In the dawn of 15th Shaban 255 A.H., a brilliant glow appeared on the horizon of the universe. Its luminescence instilled a new life in humanity and nourished the universe with elixir. Despite the evil designs of the enemies, the Promise of Allah actualized in the form of the birth of Hazrat Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
The despicable attempts of the Umayyid and Abbasid caliphs to extinguish the light of Allah once again met with failure. Indeed the birth is the most awe-inspiring and amazing event of history.
The despotic caliph of Bani Abbas had received intelligence reports that a saviour in the form of the Twelfth Imam (a.t.f.s.) will rise and fill the earth with justice and equity. Thus the apprehension of the emergence of such a reformer obsessed the minds and hearts of tyrant rulers. They contrived all sorts of devious plots to snuff out this light of Allah before its birth. In order to realize their plans they searched and explored every corner of the earth. They perpetrated unspeakable atrocities upon innocent Shias, spilled their blood, sawed their flesh and killed them ruthlessly.1 Often the victims of such cruelties were the descendants of Holy Imams (a.s.). For the sake of keeping Imam Ali Al-Naqi (a.s.) under strict surveillance, Mutawakkil al-Abbasi issued a directive in the year 235 A.H. that Imam (a.s.) along with his family should come and stay in Samarrah (the then Capital city) instead of Madina.2 From then on a very close vigil was kept on Imam Ali Al-Naqi (a.s.) and his family members.
Mutamid al-Abbasi, who was successor of Mutawakkil, was as apprehensive of the birth of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), as Firaun was scared of the birth of Musa (a.s.). This wretched caliph went a step further than his predecessors and employed some mid wives to visit the house of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) and other descendants of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) to detect the birth of newborns. He was anxiously waiting the news of a newborn in their family so that he could instantly kill the infant.3
These efforts became more vigorous and intense the demise of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.). At this juncture, their task became more complex since they understood that the inevitable Promise of Allah had already materialized. The reins of Mastership came in the hands of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Thus the whole universe became subservient to him.
Shaikh Saduq (r.a), the famous Shia scholar writes in his book ‘Kamaluddin’:
“When people departed after burying Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.), the Caliph and his aides started searching for the son of Imam (a.s.) more frantically and numerous houses were raided in this regard.”4
Another great Shia scholar, Shaikh Mufid (r.a) writes in his book ‘Al Irshad’ in the chapter of demise of Abu Muhammad Al Hasan ibn Ali (a.s.) thus:
“When Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) expired, then the caliph started searching for the son of Imam more intensely. He left no stone unturned in this regard because the belief of the Shias concerning the advent of Hazrat Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) had gained prominence.”5
Mutazid was another despotic tyrant from the caliphs of Bani Abbas. His reign of terror lasted for a decade, from 279 A.H. to 289 A.H. When he learnt that a period of twenty years had passed since the birth of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and despite the incessant attempts of the previous caliph to trace him, he (a.s.) was still alive; he resolved to slay the whole clan of Imam Al-Askari (a.s.). One of the caliph’s cronies narrated thus:
“Mutazid gave two men under my charge and instructed us to take an extra horse with us. We were told to go directly to Samarrah and ride continuously without halting anywhere, not even for Namaz. After reaching Samarrah we were ordered to invade the house of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) and were told that “whosoever you find there bring him to me”.6
Mutazid had forgotten that the power that protected Hazrat Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) during the reigns of the previous caliphs can safeguard him now too, because the will of Allah cannot be thwarted by any despotic oppressor. Is it possible that the Promise of Allah may remain unfulfilled?
It is important to note that whenever Allah, the Almighty, has chosen someone, wished to confer dignity upon him and destroy falsehood through his hands, then certainly He enforced His decisions and no man or power can ever refute His decree. The story of Hazrat Musa (a.s.) lends weight to this assertion. The circumstances of his birth and his growing up in the palace of Firaun are a lesson in itself. Similarly the birth and other events of the life of Hazrat Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) too substantiate this reality. Hence in spite of the desperate efforts of the enemies, the Omnipotent Allah protected His Vicegerent and rendered useless the plans of His enemies.
Nevertheless, as it was mentioned earlier, at the dawn of 15th Shaban, 255 A.H., Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) saw the luminous and radiant face of his son (a.t.f.s.), who was destined to lead a very long life and fulfill the promises and glad tidings of Allah.
On the third day of his birth, Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) addressed his companions in these words:
وُلِدَ لِاَبِیْ مُحَمَّدِ الْحَسَنِ مَوْلُوْدٌ فَسَمَّاہُ مُحَمَّدًا فَعَرَضَہُ عَلٰی اَصْحَابِہِ یَوْمَ الثَّالِثِ وَقَالَ ’’ھٰذَا اِمَامُکُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِیْ وَخَلِیْفَتِیْ عَلَیْکُمْ وَھُوَ الْقَائِمُ الَّذِیْ تَمْتَدُّ اِلَیْہِ الْعْنَاقُ بِالْاِنْتِظَارِ فَاِذَا امْتَلَاتِ الْارْضُ جَوْرًا وَظُلْمًا خَرَجَ فَیَمْلَاُھَا قِسْطًا وَّعَدْلًا.‘‘
“After me he is the Master of your affairs, he is my successor, he is the same ‘Qa’im (a.t.f.s.) who is awaited by all. When the earth will be fraught with injustice and oppression then he will reappear and fill the earth with justice and righteousness.”7
On the same occasion he addressed another group of companions as:
زَعَمَتِ الظَّلَمَۃُ اَنَّھُمْ یَقْتُلُوْنَنِیْ لِیَقْطَعُوا ھٰذا النَّسْلَ کَیْفَ رَاَوْاقُدْرَۃَ الْقَادِرِ.
The oppressors were contemplating to kill me and sever my offspring, so that my son should not come to the existence. But they saw the infinite power of Omnipotent Allah.8
On the auspicious occasion of the birth of his son, Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) ordered to distribute 10,000 Ratal of bread and meat 9 among the Bani Hashim. Uthman bin Saeed who was assigned this task of distribution, performed it meticulously.10
Since the initial days of birth, Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) kept his son hidden from the people. Regarding this aspect, Shaikh Mufid (r.a) writes in his book “Al-lrshad”, in the chapter of demise of Abu Muhammad Al- Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) that:
“Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) declared his son as his successor, but kept him hidden because of the unfavourable circumstances of that time. The caliph was pursuing his son because the belief in Al-Mahdi had become very common and it was well-known that he is awaited by the people. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) never brought his son in public and consequently the enemies could not recognise Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
Although, the birth and existence of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) remained concealed from the enemies and antagonists but the sincere and trusted Shias became aware of his existence. The source of their knowledge was Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.). He himself introduced his angelic son to his followers whom he deemed fit. Some of them were informed through ‘letters’; one of them was Ahmed bin Ishaq, an ardent partisan of Imam (a.s.). He received a letter, personally written by Imam Al-Askari (a.s.). He (a.s.) wrote:
“I have been blessed with a son, this news should not be disclosed to the people. I will personally inform this matter only to our selected friends and relatives.”11
Some of the Shias were fortunate to see him (a.s.) when they went to meet Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.). As Abu Amr Ahwazi relates:
اَرَانِیْہِ اَبُوْ مُحَمَّدٍ وَقَالَ ھٰذَا صَاحِبُکُمْ
“He (Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)) was shown to me and I was told ‘He is your Master’.”12
At some other times when a group of Shias went to meet Imam Al-Askari (a.s.) and if they were of true faith and people of forbearance, then Imam Al-Askari (a.s.) used to present his son to them. Like Muawiyah bin Hakim, Muhammad bin Ayyub and Muhammad bin Uthman Amri relates thus:
“We were a group of forty men gathered in the house of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) brought his son in front of us and said: “He is your Imam and my Successor. After me obey him and do not dispute lest you all perish.”13
Anyhow, the Shias come to know about the birth of the twelfth radiant star on the horizon of Imamate and expressed their heartfelt joy and elation over it. Hasan bin Husain Alavi says that:
“I visited Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) and offered my congratulations to him, on the occasion of the birth of his son.“14
Similarly Abdullah bin Abbas Alavi narrates as:
“In Samarrah, I met Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) and congratulated him for the birth of his son.”15
Thus in such adverse circumstances Hazrat Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) led his life away from the eyes of the enemies. Only a few very devoted and genuine Shias had access to him. On 260 A.H. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) departed from this transient world and accordingly Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) ascended to the sublime office of Imamate or Leadership
After the demise of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.), the sublime status of Imamate was entrusted to the last successor of Prophet Muhammad (S) i.e. Hazrat Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Although, he would not appear among the people, yet some genuine and trustworthy Shias were having access to him. He (a.s.) would solve the problems and predicaments of Shias through these privileged ones.
These privileged Shias were men of distinction. They excelled in all the facets of life viz. faith, piety, honesty etc. They were the link between Imam (a.t.f.s.) and the masses. As the deputy of Imam (a.t.f.s.) they would convey his messages to them and in turn would exhort the people to execute their responsibilities towards him.
A probe into the lives and times of these pious personalities increases our understanding of their position and also enhances our cognizance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) because their words and traits reflect the signs of Imam (a.t.f.s.). Among these deputies, four of them were very famous and renowned.16 They were popularly known as ‘Nawwaabe-Arbaa’ (Four Special Deputies). We present a brief account of their lives, in order to acquire a better understanding of their position.
He was also the deputy and trustee of Imam Ali Al-Naqi (a.s.) and Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.). In that capacity, he handled an enormous amount of responsibilities pertaining to the affairs of Shias. Imam Ali Al-Naqi (a.s.) enumerated his virtues, in front of his followers as:
ھٰذَا اَبُوْ عَمْرِوالثِّقَۃُ الْاَمِیْنُ، مَاقَالَہُ لَکُمْ فَعَنِّیْ یَقُوْلُہُ وَمَا اَدَّاہُ اِلَیْکُمْ فَعَنِّیْ یُوَدِّیْہِ.
“This Abu Amr (Uthman bin Saeed) is my trusted one. Whatever he tells you, it is on my behalf and whatever he conveys to you, it is on my behest”.17
Until the demise of Imam Ali Al-Naqi (a.s.), i.e. upto the year 254 A.H., he served Imam (a.s.) as his confidant. Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) further adorned his position by saying:
ھٰذَا اَبُوْ عَمْرو الثِّقَۃُ الْاَمِیْنُ مِنْ ثِقَۃِ الْمَاضِیْ وَثِقَتِیْ فِیْ الْمَحْیَا وَالمَمَاتِ فَمَا قَالَہٗ لَکُمْ فَعَنِّیْ یَقُوْلُہٗ وَمَا اَدّٰی اِلَیْکُمْ فَعَنِّیْ یُوَدِّیْہِ.
“This Abu Amr is my confidant, as he was the confidant of my predecessor (i.e. Imam Ali Al-Naqi (a.s.)). I trust him in the affairs of my life and death. Hence his pronouncements are by my order and his verdicts are my verdicts.”18
Due to his devotion and dedication Uthman bin Saeed was retained as a deputy by Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) after the death of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.). His exalted position becomes more evident by perusing the following heart-felt condolence offered by Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.), on the death of Uthman bin Saeed to his son Muhammad bin Uthman. He (a.s.) said:
اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَاِنَّا اِلَیْہِ رَاجِعُوْنَ، تَسْلِیْمًا لِاَمْرِہِ وَرِضَاءً بِقَضَائِہِ عَاشَ اَبُوْکَ سَعِیْدًا وَّمَاتَ حَمِیْدًا فَرَحِمَہُ اللّٰہُ وَاَلْحَقَہُ بِاَوْلِیَائِہِ وَمَوَالِیْہِ عَلَیْھِمُ السَّلَامُ فَلَمْ یَزَلْ مُجْتَھِدًا فِیْ اَمْرِھِمْ سَاعِیًا فِیْمَا یُقَرَّبَہُ اِلَی اللّٰہِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَاِلَیْھِمْ نَضَّرَ اللّٰہُ وَجْھَہُ وَ اَقَالَ عَثْرَتَہُ.
“We belong to Allah and to Him shall we return. We resign ourselves to the Will of Allah and submit ourselves to His destiny. Your father led a fruitful life and met a noble death. May Allah have mercy upon him and gather him amongst His chosen friends (Peace be upon all of them). He was most persevering in his desire to gain proximity to Allah and His vicegerents. May Allah illuminate his visage.”19
He was also one of the deputies of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) in his tenure of Imamate and later Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) appointed him as his deputy. It has been said about him:
“He was so much revered and respected among the Shias that his name needs no introduction.”20
Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) eulogized him and his father Uthman bin Saeed, while in conversation with one of his companion in this way:
اَلْعَمْرِویْ وَاِبْنُہُ ثِقَتَانِ فَمَا اَدَّیَا اِلَیْکَ فَعَنِّی یُوَدَّیَانِ وَمَا قَالَا لَکَ فَعَنِّیْ یَقُوْلَانِ فَاسْمَعْ لَھُمَا وَاَطِعْھُمَا فَاِنَّھُمَا الثِّقَتَانِ الْمَامُوْنَانِ.
“Amri and his son both are my trusted ones. Their utterances are on my behest and their conveying is per my instructions. Thus listen to them attentively and obey them. They both are reliable and trustworthy near me.”21
Imam al-Zaman (a.s.) extolled his merits thus:
“I repose confidence in him and his letters are same as my letters and instructions.”22
Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Uthman, the second deputy of Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) introduced him thus:
“This, Husain bin Ruh bin Abu Hajr Nawbakhti is my successor. He is a mediator between you and Imam (a.t.f.s.) and is trusted by Imam (a.t.f.s.). You all must refer to him in your affairs and rely upon him in your tasks. It was my responsibility which I have fulfilled.”23
Shaikh Tusi (r.a) opined about him:
“Husain bin Ruh Nawbakhti was the most learned personality amongst friends and foes alike.”24
Even his staunchest opponents confessed to his unmatched greatness. Shalmaghani is enumerated among those, who were a false claimant of Imam’s (a.s.) deputyship. Husain bin Ruh exposed his lie and deceit on the orders of Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). Consequently Shalmaghani was forced to confess that:
“It does not behove me, while in front of Allah, to speak anything about Husain bin Ruh except the whole truth although, he has perpetrated a grave crime against me. But still, this man is appointed by Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) for his works and Shias are not supposed to desert him.”25
This highly venerated personality was the last special deputy of Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.). Husain bin Ruh introduced him as his successor and deputy of Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.).
The last Epistle (Tauqee) of Imam al-Zaman (a.s.) was received through him, since he was the last special deputy. In this Epistle, Imam (a.t.f.s.) had appraised Ali bin Muhammad of his death and announced the termination of the series of special deputyship:
بِسْمَ اللّٰہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمَ۔ یَا عَلِیُّ بْنُ مُحَّمَدٍۣ السَّیْمُرِیْ اَعْظَمَ اللّٰہُ اَجْرَ اِخْوَانِکَ فِیْکَ فَاِنَّکَ مَیِّتٌ مَّا بَیْنَکَ وَبَیْنَ سِتَّۃِ اَیَّامٍ فَاجْمَعْ اَمْرَکَ وَلَا تُوْصِ اِلَی اَحَدٍ فَیَقُوْمُ مَقَامَکَ بَعْدَ وَفَاتِکَ فَقَدْ وَقَعَتِ الْغَیْبَۃُ التَّامَّۃُ فَلَا ظُھُوْرَ اِلَّا بَعْدَ اِذْنِ اللّٰہِ. تَعَالٰی ذِکْرُہُ وَذَالِکَ بَعْدَ طُوْلِ الْاَمَدِ وَقَسْوَۃِ الْقُلُوْبِ وَامْتِلّآءِ الْاَرْضِ جَوْرًا وَّسَیَاتِیْ لِشِیْعَتِیْ مَنْ یَّدَّعِیْ الْمُشَاھِدَۃَ اَلَا فَمَنِ ادَّعَی الْمُشَاھِدَۃَ قَبْلَ خُرُوْجِ السُّفْیَانِیْ وَالصَّیْحَۃِ فَھُوَ کَذَّابٌ مُّفْتِرٌ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّۃَ اِلَّا بِاللّٰہِ الْعَلِیِّ الْعَظِیْمِ.
“In the name of Allah, the Compassionate the Merciful. O Ali bin Muhammad Seymuri! You will die in six days. May Allah give great rewards to your brothers. Hence collect your affairs and do not appoint anyone as your successor since now the Major Occultation is about to commence. My reappearance will be by the permission of Allah (s.w.t.). A very long period will pass. Hearts will harden and the earth will be filled with tyranny and oppression. Soon some from my Shias will make a claim of meeting me. Whosoever will claim of having a voluntary approach to me, prior to the rebellion of Sufyani and the celestial voice, then he is a blatant liar and has casted an aspersion (upon me). And there is no power and might except that of Allah, the Exalted, the High.”26
As the Epistle clearly depicts, the office of special deputyship was terminated and Ali bin Muhammad Seymuri was the last deputy. Also whoever claims to be a special deputy and having voluntary approach to the presence Imam (a.t.f.s.) is a vehement liar. Although in ‘Ghaibat al-Kubra’, some fortunate people have met Imam (a.t.f.s.) yet none of them made such a claim.
These four deputies of Imam (a.t.f.s.) were of such a high caliber that everyone trusted them wholeheartedly. But their mere claims were not accepted unless they displayed miracles in support of their claims.27 These deputies would present the problems and difficulties of the people, questions and queries of scholars before Imam (a.t.f.s.) and Imam (a.t.f.s.) would convey the replies to them through these deputies in his Epistles.
Through these Epistles, we have answers to some of the very complex problems pertaining to beliefs and deeds. One of the issues was the responsibilities of Shias when faced with new and intricate problems in ‘Ghaibat al-Kubra.’
In one of the Epistles addressed to Ishaq bin Yaqub, a prominent Shia, Imam (a.t.f.s.) had explained the duties of Shias in the major occultation. Since the past 12 centuries the Shias are following this code of administration as promulgated by Imam (a.t.f.s.) which has become the secret of eternity of Islam. Allah willing, we shall discuss this topic under the title “Guidance during Occultation.”
Nevertheless, these deputies acted as intermediaries between Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) and his followers. Ultimately, on 15th Shaban, 329 A.H. the minor occultation ended with the conclusion of the fourth deputyship. As destined by Allah the period of major occultation commenced. It was the same dark and gloomy era that was predicted by the Holy Prophet (S) and Imams (a.s.) years before. This era of major occultation is of severe trials and tribulations, which will end by the reappearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). He will reappear – with Allah’s permission - and implement the Divine Promises.
The major occultation commenced in the year 329 A.H. In Ghaibat al-Kubra, if anyone claims to be the special deputy or intermediary of Imam (a.t.f.s.) then - as per the verdict of Imam (a.t.f.s.) - he is a blatant liar and has cast aspersions on Imam (a.t.f.s.).
Many traditions from Imams (a.s.) have compared the occultation of Imam al-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) with the sun while it is concealed behind the clouds. As the sun, though concealed behind the cloud is still an eternal source of life, so is Imam (a.t.f.s.) even while being in occultation, is the cause of existence of the whole universe.
Although many individuals have been blessed with meeting Imam (a.t.f.s.) in Ghaibat al-Kubra, yet none of them claimed to have done this voluntarily. Many books have recorded the incidents of those persons, who have met Imam (a.t.f.s.) in Ghaibat al-Kubra. One of those books is ‘Najmus Saaqib’ written by Mirza Husain Noori (r.a). This book lists some of the eminent celebrities of Islam viz. Allamah Hilli (r.a), a scholar and rationalist (Mutakallim), Muqaddas al-Ardbeli (r.a), a noted scholar, Syed ibn Ta’oos (r.a), a famous traditionalist, & Syed Bahrul Uloom (r.a), a great thinker and scholar. Many more names can be added to the list.
Each one of them has seen their beloved Imam (a.t.f.s.) with their own eyes, because their hearts were overflowing with the cognizance (maarefat) and love of Imam (a.t.f.s.). These great men strived and left no stone unturned in their quest to instill the cognizance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the hearts of his (a.s.) followers. The advice of Syed Ibn Ta’oos (r.a) to his son can be cited as an example. This counsel was written by him in the year 650 A.H. In this inscription, Ibn Ta’oos has hinted at many important things without the claim of meeting Imam (a.t.f.s.).
O my beloved son, if mysteries are unraveled for you, I will teach you so many things about Hazrat Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), that doubts will vanish from your heart. Keep away rational proofs and evidences for surely, Imam (a.t.f.s.) is alive and is awaiting to reappear by the permission of Allah. He was not an exception (concerning occultation) but this trait was also found in many bygone Prophets (a.s.). Be sure and believe that the cognizance of your father about Imam (a.t.f.s.) is more explicit than that of the sun.”28
Apart from Shia scholars, even some laymen were blessed with the meeting of Imam (a.t.f.s.). Some of them were those who led a way-ward life but repented later and developed affection for Imam (a.t.f.s.) in their hearts. Allah with His infinite Grace blessed them by meeting Imam (a.t.f.s.). Even some Sunnis have received this privilege. One of them was Shaikh Hasan Iraqi, a Sunni by faith. He led a very reckless and wanton life in his youth and committed all sorts of sins. Suddenly one day he decided to turn into a new leaf. He left that sinful place and went to a mosque. The mosque was full of believers and a speaker was casually speaking about Hazrat Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Hasan Iraqi after hearing the speech was fascinated with Imam Al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). The fervour of his (a.s.) love encompassed the heart of Shaikh Hasan. He at once repented and expressed regret for his past misdeeds. From that very day, after every namaz, he started imploring Allah for a meeting with Imam (a.t.f.s.). Finally, his invocations were answered and he got the blessed opportunity of staying with Imam (a.t.f.s.) for seven days.
Later this very man become a renowned personality of his time. Many great scholars held him in esteem. Abdul Wahab Sharani, the famous Sunni scholar and the one who documented this incident used to remember him as “my master and my revered Hasan Iraqi.”
In ‘Ghaibat al-Kubra’ many great scholars have received Epistles from Imam (a.t.f.s.). One of them was Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Noman popularly known as Shaikh Mufid. Shaikh Mufid (r.a) held a lofty status in knowledge and piety. This Epistle (Tauqee) came to him as a reward for his incessant endeavours. A part of that Epistle is reproduced below, which was received in 410 A.H. A keen perusal of this Epistle depicts that the knowledge of Imam (a.t.f.s.) encompasses our daily lives and occurences, which gives rise to great expectations:
فَاِنَّا یُحِیْطُ عِلْمُنَا بِاَنْبَٔائِکُمْ وَلَا یَفُوْتُ عَنَّا شَئْیٌ مِّنْ اَخْبَارِکُمْ وَمَعْرِفَتُنَا بِالذَّلَلِ الَّذِیْ اَصْبَابُکُمْ، مُذْجَنَحَ کَثِیْرٌ مِّنْکُمْ اِلٰی مَا کَانَ السَّلَفُ الصَّالِحُ عَنْہُ شَاسِعًا وَنَبَذُوْالْعَھْدَ الْمَاخُوْذَ مِنْھُمْ وَرَٔاءَ ظُھُوْرِھِمْ کَاَنَّھُمْ لَا یَعْلَمُوْنَ. اِنَّا غَیْرَ مُھْمِلِیْنَ لمُرَاعَاتِکُمْ وَلَا نَاسِیْنَ لِذِکْرِکُمْ۔ وَلَوْ لَا ذٰلِکَ لَنَزَلَ بِکُمُ اللَّاوَا، وَاصْطَلَمَتْکُمُ الْاَعْدَأءُ فَاتَّقُوْا للّٰہَ جَلَّ جَلَالُہٗ.
“We are conscious of your affairs and none amongst you is hidden from us. We are also aware of your shortcomings. Most of you have committed such vices, which were shunned by your pious ancestors. These people have flouted the covenant, as if they do not have knowledge of it. Surely we are not negligent of your affairs and we are not forgetful of your remembrances. Had it been so, calamities would have descended upon you. And your enemies would have prevailed upon you, Hence remember Allah the Almighty and fear Him alone.”29
As it was mentioned earlier, these invaluable pieces of writings from Imam (a.t.f.s.) in ‘Ghaibat al-Kubra’ have served like a code of administration for his sincere and genuine followers. These epistles are documented in various authentic books.30
However, in this period of Major occultation, Shias are passing through the most critical and toughest phase of their history.
- 1. Maqatilut-Talebeen by Abul Faraj Isfahani. In this book the author has recorded the events upto 313 A.H. and has given an account of only those martyrs who were from the progeny of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).
- 2. Isbatul Wasiyah compiled by Abul Hasan Ali Masudi, p. 435.
- 3. Usul-e-Kafi, Kitabul Hujjah (The chapter of New born of Abu Muhammad Al Hasan bin Ali (a.s.)).
- 4. Kamaluddin, vol. 1, p. 101.
- 5. Kitabul Irshad.
- 6. ‘Ghaibat’ pg 160 by Shaikh Tusi and ‘Shawahedun-Nabuyyah’by Abdur Rahman Jami Hanafi.
- 7. ‘Yanabiul-Mawaddah’ by Khwaja Kallan Sulaiman Qundoozi Hanafi, p. 260.
- 8. Narrated by Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a.s.) on the authority of Sayed ibn Ta’oos.
- 9. Ratal is measuring unit and it is equal to 750 grams.
- 10. ‘Kamaluddin’ by Shaikh Saduq, vol. 2, p. 104.
- 11. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 108.
- 12. ‘Al-Irshad’ by Shaikh Mufid, the chapter of those who visited 12th Imam.
- 13. ‘Kamaluddin’, vol. 2, p. 109.
- 14. Isbatul Huda by Shaikh Hurr Al-Ameli, vol. 2, p. 433.
- 15. Ibid.
- 16. For detailed account of Imam’s deputies, the books of Narrators can be referred. Also vide Tanqihul-Maqar by Shaikh Mamaqani, vol. l, p. 200.
- 17. A1 Ghaibah’ by Shaikh Taifah Abi Jaafar Muhammad bin Al-Hasan Tusi, p. 215.
- 18. Ibid.
- 19. Tankihul-Maqal by Mamaqani, vol. 3, p. 149.
- 20. Ibid.
- 21. A1-Ghaibat’ by Shaikh Tusi, p. 219.
- 22. Ibid.
- 23. Tarikh al-Ghaibat al-Sughra’ by Muhammad Sadr, p. 407.
- 24. ‘Tarikh-e-Ghaibat’ by Shaikh Tusi, p. 236.
- 25. Vide 4 Bihar Al-Anwar’ by Allamah Majlisi, Chapter of occultation, section 21, quoted from ‘Ghaibat’ of Shalmaghani.
- 26. Ghaibat-e-Shaikh Tusi, pp. 242-243.
- 27. ‘Al-Kharaej-wal-Jaraeh’ by Qutubuddin Rawandi quoted from Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 13, Chapter 21.
- 28. ‘Kashful-Mohajjah’ or ‘Barnama-e-Sa’adat’ by Syed ibn Tawoos, Section 75, p. 74.
- 29. Refer to ‘Bihar Al-Anwar’ by Allamah Majlisi, vol. 52, p. 175.
- 30. ‘Kamaluddin’ by Shaikh Saduq, Chapter 49, Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 13, Chapter 36; 4 Al-Ethejaaj’ by Shaikh Tabarsi, vol. 2.