The traditions that indicate some of the benefits of his existence and how people benefit from him during his occultation and how he manages the affairs
Comprised of nine traditions
636. Nahj al-balāgha1:
Yes, by Allah! The earth will not become empty of a person who establishes Allah’s proof—either apparently [while they are] known or afraid [while they are] hidden; so that Allah’s proofs and clear arguments are not nullified. How many are they and where [are they]? By Allah, they are few in number but have great stature before Allah. Through them, Allah guards His proofs and clear arguments until they entrust them to others who are like themselves and sow its seeds in the hearts of those who are similar to them.
Knowledge has led them to real understanding and they have blended themselves with the spirit of certainty. They regard as easy what the extremely wealthy regard as hard. They find peace in what the ignorant have fright of. They live in this world with bodies whose souls are hanging in the highest place. They are the Successors of Allah on His earth and the callers to His religion. Oh, oh, how I yearn to see them!2
637. Yanābī` al-mawadda3: Citing Nahj al-balāgha:
From us is the Mahdī. He will move in the world while carrying a radiant lamp and will tread on the path of the virtuous, in order to unfasten knots, free slaves, divide the united and unite the divided. He will be in concealment from the people. The stalker will not find his footprints even though he pursues with his eyes.
Also in Nahj al-balāgha ([Egypt], vol. 2, p. 47, no. 146):
O people! This is the time for the occurrence of every promised event and the approach of things which you do not know. Whoever from among us will be during these days will move through them with a burning lamp and will tread on the footsteps of the virtuous, in order to unfasten knots, free slaves, divide the united and unite the divided. He will be in concealment from the people. The stalker will not find his footprints even though he pursues with his eyes. Then a group of people will be sharpened like the sharpening of swords by the blacksmith. Their sight will be brightened by revelation, the [delicacies of the Quran’s] commentary will be put in their ears and they will be given drinks of wisdom, morning and evening.4
638. Farā’id al-simṭain5: Informed us Abū Ja`far, ibn Bābawayh, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Simnānī, from Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā b. Zakariyyā al-Qattān, from Bakr b. `Abd-Allah b. Ḥabīb, from Faḍl b. al-Ṣaqr al-`Abdī, from Mu`āwiya, from Sulaimān b. Mihrān al-A’mash, from al-Ṣādiq Ja`far b. Muḥammad, peace be on him, from his father Muḥammad b. `Alī, peace be on him, from his father `Alī b. al-Ḥusayn, peace be on him, who said:
We are the leaders of the Muslims, Allah’s Proofs upon the worlds, the masters (sādat) of the believers, the chiefs of those who will have shiny faces [on the Day of Judgment], and the masters (mawālī) of the faithful. We are security for the inhabitants of the earth just as the stars are security for the inhabitants of the sky. We are those due to whom the sky is withheld from falling on the earth except with His permission; due to us, the earth is withheld from shaking its inhabitants; due to us it rains and mercy is spread and the blessings of the earth come out.
If someone from us didn’t exist on earth, the earth would have swallowed its inhabitants. Ever since Allah created Adam, the earth has not been empty of Allah’s Proof—[who has been] either apparent and known or hidden and concealed—and it will not become empty until the Hour [i.e. Judgment Day] is established. Had it not been so, Allah would not have been worshipped.
Sulaimān says, “I asked (Imam) al-Ṣādiq, peace be on him, ‘How will the people benefit from a hidden and concealed proof?’ He answered, ‘Just like they benefit from the sun when the clouds cover it.6’”
639. Kamāl al-dīn7: Narrated to me my father, may Allah be satisfied with him, from Sa`d b. `Abd-Allah, from Hārūn b. Muslim, from Sa`dān, from Mas`adat b. Ṣadaqa, from Abū `Abd-Allah [al-Ṣādiq], from his forefathers, from `Alī, peace be on them all, who said:
O Allah! There must exist on Your earth Your Proof upon Your creatures, who guides them to Your religion and teaches them [from] Your knowledge, so that Your argument is not negated and the followers of Your friends are not deviated after You guide them. [This proof must exist] regardless of him being apparent and not obeyed, or hidden and fearing [for his life]. Even though he is hidden from the people—while they are guided—his knowledge and his customs are firmly established in the hearts of the believers and they act upon them.
640. Kitāb Faḍl b. Shādhān8: Narrated to us Muḥammad b. Abī `Umair and Ṣafwān b. Yaḥyā, from Jamīl b. Darrāj, from (Imam) al-Ṣādiq, from his father, from his forefathers, from Amīr al-Mu’minīn, peace be on them all, who said:
Islam and a just ruler are two brothers who are always together. One will not be corrected without the other. Islam is the foundation and the just ruler is the protector. What is without a foundation will be destroyed and what is without a protector will be spoiled. It is because of this that when our Qā’im departs from this world, nothing will remain this world.
The following traditions also prove the above point: 245 and 609
- 1. Nahj al-balāgha, p. 497, saying no. 147; Tadhkirat al-ḥuffāẓ, vol. 1, p. 11; Dastūr ma`ālim al-ḥikam, chap. 4, pp. 82–85, through his chain of narrators from Kumail; al-Ghārāt, vol. 1, p. 153; Tuḥaf al-`uqūl, section on his sayings to Kumail b. Ziyād, p. 170; al-Khiṣāl, chap. 3, p. 187; al-Amālī, pp. 19–20, no. 23; Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 23, chap. 1, pp. 44–46, no. 91; al-Mufīd, al-Amālī, session 29, p. 250; Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 1, chap. 26, p. 289, no. 2; Also see al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 9, p. 46, and many other sources.
- 2. Nahj al-balāgha, saying no. 147.
- 3. Yanābī` al-mawadda, p. 437; Sharḥ nahj al-balāgha by Ṣubḥī al-Ṣāliḥ, Sermon 150, p. 208.
- 4. Nahj al-balāgha, trans. Sayed Ali Reza (Iran: Sayed Mujtaba Musavi Lari Foundation), sermon 149 (with some minor changes in the translation);
- 5. Farā’id al-simṭain, vol. 1, chap. 2, pp. 45–46, no. 11; Yanābī` al-mawadda, p. 477.
- 6. Al-Majlisī, may Allah have mercy on him, has mentioned some aspects of his similarity with the sun when it is covered by the clouds:
The lights of existence, knowledge, and guidance reach the people through him; since it has been established through many traditions that they are the ultimate cause for the creation of the creatures. Was it not for them, the light of existence would not have reached anything other than them [i.e. no one would have come into existence]. Because of their blessings, us asking them for intercession, and by asking them for help, the sciences and knowledge have become manifest for the people and calamities have been dispelled from them. If it was not for them, the people would have [been punished with] various punishments due to their hideous deeds. As Allah, the Exalted, declares, ‘Allah will not punish them while you are with them’ (Quran 8:33). We have experienced many times in affairs which we reached a dead end, in difficult issues, in times when we became distant from [Allah], the Exalted, and when the doors of grace were closed, then, when we sought their intercession and implored [through] their lights—proportional to our spiritual connection with them in that time—the problems were solved. This has been experienced by those whom Allah has decorated the eyes of their hearts with the light of faith. We have already explained this in the Book of Imamate [in Biḥār al-anwār].
Just as the people long for the sun to be uncovered so that they benefit more from it compared to when it is covered with clouds, likewise, during his occultation, the sincere Shias await his reappearance every moment and second, and don’t lose hope in him.
Those who deny he exists, even with the many clear signs [from him], are like those who deny the sun exists when the clouds hide it from the eyes.
Sometimes, it is better for the people that the sun hides behind the clouds. Similarly, his occultation is better for them in these times, hence, he is concealed from the people.
One who is staring at the sun cannot stare at it if it is not covered with clouds. One who looks at it can even become blinded due to the eyes’ weakness in encompassing it. Likewise, the sun of his holy existence might be harmful for their power of discernment and can make them become blind regarding the truth. Thus, their power of discernment can tolerate having faith in him during his occultation just as man looks towards the sun from beneath the clouds and [his eyes] will not be harmed.
The sun emerges from the clouds while one person can see it and another can’t. Likewise, it is possible that during his occultation, he shows himself to some people but not to others.
They [i.e. the Ahl al-Bait] are like the sun which is benefited by all, but, he who is blind cannot benefit from them. This has been mentioned in the traditions which explain the verse, ‘He who is blind in this [world], he will [also] he blind in the hereafter and in a more deviated path’ (Quran 17:72).
The sun’s rays enter the houses proportional to the windows and hatches that they have and proportional to the number of obstacles that have been removed. Similarly, people benefit from the lights of their guidance proportional to the number of obstacles which they have removed from their senses and perceptions which form the windows of their hearts—things like their desires or physical interests—and also proportional to what they remove from their hearts from the evil coverings to the extent that they reach the position where they are like those who are beneath the sky and enveloped by the sun’s rays from all sides without any veil. Indeed, eight doors from this spiritual paradise have been opened for you and Allah, on account of His grace, has opened for me another eight [doors], which cannot be discussed here. Hopefully, Allah will open for us and for you a thousand doors [which lead] to their recognition, which a further thousand doors open from each door.”
- 7. Kamāl al-dīn, vol. 1, chap. 27, p. 302, no. 11; Ithbāt al-waṣiyya, p. 251; Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 6, chap. 32, sect. 2, p. 363, no. 112.
- 8. Kifāyat al-muhtadī (al-Arba`īn), pp. 222–223, under no. 39; Kashf al-Haqq (al-Arba`īn), p. 203, no. 35, with the following wording: “When our Qā’im departs nothing will remain from Islam and when nothing remains from Islam, nothing will remain from this world.”