted in their hearts, and by a firm proof and evidence and the Almighty Allah supports them by a holy spirit from His side, and these are very less in comparison to others; as for the majority, their faith is weak and like wheat in the fields they incline to the direction of the wind.
Therefore the Imam (as) wanted that they must be trained and taken care of and that their strength should be perfected to enable them to reach the aimed position. And that whatever is to their detriment may be removed from them. It is from this aspect that the Holy Imams (as) kept most of the matters concealed from most of their Shias to protect them and it was a kindness to them. It is so because the Imam is an affectionate father, as mentioned in the tradition of qualities and excellence of the Imam in Kafi37 etc.
From what we have mentioned so far, it becomes clear that the informing of Prophet Musa (as) about the time of reappearance to Bani Israel did not cause them to deviate; it was a test for them. And when he informed them of the time that the Almighty Allah had ordered and went into occultation appointing his brother, Haroon, as his successor and appointing him as his proof; whereas these people, in separation of the divine proof, they gave up referring to him and even wanted to kill him. Thus the Qur’an says:
ابْنَ أُمَّ إِنَّ الْقَوْمَ اسْتَضْعَفُونِي وَكَادُوا يَقْتُلُونَنِي
Son of my mother! surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me. (Qur’an, Surah Araaf 7:150)
And the Almighty Allah said:
وَلَقَدْ قَالَ لَهُمْ هَارُونُ مِنْ قَبْلُ يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّمَا فُتِنْتُمْ بِهِ ۖ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ فَاتَّبِعُونِي وَأَطِيعُوا أَمْرِي .
قَالُوا لَنْ نَبْرَحَ عَلَيْهِ عَاكِفِينَ حَتَّىٰ يَرْجِعَ إِلَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ
And certainly Haroon had said to them before: O my people! you are only tried by it, and surely your Lord is the Beneficent God, therefore follow me and obey my order. They said: We will by no means cease to keep to its worship until Musa returns to us. (Qur’an, Surah Taha 20:90-91)
If it is said: “It is narrated from Hazrat Hujjat: And as for the new problems, you may refer to those who are narrators of our traditions; they are my proofs on you and I am the proof of Allah…” and he has appointed the scholars during Ghaibat as the points of reference for the people, on the basis of this, the proof is complete on the believers just as during the time of presence of the Imam and they have what is needed to remove doubts and deviation.
Thus they are like those believers who ask questions from the Imam when they are present. While during their Ghaibat they refer to the scholars who are trustees of the knowledge of Imams (as).38
Thus they can refer to them whenever they are in doubts and there is no need that they must be told the changed time of reappearance.
In reply we say: Firstly: It is possible that during some of the time of Ghaibat, knowledge is hidden and due to the absence of scholars or due to the dominance of tyrants etc. and that time in the terminology of traditions is called “Zamana Fitrat”. During that time, the believer will not find anyone who could remove his doubts and bewilderment and who can explain to him the cause of divine wisdom and exigency. It is this that is mentioned in traditional report of Shaykh Nomani in Ghaibah through the author’s own chain of narrators from Aban bin Taghlib from His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: A time will come on the people, in which knowledge will be bound as a snake bound in its hole. While they are in such a condition, a star will shine to them.39
I (the narrator) asked: What do we do during that time? He replied: Keep to what you have kept to until Allah makes your star shine to you.
Explanation: The word of ‘bound’ shows that it is hidden.
Secondly: Although great scholars were the special representatives of the Imam (as) during the period of occultation, they were points of reference for the people and they informed them of the lawful and the prohibited, they were unaware of the time of reappearance and they did not even know about the true cause of Ghaibat as mentioned in the tradition of Abu Hamza in which Amirul Momineen (as) said that the people will not know about the true cause of Ghaibat till the Imam himself does not reappear and inform them about it.
The same is the case with other divine exigencies but their discussion is beyond the scope of this book. The Almighty Allah is one who guides to truth. Thus it can be concluded that it is the duty of Imam (aj) to solve the problems and expose the realities and not revealing them during the period of occultation is related to the people. We pray to the Almighty Allah to give the Taufeeq to hasten the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj).
And thirdly: Indeed, the Almighty Allah is kind to His servants and His mercies are of two types:
Type one: It is the mercy that is obligatory on Him from the aspect of logic and Islamic texts and it is the same whose opposite is evil and bad. The Almighty Allah does not commit a deed which is evil and bad, since He is much above that. It is the same that kindness is obligatory on Allah. In this regard there is no condition of time and persons. In the same way, He cannot order anyone to commit such a deed. Or command them to do something regarding which they cannot have any knowledge. Therefore sending of prophets is obligatory on Him and giving them miracles is also obligatory according to the rule of kindness and all the people of all the time period are equal in this.
Type two: It is that which though not obligatory through the rule of logic, but it is a by way of favor to anyone He likes in whichever way He likes (He cannot be questioned concerning what He does and they shall be questioned.).40 It is in this way that the Almighty Allah has been kind to the Ummah of Muhammad (S) due to the fact that it had to bear so many difficulties as mentioned in the following verse:
لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا
Do not lay on us a burden as You didst lay on those before us. (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:286)
Also, it is the same with keeping secret from the people the knowledge of the time of reappearance of their Imam (as), and the Almighty Allah is not such that He would leave excuse to anyone when He has completed His argument and made it clear to them through logic and sense the truthfulness of their Imams (as) but still He has concealed the actual time of reappearance for some hidden reason so that they may not fall into doubts and misunderstandings.
From all that we have mentioned so far, it becomes clear that it is a special favor of the Almighty Allah that He has kept the time of reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) a secret from the people and it is a divine favor. So we must think upon it.
Third Issue: The apparent meaning of many traditions is that the Imams (as) know all that is and will be till Judgment Day and that which is mentioned in a tradition that they are not ignorant of anything and that the knowledge of everything is present in the Qur’an, as mentioned by the Almighty Allah:
وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ
And We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything. (Qur’an, Surah Nahl 16:89)
The Imam derives it from them and the Almighty Allah says:
وَمَا مِنْ غَائِبَةٍ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ
And there is nothing concealed in the heaven and the earth but it is in a clear book. (Qur’an, Surah Naml 27:75)
Also the Almighty Allah said:
ثُمَّ أَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتَابَ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا ُ
Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants. (Qur’an, Surah Fatir 35:32)
They are Imams according to a tradition; then the Almighty Allah says:
وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُبِينٍ
And We have recorded everything in a clear leader. (Qur’an, Surah Yasin 36:12)
That is Amirul Momineen (as) as narrated by the Holy Imams (as) with the background that they are equal in knowledge and valor and that whatever Amirul Momineen (as) knew, they also are cognizant of it.
In the same way is the statement of Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: The Almighty Allah does not appoint anyone as a Divine Proof who when asked about something say: I don’t know.
The saying of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) that: Among the knowledges entrusted to us is: Exegesis of Qur’an and its laws, knowledge of changes and happenings of the time, and when the Almighty Allah wants good of a people He makes them hearing, and thus those who do not have a hearing ear, they turn their back on that which they hear and turn away from that which they imagine not to hear. Then Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) was silent for sometime, and then he said: If I had found vessels or reliable people I would have told them about what I know.
From traditions given in Basair and Kafi etc. we can sum up as follows: The Imams (as) is aware of the timing of his reappearance but he has not been permitted to reveal it. In the same way as the Imams (as) just as they are not allowed to reveal most justifications, because Imams (as), although are aware of everything with few exceptions, like the Great Name of Allah, which the Almighty Allah has reserved for Himself and did not inform any of the people. But the Imams are:
لَا يَسْبِقُونَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ وَهُمْ بِأَمْرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ
They do not precede Him in speech and (only) according to His commandment do they act. (Qur’an, Surah Anbiya 21:27)
and the servants of Allah do not inform about anything that the Almighty Allah has not told them to as mentioned in traditions of Kafi and Basair.41
The conclusion of the traditional report is that the Almighty Allah has ordered the people to ask the Imams (as) as mentioned in the verses:
فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
So ask the followers of the reminder if you do not know. (Qur’an, Surah Anbiya 21:7)
That is it is upon them to ask, but the Imam is not bound to reply them. Rather it is upon their discretion to reply or not. The Almighty Allah says:
هَٰذَا عَطَاؤُنَا فَامْنُنْ أَوْ أَمْسِكْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
This is Our free gift, therefore give freely or withhold, without reckoning. (Qur’an, Surah Saad 38:39)
Thus the Imam says only that which is for good and conceals that which needs to be concealed. We could have if we liked, mentioned a tradition in support of each of these points but it would have unnecessarily prolonged the matter and we would have gone beyond the scope of our discussion. Only a little indication is sufficient for the wise. In the whole corpus of traditions we have found only the following two traditions which are opposed to what we have stated.
First tradition: If one verse had not been in the Qur’an I would have told you everything that is to happen till Judgment Day. It is:
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)
Similar types of statements are recorded from the Holy Imams (as).
Second tradition: It is mentioned in the report of Abu Hamza Thumali quoted above, from His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Imam Baqir (as) at the end of which he said: And after that its time was not told to us:
And there is no animal in the earth but on Allah is the sustenance of it, and He knows its resting place and its depository all (things) are in a manifest book.
Complete consideration of this shows that it is in no way negating the knowledge of the Imam regarding the time of reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj).
First tradition: Its meaning is that the verse, Allah erases what He likes…prevents the people from being told everything that will happen till Qiyamat because His Eminence (aj) has not said: If a verse had not been there in Qur’an, I would have known all that will happen. He, in fact, said: If one verse had not been in the Qur’an I would have told you everything that is to happen till Judgment Day. The Arabic term of ‘Lau-la’ shows that it is in negation of the predicate.
Thus we can conclude that there are many issues regarding which the Almighty Allah wants the people to be unaware of them and there were some matters that after being concealed, were made known to them.
Thus He erases and He writes…and the Almighty Allah knows from the beginning what to erase and what to write and the source of the Book (Ummul Kitab) is with Him. And it is the Lauhe Mahfooz on which runs the pen writing all that was and all that is happening. And from the aspect of many exigencies and hidden wisdoms, He has informed the people of the slate of erasing and writing; for example:
1. Telling them about generality of power and dominance of exigency and His will, so that the Jews and apostates may not say that the hands of the Almighty Allah are tied up.
2. It is that people serve Allah; that they may be submissive to Him and supplicate Him so that they may gain one of the two good deeds: that is they reach their aim in this life only or that they earn the reward of supplicating.
3. Many tests and trials to differentiate the good people and sometimes they occur in erasing and writing so that some believe in it and some deny it as some heretic philosophers think. Sometimes it is in testimony of the Purified Imams (as) and Divine Proofs and it occurs in their knowledge, as they have informed that Bada has occurred in it from the aspect that it is from the conditional matters in which erasing and writing continues. Thus the believers have testified for them and due to tradition of Fudail bin Yasar that was mentioned in the fourth aspect, should be considered sufficient and should be referred again.
However, he has rejected his opponents and mentioned that they have attributed lies to the Almighty Allah and they think that Imams (as) have fabricated them so that they may have a route of escape in that which they tell to the Shias and it happens in the opposite way. However, the Almighty Allah has spoken of erasing and writing in His own Book so that His proofs and bayyainat (Imams) may talk about them and explain them and that they may reject the statement of ignorant and sinful people that the Almighty Allah is much above what He is described as.
4. Sometimes tests and trials are effects that are related to the instance of erasing and writing, in the stage of reliance, servitude, humility, supplication and things that would lead to change of destiny. There are many reasons for tests and trials also but their discussion would be appropriate in some other place.
The conclusion is that the Almighty Allah has informed that erasing and writing is true but He has kept concealed some of them and revealed some of them. We have mentioned some of them and if one thinks upon traditional reports he would find many such examples, Insha Allah. Thus if the Imam informs someone that what his end would be and what is going to happen till the end of time, there would be contradiction in it, because there are many things that alter the destiny.
Thus he said: If this had not been there I would have informed you what is going to happen till Judgment Day. From what we have mentioned, it is learnt that the verse of erasing and writing is one whose demand is to restrain Imams (as) from informing what would happen till Judgment Day and it does not deny their knowledge.
Note: It is that the tradition mentioned above and others like it, prove that the Imams (as) are not allowed to tell the people everything that is going to happen. Their job is only to tell the people about some of the happenings of the world; and this is also due to many reasons, for example:
1. To prove their veracity as regards other incidents, laws and the lawful and the prohibited etc. that we have mentioned.
2. Completion of the faith of the believers and completion of argument on the disbelievers.
3. Assuring the believers and encouraging them to await for the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj).
It is from this aspect that they have mentioned about all that would come to happen before the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj). One of them being the changing of turbans into hats during the time of the Shah and second: Happiness and thankfulness of the people on having children and it was in the year that the Shah made two year government duty compulsory, in 1347 A.H. I pray to the Almighty Allah to hasten the reappearance of the Imam of the Time (aj) so that he may destroy the foundations of injustice and corruption.
In Noorul Ayn that was probably written around 170 years ago, has mentioned from the Holy Prophet (S) two things among the signs of the last age.
Also, we can see men resembling women and women resembling men in their dress and ornaments; and the open display of bad habits, like the ways of vain pastimes and music and openly embracing in public roads, commanding evil and forbidding good. The sinful people are given respect and the believers are humiliated; people consider Zakat to be a fine on wealth and think the sin is a form of windfall. All these things are mentioned in the sayings of the most truthful Prophet and his successors. I pray to the Almighty Allah to hasten the reappearance of His Wali so that His Eminence may give relief to the believers and bring them out of hardships. Some of the signs we mentioned above have only appeared within a short span of time and without any doubt to witness these matters, is source of faith for the believer, completion of argument on the deniers, the doubters and the falsifiers.
econd tradition: As for the second tradition, that is the report of Abu Hamza Thumali, its first and last proves that the aim of the Imam was to conceal the report from him and himself announces the tradition that is asking for confidentiality and secrecy, and we have mentioned its aspect in the reply of the question. The explanation is that the Almighty Allah created the Lauhe Mahfooz in the sky and made it a repository of all the knowledges, incidents and judgments as He says:
وَمَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا وَيَعْلَمُ مُسْتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسْتَوْدَعَهَا ۚ كُلٌّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ
And there is no animal in the earth but on Allah is the sustenance of it, and He knows its resting place and its depository all (things) are in a manifest book. (Qur’an, Surah Hud 11:6)
In Surah Taha He says:
قَالَ عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبِّي فِي كِتَابٍ
He said: The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a book. (Qur’an, Surah Taha 20:52)
In Surah Naml He says:
وَمَا مِنْ غَائِبَةٍ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ
And there is nothing concealed in the heaven and the earth but it is in a clear book. (Qur’an, Surah Naml 27:75)
He says in Surah Saba:
لَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْهُ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا أَصْغَرُ مِنْ ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرُ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ
Not the weight of an atom becomes absent from Him, in the heavens or in the earth, and neither less than that nor greater, but (all) is in a clear book. (Qur’an, Surah Saba 34:3)
It is mentioned in Surah Fatir:
مُعَمَّرٍ وَلَا يُنْقَصُ مِنْ عُمُرِهِ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ
Nor is aught diminished of one’s life, but it is all in a book; surely this is easy to Allah. (Qur’an, Surah Fatir 35:11)
It is mentioned in Surah Qaf:
وَعِنْدَنَا كِتَابٌ حَفِيظٌ
And with Us is a writing that preserves. (Qur’an, Surah Qaf 50:4)
It is mentioned in Surah Hadid:
مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَبْرَأَهَا
No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence. (Qur’an, Surah Hadid 57:22)
It is mentioned in Surah Waqiyah:
إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ
فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ
لَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ
Most surely it is an honored Qur’an. In a book that is protected. None shall touch it save the purified ones. (Qur’an, Surah Waqiyah 56:77-79)
The Almighty Allah created an equal of Lauhe Mahfooz in the earth, and that is Imam (as). He is the Lauh of the kingdom just as the Lauhe Mahfooz is for the ethereal sphere and all that He entrusted to the heavenly Lauhe Mahfooz, the same was given to Imam (as). Thus the Almighty Allah says:
وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُبِينٍ
And We have recorded everything in a clear writing. (Qur’an, Surah Yasin 36:12)
And He says:
Ha Mim! I swear by the Book that makes manifest (the truth). (Qur’an, Surah Dukhan 44:1-2)
It is mentioned in some traditions that Amirul Momineen (as) is the same Imame Mubeen (the manifest Imam).
In Kafi it is narrated from Imam Musa Kazim (as) in the tradition of a Christian who converted to Islam that: Ha Meem is the Messenger of Allah (S) and ‘Kitaabe mubeen’ is Amirul Momineen (as).42
Traditional reports regarding the values of the knowledges of Imams (as) are more than that they can be counted, if you like to see them you may refer to the book of Basairud Darajaat, may the Almighty Allah give its author the best of the rewards.43 There are traditions that state that all the Imams (as) are equal in knowledge, bravery and other good qualities and what Amirul Momineen (as) knew, the Imam after him also knew and same is the case of the other Imams.
Now that you have understood this point we say: Just as the Almighty Allah entrusted Lauhe Mahfooz with all the knowledge of everything, except for that in which there is some good, He did not reveal and the rest He concealed from the people subject to the conditions of the persons and times, in the same way is the one whom He has made as Lauhe Mahfooz on the earth. He has entrusted to him all the knowledge but only that is given from them in which there is goodness and the rest is concealed. Thus Allah, the Mighty and Sublime says:
الْأَرْضِ وَلَٰكِنْ يُنَزِّلُ بِقَدَرٍ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ
But He sends it down according to a measure as He pleases. (Qur’an, Surah Shura 42:27)
The Almighty Allah says:
أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ.
تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا
Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven. Yielding its fruit in every season by the permission of its Lord? (Qur’an, Surah Ibrahim 14:24-25)
Imam (as) is that same pure tree as mentioned in many, rather Mutawatir traditions and its fruit is his only, and he can increase it by the leave of his Lord as mentioned in Mutawatir traditions.
The conclusion is that Imam wanted to conceal the explanation of this matter and that which proves it is the beginning part of question and answer. Also that which proves it is the saying of Imam Sadiq (as) to Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Noman under a lengthy tradition in Tohafful Uqool in which he said: O Ibne Noman, the scholar (sinless Imam) cannot tell you of everything he knows, because he is God’s secret that He revealed to Gabriel the angel. Gabriel revealed it to Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), and he revealed to Ali (peace be upon him) who revealed it to Al-Hasan (peace be upon him). Al-Hasan revealed to al-Husain (peace be upon him) who revealed to Ali (peace be upon him). Ali (peace be upon him) revealed it to Muhammad (peace be upon him) who revealed it to someone. Do not be hasty.
This issue (advent of Mahdi) was about to be come forth three times, but it was postponed because you declared it publicly. Your enemies are more acquainted with your secrets…44Think upon this traditional report carefully; anyone who has hearing will say that Imams (as) know the time of reappearance but they have been restrained by the Almighty Allah as the Shias cannot bear it.
If it is said: On the basis of this, it is necessary that the statement of Imam (as) to Abu Hamza was a lie because His Eminence (aj) said: After that we were not told of the fixed time. In reply we shall say: The venerable Shaykh Muhammad bin Hasan Saffar through correct chain of narrators in Basairud Darajaat has mentioned from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: Indeed, I say a word that has seventy aspects and we can come out from any of the charges.45 And through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Ali bin Hamza that he said: I and Abu Baseer came to His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) and we had just taken our seats when His Eminence made a statement. I said to myself: I will consider it for the Shias and it is a tradition, the like of which I have not heard. He said: Then His Eminence glanced at me and said: When I utter a single letter, there are seventy aspects to it for me, I can take this or I can take that.46
Through correct chain of narrators, it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: Till the time you can understand my statements you will be the most ardent jurisprudents, indeed our statements have seventy aspects.47
There are many, rather Mutawatir traditions in the meaning of this traditional report and it proves that whenever he says something it is apparently opposed to his other statements or someone may think that it is untruth. This proves that the Imam does not mean the apparent meaning and to come out of it is upon him only. Thus it is obligatory on us to testify for him and to leave his knowledge to himself. Lest we deny something out of ignorance as some of his statements are based on Taqayyah and exigencies and we don’t understand them. If the dear readers try to study their statements with interest, they will surely be helped by Allah in understanding them.
Among that which proves this, is the report of Al-Kafi48 etc., in which it is reported from Sudair that he said: “I, Abu Baseer, Yahya al-Bazzaz and Dawood Ibne Kathir were in the majlis (the room for receiving people) of Abu Abdillah (as), when he came out to us in a state of anger. He took his place and said: ‘How strange it is that some groups claim that we know the ghayb. No one knows the ghayb except Allah; to Whom belong Might and Majesty. I had intended to beat my female slave, so-and-so, but she fled from me and I did not know in which room of the house she was.’” Sudair said: “But when he stood up from the majlis and went into his private quarters, I, Abu Baseer and Maysar went in and said to him: ‘May we be your ransom, we heard you say this and that about the matter of your female slave, and we know that you have a very broad and extensive knowledge, but we do not attribute knowledge of the ghayb to you.’” He said: “He said: ‘O Sudair! Have you not read the Qur’an?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Have you found in what you have read of the Book of Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty:
قَالَ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمٌ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ
Said he who possessed knowledge from the Book: I will bring it to thee, before ever thy glance returns to thee. (Qur’an, Surah Naml 27:40)
“And those who disbelieve say: You are not a messenger. Say: Allah is sufficient as a witness between me and you and whoever has knowledge of the Book.”
He said: “I said: ‘May I be made your ransom, I have read it.’ He said: ‘Did you understand (who) the man was? Did you know how much of the knowledge of the Book he possessed?’” He said: “I said: ‘Tell me about it.’ He said: ‘It was the amount of a drop from the blue (deep) sea (of knowledge), but what (portion) of the knowledge of the Book was that?’” He said: “I said: ‘May I be made your ransom, how little that is!’ Then he said: ‘O Sudair, how much it is! (unless it be that) Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty, compares it to the knowledge which I shall tell you about, O Sudair, have you also found in what you have read of the Book of Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty:
قُلْ كَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُمْ وَمَنْ عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ الْكِتَابِ
Say: Allah suffices as a witness between me and you, and whosoever possesses knowledge of the Book. (Qur’an, Surah Raad 13:43)
He said: “I said: ‘Yes, I have read it, may I be made your ransom.’ He said: ‘Is he who possesses the knowledge of the Book, all of it, more knowledgeable, or he who possesses knowledge of the Book, (but only) some of it?’ I said: ‘No, rather he who possesses knowledge of the Book, all of it.’” He said: “Then he pointed with his hand to his chest and said: ‘The knowledge of the Book, by Allah, all of it, is in our possession; the knowledge of the Book, by Allah, all of it, is in our possession.’”
Note and Conclusion: Think upon these traditions from the beginning to the end and you will come to know that what we have said is right. What the Imams (as) say is based on their knowledge and not what is apparent. It is revealed as an exigency because His Eminence knows who all are sitting in his assembly at that time. Whether it is hypocrites or extremists. Or the Imam may be aware of other reasons than this. Thus he said what was in the interest of all and later explained also if there was something lacking in his statement. An Imam is one who is having the knowledge of unseen and he has all the knowledge of the book. From what we have mentioned above it is proved that the Imam is like Lauhe Mahfooz and he contains all the knowledge as mentioned in some Ziarats and traditional reports, that the Imam is the treasurer of divine knowledge. Now it is your duty to struggle in his statements and think on them carefully so that your faith increases and your belief becomes perfect and forgiveness is from Allah.
Hafiz Bursi says in Mashriqul Anwaarul Yaqeen: Imam (as) is higher than Lauhe Mahfooz due to the following:
First: Lauh is a vessel of remembrance, lines and writings, and Imam encompasses the lines and the secrets of the lines, therefore he is superior to Lauh.
Secondly: The Arabic term of ‘Lauhe Mahfooz’ is on the weight of ‘Mafool’ and the term of ‘Imame Mubeen’ is on the weight of ‘Foeel’ which is in the meaning of active participle (a doer); thus he is more knowing about the secrets than Lauh, and the Isme Faael is superior to Isme Mafool.
Thirdly: The absolute Wali is having everything and he encompasses everything and Lauh is a thing; so the Imam is encompassing that also and is superior to it; he is more knowing than it.49
- 1. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 155
- 2. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 155
- 3. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 155, 156
- 4. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 368
- 5. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 368
- 6. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 155
- 7. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 155
- 8. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 368
- 9. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 10. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 11. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 12. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 262
- 13. Al-Ihtijaaj, Shaykh Tabarsi, Vol. 2, Pg. 281
- 14. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 176
- 15. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 263; Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 368; Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 157
- 16. Surah Raad 13:39
- 17. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 265
- 18. Ghaibat, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 263
- 19. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 157
- 20. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 157
- 21. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 220, Tr. no. 14
- 22. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 106, Tr. no. 13;Ayyashi, Vol. 2, Pg. 3, Tr. no. 3
- 23. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 121, Tr. no. 50
- 24. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 146 and in Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 235, Tr. no. 104
- 25. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 23, Chapter 11, Tr. no. 11
- 26. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 23, Chapter 11, Tr. no. 10
- 27. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 401
- 28. Surah Yunus 10:20
- 29. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 369
- 30. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 109
- 31. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 109
- 32. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 109
- 33. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 110
- 34. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 111
- 35. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 111
- 36. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 368
- 37. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 200
- 38. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 484
- 39. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 81
- 40. Surah Anbiya 21:23
- 41. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 38, Chapter 19
- 42. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 479
- 43. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 127, Chapter 6, Tr. no. 3
- 44. Tohaf al-Uqool, Pg. 229
- 45. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 359, Chapter 9
- 46. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 32, Chapter 9
- 47. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 329, Chapter 9
- 48. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 257,Maysar is included in the text in Basairud Darajat, Pg. 213
- 49. Mashaariqul Anwaarul Yaqeen, Pg. 125